A Commonality in Human Experience

"NYUAD has really broadened my horizons."

Jesutofunmi Kupoluyi, NYU Abu Dhabi Class of 2021.

Jesutofunmi Kupoluyi taught himself Java, a computer programming language, when it was not available in his high school. Through YouTube, online resources, and sheer force of will, Kupoluyi spent countless hours learning the coding language while finishing high school. Looking back, it’s a decision that he is glad that he made. “I realized that if I hadn’t self learned it, I would not have been able to keep up pace with the classes here,” Kupoluyi said. 

Hoping to simplify the process for future high school students that may be in a similar position in the future, Kupoluyi came to NYU Abu Dhabi wanting to create an extracurricular club. “I wanted to help students get the advantage they need to be able to go into computer science and STEM fields more easily,” Kupoluyi said. 

Through the StartAD Research Commercialization Summer Incubator program, Chameleon, a digital learning platform, was born. Chameleon is targeted at high school students in sub-Saharan Africa who lack the access to learn modern coding languages that would help them to compete in future studies. Once beta-testing is over, Chameleon will be introduced directly in schools as an extracurricular club to provide students with accessible, high-quality technology education.

Expanding Horizons 

When Kupoluyi was a first year student at NYUAD, he had his mind set on either taking computer engineering or computer science as a major. When he took two mathematics courses during his first year, something changed. “I just fell in love with the way Maths was taught,” Kupoluyi said. It propelled him to slightly adjust the direction of his academic career and take a double major in computer science and mathematics. 

The Benefits of the Global Network 

Studying remotely during his senior year was an adjustment for Kupoluyi. Without the need to step out of his room to head to lectures and classes, Kupoluyi had to create the classroom environment independently and learn better time management. But the physical limitations did come with certain virtual freedoms and opportunities that would otherwise not have been possible: Kupoluyi was able to take classes from the New York campus despite not studying there this semester. “The way that NYUAD leverages the global network to make this remote learning experience in some way even more flexible than the normal set-up is quite amazing,” he added. Kupoluyi was particularly excited to take two mathematics electives not offered in Abu Dhabi.

Down Memory Lane

There were plenty of fond memories for Kupoluyi as he recalled the last few years, especially during his first year in the University’s Interclassico football competition where underclassmen competed against the then graduating seniors. Students gathered together and cheered for their respective class, serving up friendly banter as the match progressed, and by the time the game ended, sealing their camaraderie. 
“There’s always a commonality in human experience,” Kupoluyi said. 
An interclassico football match at NYU Abu Dhabi. Photo is taken pre COVID-19.

Regardless of where his classmates are from and how different their upbringing or native language could be, there’s always something that brings people together, Kupoluyi said. It’s a life lesson every graduating senior can identify with and take with them no matter which corner of the world they find themselves in later in life.