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Studying Industrial and Systems Engineering at the USC Viterbi School of Engineering, I am passionate about understanding systems and optimizing them to increase efficiency. As a student at USC, I often fall into the trap of grade chasing and focusing on what internship I could be working on next. However, outside of the classroom and job chasing, I have a variety of interests that keep me busy and engaged with campus and the greater community around me.

One of my favorite pastimes (kind of weird I know), when meeting new people is to ask them to guess my major or field of study. The responses are always exciting and varied, ranging from communication in Annenberg to public policy in price. Some have attested this to my extracurricular involvements, network, appearance, or personality. USC offers numerous opportunities to get involved, and after one year, I have found my footing and developed a community on campus. When it comes to defining “community” at USC, students often look to their identity, whether it be race, religion, class, hobbies, or interests. I have personally found a sense of community in several clubs on campus, including the National Society of Black Engineers, Brothers Breaking Bread, Pan African Student Association, Nigerian Student Association, and Black Student Assembly.


While these clubs cater primarily to my cultural identity, they also offer support and connection in other aspects of my identity. For example, as a Black engineer, NSBE provides me with career exploration and development opportunities and connects me with other students studying engineering on campus who share similar experiences and aspirations. NSA, on the other hand, offers a taste of home through Nigerian foods and traditions that remind me of my family and life before college. BBB creates a safe space for Black men to discuss uncomfortable topics, practice emotional awareness, and gain global perspectives without fear of judgment.


Being involved in these clubs has not only given me a sense of belonging but also helped me develop leadership skills and make valuable connections with like-minded individuals. Through these organizations, I have had the opportunity to attend conferences, workshops, and networking events that have expanded my perspectives and contributed to my personal and professional growth. In addition to cultural and identity-based clubs, I have also taken on leadership positions in both the National Society of Black Engineers and the USC Black Student Assembly. These experiences have broadened my perspective and introduced me to students from diverse backgrounds who share similar career interests.


Overall, my involvement in these organizations has enriched my experience at USC and helped me feel like I am part of a larger community on campus. I encourage all students to explore the clubs and organizations that align with their interests and identities. Not only do these groups offer a sense of belonging, but they also provide opportunities for personal and professional growth that will serve you well in the future.

Ayomide Ajayi

MAJOR: Industrial and Systems Engineering YEAR: Class of 2026 HOMETOWN: Chicago, Illinois PRONOUNS: he/him/his INSTA: @aj.mide I am a food enthusiast who loves cooking and trying new foods. On campus I am involved in the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) and Black Student Assembly (BSA). I am most passionate about connecting with people, discussing aspirations and life-long goals.