Building Better Bots
Adebola Akinola-Aguda left her family in Lagos, Nigeria, to attend Georgia State when she was just 16 years old. She earned a scholarship that cut her tuition in half and stayed busy. She served on the board of the Student Alumni Association, helped teach economics classes as a supplemental instructor and worked as a campus program manager for Women in Technology (WIT), an association charged with increasing the number of women in Georgia who work in fields related to science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).
She graduated with her degree in computer science at 21 and now works at Ernst & Young in Atlanta as a robotics and process automation consultant. She’s also a member of Georgia State’s inaugural 40 Under 40 class, which honors the most influential and innovative graduates under 40 years of age.
“When people hear the word ‘robotics,’ they often think physical robots,” she said. “But we create the software bots that, for example, respond to you on a website’s help chat.”
One of Akinola-Aguda recent projects involved automating a prominent bank’s mortgage review process. Before, employees had to sift through data from dozens of sources and software platforms to make a decision on just one loan. And thousands of mortgages were coming in each day.
Her team wrote a program that can extract all the data, verify information and check for accuracy, and allow employees to access details quickly and make decisions on each mortgage — about 80 percent of the work, according to her estimates.
She seamlessly balances her professional career with volunteering and believes that one helps promote the other. She’s also on the Alumni Association’s Young Alumni Council where she helps build connections among recent graduates and Georgia State.
Akinola-Aguda remains active with WIT and is developing a blog titled “Career Girl Essentials.” She wants to help students plan for life after graduation and give them tips on financial stability, time management and the importance of managing expectations and embracing opportunities — even if your first job isn’t your dream job.
“I love solving other people’s problems,” she says. “It stimulates me. If I can’t figure it out, I’ll find someone who can.”
Photo by Meg Buscema