Music has always been a core component of alumnus Gerald Guilbeaux’s life.
The University of Louisiana at Lafayette has a diverse student population with over 500 plus international students enrolled from over 80 foreign countries. Kemi Ajala was one of those international students and is now a proud Ragin’ Cajun alumna. Ajala ’16 ’19 currently resides in Oregon and works as a process engineer at Intel Corporation. Originally from Nigeria, Ajala received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in chemical engineering from UL Lafayette.
Initially, Ajala wasn’t sure where she wanted to attend college. “I remember looking at a book that listed the best colleges in the United States,” Ajala said. She discovered the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and reached out to the University for more information about applying. She got a welcoming response from a representative in the Office of International Affairs. The staff was so helpful that Ajala decided to make Lafayette her new home. “I felt more welcome at UL Lafayette than any other university,” Ajala said.
As a student, Ajala was heavily involved with her studies and campus organizations. She was a member of the International Student Council, the National Society of Black Engineers, and the African Student Association, to name a few. She met tons of friends, had outstanding professors, and got to experience an authentic Louisiana crawfish boil for the first time. One of her favorite undergraduate memories was representing the University as a member of the 2016 Homecoming Court. “It was a once in a lifetime experience,” Ajala said.
After finishing her undergraduate degree, Ajala wasn’t exactly sure what steps to take next. She decided to continue her education and get her master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University. Throughout her master’s program, she focused on biomedical engineering. She was even able to attend national conferences where she presented her research. At one of these conferences, Ajala met someone from Intel Corporation that eventually led to her landing the job that she has today.
As a process engineer, Ajala works with a manufacturing facility that produces chips used in a wide range of technology. Her work is very fast-paced, but she’s been able to use the knowledge that she gained at UL Lafayette to thrive in this new role. With her sights set on the future, Ajala is focused on leaving a lasting impact on everything she does. “Whatever it is you do, it’s important you’re making a difference,” Ajala said. When she looks back on her journey from an international student to today, Ajala is hugely grateful for all of her experiences as a Ragin’ Cajun.
Photo Caption: Kemi Ajala graduates from UL Lafayette for the second time, earning her master's degree in chemical engineering.