Some would say Pelumi Ajayi’s first dive into mechanical engineering was a light-bulb moment.

“I taught myself to fix flashlights and other electrical appliances that students made use of in my boarding school in Nigeria. From this experience, I developed an affinity for electrical and mechanical systems.”

Ajayi is originally from Ijede, Nigeria. He and his family moved to Chicago when he was 13. In the United States, he further explored his early passion for mechanical engineering by joining his high school’s FIRST Robotics competition team. This solidified his decision to major in mechanical engineering, but the next big decision was where to go.

“I heard about MSOE from an alumnus and how challenging the experience was. I wanted that challenge, so MSOE instantly became my number one choice. I thought there had to be something special about a school of engineers. After visiting the campus and experiencing the atmosphere at MSOE, it was only right that I got my B.S. in Mechanical Engineering here at MSOE.”

As an MSOE student, Ajayi enjoys applying concepts he learns in class to his everyday life to improve the lives of others. “It is very fascinating to know that I can dismantle or assemble systems (appliances) I use on a daily basis based on the fundamental concepts of the appliance. So, when I fix a broken space heater at home, for me it was a regular Saturday afternoon but for my family, it means a warm room and improved comfort for the night.”

He also enjoys making a positive impact through volunteering. He went on two trips with MSOE Global Brigades to Honduras and Ghana. Through Global Brigades, students go on a week-long service-learning trip to work with communities to become more sustainable on their own.

His latest venture is impacting the community as a CREATE Student Fellow. “I saw the impact CREATE Student Fellows were having on the MSOE community and Milwaukee community, and I wanted to be a part of that,” said Ajayi. “I have learned a lot about what it means to be a servant-leader. A leader that considers the opinion of others and values others as they are. I look forward to further learning how to apply this form of leadership to my daily interactions as well as in engineering teams that I am a part of or projects I may be leading.”

CREATE Student Fellows are spreading the MSOE Mindset across campus. One way Ajayi is helping is by serving as a Raider success ally through the Raider Center for Academic Success (RCAS). A Raider success ally is a current MSOE student who supports another MSOE student in achieving their stated goals in overcoming hurdles, obstacles and adversity.  

“Being a leader of character for me means giving back to the community that has shaped you. For me, this means being a part of the RCAS Raider success ally team that models what success at MSOE looks like. As a team, we mentor and equip students with the tools they need to obtain the success they desire at MSOE.”  

Ajayi also is involved with the Intervarsity group on campus. This is a Christian fellowship group that provides him with the opportunity to grow his faith with other students. In his free time, he enjoys cooking, strumming to a song on his guitar or checking out unique restaurants with friends. “These activities help me express my creativity in several ways and bond with people outside of my engineering field.”