MIT senior Adedolapo “Dolapo” Adedokun has been named one of 12 winners of the George J. Mitchell Scholarship’s Class of 2023. After completing his degree in electrical engineering and computer science next spring, he will travel to Ireland to undertake a MSc in intelligent systems at Trinity College Dublin as MIT’s fourth student to receive this award.
Mitchell Scholars are selected on the basis of academic achievement, leadership, and dedication to public service. The scholarship is named in honor of U.S. Senator Mitchell’s contributions to the Northern Ireland peace process. This year, over 450 American students applied for the prestigious fellowship, which is sponsored by the U.S.-Ireland Alliance and funds a year of graduate studies in Ireland.
Adedokun was raised in East Brunswick, New Jersey, and is the son of Nigerian immigrants. His goal is to become a technologist who builds platforms for artistic expression that can be used to democratize musical education.
Adedokun was supported in the application process by MIT’s Distinguished Fellowships team in Career Advising and Professional Development, and the Presidential Committee on Distinguished Fellowships. Mark Brennan PhD ’20, a member of the Presidential Committee for Distinguished Fellowships, says, “Dolapo is at the frontier of ensuring equitable access to arts education, one of the most important yet unevenly available aspects of the American school system. With a passion for jazz and extensive commercial technology development experience, he has all the pieces in place to spur technology-supported arts education in American schools.”
As a computer scientist and jazz instrumentalist, Adedokun wants to use the power of technology and music to foster connections between people, enabling all communities to have a voice in expressing themselves artistically. He is also motivated by his observations of the inequities of broadband access, particularly for communities of color, and wishes to contribute to innovations in this arena to ensure that all students, regardless of their backgrounds or circumstances, have access to internet infrastructure to achieve educationally.
It was after taking both 6.033 (Computer System Engineering) and 21M.080 (Music Technology) that Adedokun was inspired to invent a smart-home system that allowed users to anonymously layer different melodies as they entered and left a building, which created a unique and rich soundtrack for each day. Adedokun wants to develop in tandem his talents in music and computer science, perhaps by using the field of network latency to allow musical collaboration that defies the limitations of geographic boundaries.
Adedokun has brought his passion for leadership to many MIT organizations. In his sophomore year, Adedokun was elected president of the MIT Chapter of the National Society of Black Engineers, spearheading an initiative to create 10 new corporate relationships to increase minority participation in STEM fields and the technology industry. Within his computer science department, he was one of 10 students selected for the Undergraduate Student Advisory Group in EECS (USAGE). Subjects that Adedokun has tackled include advising on the structure of introductory courses, promoting new AI curricula and pre-orientation program for incoming first-year students, and improving teaching assistant training. Adedokun serves on the board of directors for the Harvard/MIT Cooperative Society, America’s oldest college cooperative. Adedokun credits his membership in Chocolate City, an MIT living group, as a force to ground him and provide him the pivotal support he needed at MIT.