to Serve Humanity
Olaoluwayimika Olugbenle ’25
My parents always inspired me to seize educational opportunities. They made sacrifices so my brothers and I could have the best education. With that, I attended one of the top secondary schools in Nigeria, where I was involved with the Conrad Challenge, an international, team-based competition for middle and high school students to innovate new products and services that address global issues.
I have a deep passion for my country and solving complex challenges that impact living standards. In my community, there is a lack of electricity. Because it’s not provided wide scale by the government across a grid network, many people resort to using portable generators. However, these generators are diesel- or petrol-powered and give off a lot of carbon monoxide and black smoke, polluting the air we breathe.
For the Conrad Challenge, my team developed a toxic converter, which filters these gas emissions and uses heat energy to generate electricity. This innovation landed us a second-place win and a scholarship to continue our studies at Clarkson — thanks to the University’s strategic partnership with the Conrad Foundation.
As an international student, it is difficult to pay tuition due to currency exchange rates. Scholarships allow me to attend Clarkson, gain further knowledge and hone skills, working toward my goal of creating solutions that benefit humanity.
Now that I’m here at Clarkson, I continue to work toward solving big problems through opportunities like the Ignite Presidential Fellowship Program and the President’s Challenge. The President’s Challenge allowed me to continue a two-pronged approach to solving two big problems: developing the next iteration of a toxic converter and creating an electricity generator. Not only have my experiences been a great way to continue my research and innovations, but it’s also opened up a world of possibilities. I can see a clear path designed for me.
I’m optimistic about the future. I look forward to using my knowledge, experience and unfeigned interest in electronics and programming to impact people’s lives through social innovation and entrepreneurship — and Clarkson is providing me with the opportunities to do so.
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Olaoluwayimika Olugbenle ’25
Hometown: Ilaro, Ogun State, Nigeria
Major: Computer Engineering, Honors Program
Clarkson Experience Highlights:
Participation in the President’s Challenge allowed me to further develop a toxic converter innovation to generate electricity and filter harmful gases. The end goal of this project is to create a sustainable cycle in which the electricity generated in the device powers the filter. My team is still testing the method, with Clarkson faculty and staff providing guidance.
I am doing research in the Astronautics and Robotics Laboratory (ASTRO Lab) under the guidance of Professor Michael Bazzocchi. My research focuses on creating an environmental monitoring and control system to determine the efficacy of plant growth in deep space conditions.
In the future, I aim to solve problems by starting an organization with the mission of using technology to improve the methods and standards of living for people across Africa. Improvements could range from developing an automated sprinkler system for farmers in southwestern Nigeria to creating augmented reality experiences to aid learning for students in Zambia.