Patience Ogunbase

A Little Bit of HOPE launched its second Capstone Program for the Langston University Computer Science department this spring to provide students with experience working on real-world technology solutions under the guidance of industry practitioners to bolster workforce readiness. Last month in lieu of Women’s History Month, we gathered for coffee chats with the dynamic women of the cohort to discuss their path to Computer Science and the active contributions they are making to help shape the field to be a more equitable place for all. Today we are in the lab learning from Patience Ogunbase, a member of the Spring ’22 ALBH Capstone Cohort

About Patience: Patience Ogunbase is a graduating senior studying Computer Science at Langston University. She currently serves as Computer Science Club president and completed a Cybersecurity Engineering internship with Walmart Global Tech last year.

Q: How did you get started in Computer Science and what drew you to the field?

Computers have always been in close proximity to me. Growing up, I was fortunate to have a close mentor that worked in Information Technology (IT). He would often bring work home and invite me to build computers alongside him. Technology was then introduced to me more formally in high school when a friend and I swapped classes to fulfill graduation requisites and ended up joining a Computer Science class by happenstance. Learning about computers came easily to me, and it felt like I was getting graded to put crossword puzzles together. At this point in time, I didn’t consider the subject as a full-time career option and began my collegiate studies in Biology upon graduation. Nevertheless, I came into contact with the Computer Science department at Langston University and was drawn in. The subject intrigued me because it allowed me to be a doer and active participant, rather than solely memorizing lecture content. I was also a fan of the field’s endless opportunities – whether you are looking to work at a large company, start up, or anything in between there is something for you.

 Q: What do you enjoy most about being a Computer Science student?

 The close-knit community. You’re all struggling in the same math classes and tackling homework together. Not only does the community bring encouragement, but you come up together. I have seen this with Computer Science more than most other majors.

Q: How do you invest in yourself to become a better technologist?

I am constantly on the lookout for new technology, applications, and materials. My passion for technology keeps me on the leading edge, always eager to explore how things are made. To enjoy something, I have to understand it. For example, I am currently a big fan of the app Notion. So, I think – “How would I build an app like this? How might I deploy this?” I really enjoy digging into the foundation of things.

Q: How are you spreading a little bit of hope and being the change that you want to see?

By serving as Computer Science president at Langston, I have a unique opportunity to be a leader in a field I love. This is a high profile position with great responsibility, and I take pride in that. I think humility has its place, but in the workforce there is a lot of competition. To stand out it’s essential to recognize your value and not downplay yourself. I realize that I wouldn’t tell my cousins, sisters, etc. to sell themselves short and try to follow suit in my own life.

Another memorable moment for me being a change agent has been working in the writing center, helping people to refine their skills. I am always encouraging, pushing others, and helping them brush up for interviews and other opportunities. In these positions I get to grow, and also embolden women outside of the “boy’s club” that Computer Science can often be – this is important to me.

Q: How can we create communities that are safe havens for people new to technology?

 My high school Computer Science teacher was a great role model for this. Prior to joining his class, I had never coded before. When he introduced new topics, he prompted me to provide input so that my voice was heard. Whenever there was a subject that I did not understand he would pair me with someone who did. He also made a habit of routinely congratulating me on my wins. Every achievement was valued – from my first “Hello World” to the more complex projects I took on. I believe that acknowledging people is important. Whenever I question whether I am cut out for this field, I remember his teachings. The only way to survive is to have the courage to channel your drive and keep pushing.

Rapid Fire Question Segment

Q: Name a role model in technology or business for you.

Uncle Chris – my mentor. He encouraged me to build computers and introduced me to the field by inviting me to learn by doing. I will always remember his willingness to share knowledge. My degree is really a dedication to him.

 Q: Favorite technology product?

Visual Studio Code because of the nice environment. My runner up is Notion.  

 Q: What’s one thing that excites you about the future?

In the Computer Science field, it is understood that what you are learning today likely will not be pertinent in the next 5-10 years because technology is rapidly changing. I love learning, experimenting, and creating – which are all essential to thriving in this environment. This is both my attitude and approach to the future.  

 Q: Favorite class?

Calculus – I love logic.

 Q: Morning person or night owl?

Night owl.

Q: Where do you get inspiration from?

I source my inspiration from the people around me – fellow students, my mother, Mr. Grayson (Computer Science Chair). Whenever I feel insecure or incapable I am reminded of the accomplishments of those around me, which reinforces that I, too, am capable.

Author: Amanda White, Director of Marketing & Communications, ALBH

Contact: [email protected]

About The Series: Phenomenal scientists, technologists, engineers, artists, and mathematicians aren’t created by chance. Their brilliance is the product of the exposure, experimentation, and perseverance required to realize their dreams and potential. Our series “In The Lab” provides a glimpse behind the scenes of the work that everyday STEAM trailblazers are doing to make a meaningful difference in their spheres of influence. Get inspired and encouraged by what is possible in STEAM by diving into real stories that shed transparency on the journey, events, and people that helped build their careers.