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Adura Lasode: From Nigeria to Minnesota engineer

Every year more than 1,000 students graduate from the University of Minnesota's College of Science and Engineering and embark on the next step in their journey. This spring, the CSE Class of 2016 begins to make its mark.

CSE alumni include founders of Fortune 500 companies, astronauts, award-winning researchers, and thousands more working to make a difference every day.

Who will the Class of 2016 become?

Adura Lasode

Mechanical Engineering

College of Science and Engineering

Growing up in Nigeria, Adura Lasode’s resources and means to attain her dream of being an engineer were limited. “In addition to social class, my gender, in relation to my career of interest, was a challenge.” But from that, she says, sprung her determination. When Lasode first came to the U of M, she was too shy to make eye contact with her professors.

On May 13, 2016, she’ll address about 1,000 graduates plus and additional 5,000 friends and family members as this year’s College of Science and Engineering commencement speaker. In the audience, will be her parents and high school principal who are traveling from Nigeria.

Along the way to graduation, she’s served as a role model—mentoring middle, high school, and college students in STEM fields.

Why did you decide to study mechanical engineering?

I saw mechanical engineering as a means to being part of a world of solutions—especially energy solutions. I was fascinated by how many small components were pieced together to make one functional piece that shaped society.

What is the biggest challenge you’d like to address?

Knowledge is power. … My dedication to the academic success of [underserved] populations gives me hope that others will successfully rise in their power to positively impact their communities.

How do you see yourself having an impact on the world?

My long-term goal is to establish an organization that focuses on guiding and supporting students, with similar backgrounds to mine, in their preparation for college—starting from my home country in Africa.

Any advice for future students?

In the quest of adapting to a new environment, being open-minded and ready to try new things is important. A word of caution—remember one’s core values and identity.


Adura Lasode is the recipient of the following scholarships:

Robin and Barbara Schaller Scholarship

Walter and Margaret Pierce Scholarship

Alfred F. Johnson Scholarship