International graduate student builds data analytic skills and community at ECU

Graduate student Aadam Bodunrin has experienced the challenge of adjusting to life far from home, adapting to a new culture and navigating an unfamiliar academic system. It’s a big reason why he has volunteered to help new international students settle in at East Carolina University.

“It’s a way of ‘paying it forward.’ When I first arrived at ECU, I was fortunate to receive invaluable support from fellow international students who helped me navigate my new environment,” Bodunrin said. “Now being able to assist others in a similar manner is not only gratifying but also essential in fostering a sense of community. It’s about reciprocating the kindness and support I received and ensuring that new arrivals feel welcomed and empowered to thrive in their academic and personal endeavors at ECU.”

Since coming to ECU, Bodunrin has built relationships with classmates, professors and other international students as a graduate student in data science in the Department of Computer Science in the College of Engineering and Technology.

“I have seized opportunities to participate in extracurricular activities, volunteer work and internships, enhancing my skills and expanding my network,” he said.

Bodunrin was looking at applying to schools in the United States after graduating in 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in agricultural economics from the University of Ibadan in Nigeria. His mentor recommended ECU.

“I chose to attend ECU for several reasons. Firstly, ECU offered a diverse and welcoming community, which I felt would provide a supportive environment for my studies and personal growth,” he said. “Additionally, ECU’s strong academic programs, particularly in my field of interest, appealed to me, promising a high-quality education and valuable opportunities for career development.”

Data science graduate student Aadam Bodunrin sits in front of the Science and Technology Building. (Photos by Steven Mantilla)

Bodunrin has used the knowledge and experience gained from his ECU courses to get a job as a business

performance analyst with Ancestry, a technology company and global market leader in genealogy.

At Ancestry, Bodunrin is responsible for conducting data analysis to uncover trends and patterns within large datasets, generating insights to inform strategic decision-making and collaborating on data-driven solutions. He said his most impactful project so far has been using IBM Cognos Analytics to track top business metrics for the company’s senior leadership team.

Bodunrin has been fascinated with data for as long as he can remember, drawn to the intricacies of information and the power it has to inform decisions and drive innovation, he said.

“This interest only deepened during my undergraduate studies, where I had the opportunity to conduct both qualitative and quantitative analyses for my dissertation. Delving into data analysis methodologies and witnessing firsthand the insights that could be gleaned from raw information solidified my passion for data science,” he said.

Along with a love for data, studying in the U.S. has allowed Bodunrin to immerse himself in diverse cultures and perspectives personally and professionally.

“Overall, it was a combination of my inherent interest in data, coupled with the desire for an international educational experience, that led me to pursue a career in data science,” he said. “I’m excited to continue exploring the vast potential of data-driven insights and contributing to meaningful advancements in the field.”

Bodunrin said ECU has prepared him for his future career through rigorous coursework, hands-on projects and mentorship from faculty members. “I’ve gained valuable knowledge and skills that are directly applicable to my field,” he said. “Additionally, ECU’s emphasis on experiential learning has provided me with opportunities to engage in internships and practical experiences, further enhancing my readiness for the workforce.”

Outside of class Bodunrin enjoys spending time outdoors and hiking. While in the States, he has traveled out west to Zion and Grand Canyon national parks in Utah and Arizona. He looks forward to upcoming trips to see Yellowstone National Park and Antelope Canyon in Navajo Nation Parks.

This Pirate is helping build community through data science.



Name: Aadam Bodunrin

College:College of Engineering and Technology

Major: Data science

Age: 29

Classification/Year:Graduate student

Hometown: Itanpapa, Ogun State, Nigeria

Hobbies/interests: Hiking, traveling, meditation

Clubs and Organizations: International Students Association, Omicron Delta Kappa



Favorite hangout: Eakin Student Recreation Center

Favorite place on campus: Main Campus Student Center

Favorite place to eat: Chick-fil-A

Favorite class: DASC 6010 – Big Data Analytics and Management

Professor who influenced you the most: Dr. Nic Herndon

Favorite TV show: “Game of Thrones”

Favorite band/musician: Eminem

Favorite movie: “300”

Favorite app: Duolingo



Dream job: Data science and machine learning for Apple’s health and fitness division

Role model: Parent

Your words to live by: An elvish word actually — Namárië, which means go toward goodness.

What advice do you have for other students? Be authentic! Stay true to yourself, follow your passions and cultivate genuine connections. Take charge of your path, glean lessons from challenges and engage in self-reflection to foster personal development.

What is something cool about ECU that you wish you knew during your first year? One cool aspect about ECU that I wish I knew during my first year is the strong emphasis on community engagement and the numerous opportunities for involvement beyond academics.