Brianna Olalekan is taking advantage of her time at UL Lafayette to pursue her interests in physics and computer science.
Brianna came to UL Lafayette to major in physics after discovering her love for the subject in high school. As a self-described “overthinker,” physics has given her a way to see order in the chaos.
“I wonder a lot and I need to know why something is the way it is,” she said.
Being a student in the Department of Physics at UL Lafayette has given Brianna access to research, classes, and mentors that she never expected.
“Without coming here, I wouldn’t know the things I can do with my major or can do with my knowledge,” she said. “Now, I see you can work for the government, work in brain surgery, work in engineering – everything comes together. You see where physics fits everywhere.”
“Even with me being indecisive, physics is so broad," she added. "And everyone wants to work with a physics major.”
Opportunities for Physics Majors
Brianna began to appreciate the connection between physics and computer science in her classes at UL Lafayette.
“I started to understand the engineering of it, when you’re trying to get the computer to do something,” she said. “I never thought I could do that, so learning how the circuits connect, I felt like I was actually able to do something groundbreaking.”
“I’m happy to see everything I’m learning coming together.”
Outside of class, she joined the Cajun Advanced Picosatellite Experiment, or CAPE, to get more experience. It’s a student organization that builds and launches small satellites in partnership with NASA.
“I like the technology that we’re moving toward, with everything being more electronic and robotic,” she said. “Why not at least know where the future is heading?”
Finding a Community on Campus
Moving to Lafayette has been a refreshing change of pace for Brianna after growing up in Baton Rouge.
“I love the atmosphere here,” she said. “It’s peaceful. I just really like Lafayette and how nice people are.”
Though she’s away from her family, she found close friends in student organizations like the African Students Association.
“It’s helped me get more connected with my culture,” she said. “Having my family is one thing, but I didn’t get to have many African friends to experience stuff with. So I’ve been meeting different people on campus who come here from across the world.”
That welcoming vibe is also strong in the Department of Physics, which has made Brianna’s experience at UL Lafayette even better.
“When you tell someone you’re a physics major, they’re scared and think you’re crazy and don’t really know why you’d want to do that to yourself,” she said. “But a lot of the people and the professors are nice, they don’t mind helping, and they’re always friendly.
“We’re all nerds, but we’re nice nerds,” she said. “And when you’re nice and inviting, it helps other people come in and learn more, too.”