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Student Profile: Adedamilola Olateru-Olagbegi

By: Alexandra Hulett

Photo Credit: Adedamilola Olateru-Olagbegi

What year are you in at UMBC?

This is my last year as a college student. I will graduate next year, so I'm a senior now.

Have you spent all four years at UMBC or did you transfer here?

I was a transfer student, but my community college messed up my college credit, so I spent four years here. I had to retake a few classes, and then I changed my major.

Which was your first major?

Surprisingly, I started out as a Chemistry major.

Can you tell me what appealed to you about MCS? Why did you decide to make the switch?

I am already passionate about editing and photography. I thought, "Well, that's a medium." I'm interested in the social discussion we constantly have on social media. We've continuously created platforms for people to express their opinions. So, it seemed like a natural fit. Now that I'm a media major. I am aware of things we've learned in class, like parasocial relationships.

Looking back, I was heavily into K-pop as a kid. It wasn't until later that I realized I was creating a parasocial relationship with the groups I liked. It's interesting for me to learn about parasocial relationships now that I'm a media major. Seeing people do what I once did and still do is fascinating. That's one of the perks, I guess. Overall, I like how MCS classes tend to have open discussions because it's a media class, so you can talk about current events. Also, I love hearing my classmates' differing opinions.

What classes are you taking this semester?

This semester, I am taking two MCS courses: the senior capstone MCS 499, and the Making Visual Culture MCS 377. I'm also taking three more courses, West African history, American History Music, and Social Entrepreneurship. And then I'm also taking MCS 404, Internship.

What's your favorite class this semester?

My favorite class is MCS 499, the senior capstone course. It's a lot of work prepping and writing our final research papers, but I love the open-minded atmosphere and the discussions we’ve had in class. I love the way Professor Lovigilo carries it. He doesn't try to shut your opinions down. He's very supportive overall as a professor.

Yeah. I sense that Professor Loviglio values our opinions even if he doesn't necessarily agree with them.

Exactly. He just tries to understand where you are coming from with your opinions. 

Who inspires and motivates you most when you think of your educational pursuits?

It's my mother. Honestly, I don't think I would have lasted this long in college without her. Several times I wanted to drop out, but I was just like, "You know what? No, she's worked too hard for me. I got to push forward with this." I'm not only doing this for me. I'm doing this for my mom.

Are you first-gen?


Same. I definitely know the deal.

My mom's an African mother, so she's always told me, "I need you to be in something involving science, medicine, something that's going to make you a lot of money." And I'm like, "I don't have the brains for that, sweetie. I'm sorry." Thankfully, she understood and supported me wanting to change my major. 

But it's scary. We try to make it work, and when I considered switching my major from Information Systems, I was freaking out. I called my mom, and told her, "I don't know if I will be able to do this." She said, "Alex, just do whatever makes you happy." I was like, "Oh, okay." I felt like I needed permission to pursue what I really wanted in that moment.

My mom said the same thing. And it's very contradicting to what she's spent my entire life telling me that I had to do. I was completely thrown off to say the least.

What are your plans after graduation?

I would like to get my master's degree, but I’m still deciding on that.

What career goals have you set for yourself?

I plan to explore my options. I’m more focusing on gaining more experience right now.

Well, speaking of your experience, you said that you're in an internship now.

Currently, I'm the Social Media Manager for UMBC Center for Art, Design, and Visual Culture in the Fine Arts building.

Is there anything you have learned from this internship?

The best lesson I've learned is from one of the gallery artists, Alita Devan. While putting up her exhibition, I had the opportunity to work with her. One of the things I learned from her was her art process. In the past year, I've had trouble getting motivated to create art. I learned that she sketches all the time, takes little ideas, any concept that she has, puts it down, and builds on it as time goes on. The best way to approach the project is in pieces rather than one big project.

What has been the highlight of your time at UMBC?

The highlight so far was last semester with my old roommate. She's such a sweet person. She likes to plan little parties and stuff like that. So, we had a Black girl cottage core-themed picnic. I met a whole bunch of Black girls, and we were talking about our Blackness, what it means to us, and how we, as Black women, are navigating the world. I really enjoyed that day.

Last question: what advice would you give someone choosing to pursue MCS as a major?

First, I would say be prepared to write a lot of papers. The second is to keep your mind open when it comes to many things and pay attention to things happening worldwide. What are the issues happening around the world? Having a healthy amount of curiosity would help you a lot. It gives you room to understand things that might be talked about in class. You can't be stuck in one way of thinking. Being in this major requires you to be open-minded and open to differing opinions and discussions.

Posted: November 22, 2022, 3:07 PM