By: Peer Career Coach Maira Zamir

Ola is from Lagos, Nigeria and is a recent graduate of Illinois Tech, Class of 2020 with a Bachelor in Architecture and a minor in Urban Studies. Ola is currently a NOMA research fellow for CallisonRTKL here in Chicago.

What is the greatest lesson you learned during your time as a student at IIT?

IIT has a diverse pool of students from different parts of the world and backgrounds. I loved getting to know people and also getting the chance to explore Chicago and network is such an underrated privilege.

Did you have an internship in your undergrad? If so, what advice do you have for people who will be interning or doing co-op in the future?

Yeah I had an internship in my 4th year for a firm in Chicago called NIA Architects. And It really was eye opening for me. I learned a lot about office culture and work I learned in the studio, translating that to actual projects. My advice for anyone interning is try to soak up as much knowledge as possible, don’t be afraid to ask questions and work the extra mile. It is always rewarding at the end. Also try to keep in touch with your co-workers and supervisors. They could be of valuable assistance to you in future. 

 What is one major thing you learned when you stepped into the professional world after graduating?

I just graduated two months ago so I’m still learning but one thing I have learned is so far is that as professionals you have to adapt to any situation you find yourself. 

 How did you land your first job?

I got the job I currently have through applying for a fellowship through an organization, National Organization of Minority Architects and they placed me with this firm CallisonRTKL where I am taking on a research project on various themes that are going on in the world that could be addressed through design. 

 What advice would you give to graduates of 2020?

Class of 2020, I know this is not how we saw our final days as college students ending and we are graduating into a tough economy. But I know we are resilient and we are able to adapt to whatever situation we find ourselves in. Make use of your networking skills and don’t be afraid to reach out to people you think that can help you.

Alumni Spotlight: Ola Odukoya