Name: Lola Ojabowale
Alma Mater: Dartmouth College
STEM Career Path: Tech Entrepreneur
Alright, we want to know who is Lola, and how you became interested in exploring a technology career?
LO: I’ve always loved STEM; math has been my favorite subject for as long as I can remember. I graduated with a math degree with modifications in economics and engineering sciences. The classes I adored were in the engineering school specifically around building products and using design thinking to solve problems. My all-time favorite class was one of my engineering lab classes on product design. In the course, we had three projects to build three products. For our final project, we could create whatever we chose. I ended up creating a special electric comb that didn't hurt and would work well for kinky hair. I loved the whole process.
Following college, I went to work for a logistics company where I got to use a lot of data but didn't do so much with product development. A few years into that, I received an opportunity at that company to work with a team that was building this company-wide eLearning software. That experience reinvigorated my interests in software and making products. I started going to tons of hackathons and immersing myself in the entrepreneur and tech ecosystems in Atlanta. I also took a UX Design Class, spent several months volunteering with an accelerator and starting growing my coding skill.
Tell us more about your plant-based meal planning idea and how it will make a positive impact on your community.
LO: When my dad was diagnosed with cancer, he drastically modified his diet because he developed several food insensitivities. Suddenly cooking and finding what to eat for dinner which used to be something he enjoyed became really difficult. While he could research tons of recipes he could try they were often not the kinds of food that interested him. He also has several foods he's sensitive too, so most kits or recipes don't work for him without some modification. I started exploring a solution to this problem for my final project for a UX design class I took after college. After talking to other people who had similar difficulties, I decided to continue with the project.
What I'm building is Refolo, a software tool that empowers people to eat more plant-based foods in ways that are authentic to their ways of eating. Check it out at www.eatrefolo.com.
What measures can we take as a community to inspire more women/girls to pursue STEM?
LO: Support programs that are exposing young people to STEM. In Atlanta, I’ve been impressed by Black Girls Code, the Maker Faire, STEAM truck and Goodie Nation’s k-12 programming.
You seem to wear many hats, where do you find inspiration to keep going?
LO: I'm lucky to work on problems that I'm passionate about, which helps!
I’m also realistic about rest and when I need to take a break. I think there's a lot of glorification of hustle culture and toiling at work especially among millennial and entrepreneur groups. However, I’ve been inspired by a lot of the tactics in Tim Ferris’s The 4-hour work week, and Jason Fried's It Doesn’t Have to be Crazy at Work. I try to be selective on what I spend my energy on in addition to committing to a few activities that I complete every day.
Favorite tech hack at the moment?
LO: I currently love the day one app (http://dayoneapp.com/). I use it for everything: writing down ideas, reflecting on the week, as my gratitude journal, and notes for work. It’s helpful because you can combine text notes, to do lists, pictures, and audio in one post and organize them with tags.
What has been the best Advice You Have Ever Received?
LO: I’ve received tons of great advice but some timeless advice that I follow comes from Isaac Newton’s first law of motion which is that objects in motion tend to stay in motion. I apply this law to a lot of things whether it be Refolo or my general productivity. It’s a good reminder to get started and keep pushing.