A Part of the Family
Minors: Business and marketing
Advice: Get involved, and don't feel the need to dumb yourself down in class.
Growing up in Bloomington, Amala Afoaku always knew she wanted to go to Indiana University.
She could be close to her family, and that support has always been a comfort for her. When she was a teen, she was always into the latest smartphones and computers, but she wasn’t all that interested in the programming element of the machines. She was happy to use them, and she didn’t think much about how the devices worked.
When she enrolled at IU, Afoaku thought she wanted to go into business, but she wasn’t quite sure how she wanted to go about it. The Kelley School of Business was attractive, but a discussion with a family friend convinced her to take a look at the School of Informatics and Computing.
“I heard of it freshman year, and (my friend) recommended I look into it,” Afoaku says. “I took I101 (Introduction to Informatics) and really enjoyed it. I really love it so far.”
The senior Informatics major is still pursuing her business interest. She has a cognate in business and minors in business and marketing, but she also has found a love for design. Afoaku’s class on Human-Computer Interaction/design (I300: HCI/Interaction Design) has been her favorite, and her programming classes have provided an enjoyable challenge.
But it’s the pervasive sense of community that has made SoIC special.
“I feel like I know everybody here,” Afoaku says. “All the faces are familiar, the people know my name, and all the staff members are really supportive. It feels like a family.”
That sense of family has been a huge positive both in helping her work through some of her classes. Everyone at SoIC is willing to help one another.
“I never really was into programming growing up,” Afoaku says. “I didn’t do it until I got here, and the help of my classmates pulled me through those classes. Being able to collaborate with them was great. I’m more into design things or business things, and people know they can lean on me for that.”
Then again, the group work required from many classes also is preparing Afoaku for the future. It has forced her to move out of her comfort zone.
“Learning how to learn in groups was tough,” Afoaku says. “All of my core classes were really centered around group work, so you had to learn how to work in that kind of environment. Having to depend on other people while also holding yourself accountable for your work is important. You’re not on an island. In the real world, I feel like technology-related jobs are focused on working in some sort of team. It has prepared me for that.”
Afoaku, who also has worked for Career Services and Serve IT at SoIC, has taken advantage of some important opportunities in the past year. She traveled to Belize in May 2015 with the Alternative Break program where she learned how to adapt and connect with students who are from another culture and might not have a lot of experience with computers.
She also has connected with the network of women at SoIC and has been active in multiple organizations. Afoaku has worked with Women Empowering Success in Technology (WESiT), and she has spent the past year as president of the Informatics and Computing Consulting Association, an association focused on developing the skills needed to be a consultant.
“My involvement in ICCA was instrumental in finding my job, building leadership opportunities, and networking with consulting professionals,” Afoaku says.
Afoaku is set to graduate in May, and she recently accepted a position with Ernst & Young, a professional services firm, in their Technology Advisor Program. She plans to take the lessons learned at SoIC and build her own career path.
“I really love the school because I feel like every student is such an individual here,” Afoaku says. “Everyone has their own interests. This isn’t a school that pumps out a bunch of cookie-cutter students. People are taking their degrees and doing all types of different things. I hope to do just that.”