Heritage Adeagbo was 16 when he left his family in Ibadan, Nigeria, to move to the United States and pursue the American Dream, beginning with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering at The University of Toledo.
And when Adeagbo crosses the stage on Dec. 18 to receive his diploma, the now 21-year-old has many to thank for this milestone moment, including those campus groups that provided him opportunities to serve the Toledo community while developing his leadership skills.
“My early semesters with Engineers Without Borders gave me the opportunity to participate in Clean Your Streams, which is an event to pick up litter and trash on stream banks in Lucas County. And my later semesters with the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) gave me the opportunity to volunteer with Cherry Street Mission and Toledo Food Bank,” Adeagbo said. “These organizations supported my growth at The University of Toledo.”
Hanan Ali, a fellow student, also had a sizable impact on Adeagbo. The two served on NSBE executive board at the same time: Adeagbo was treasurer and Ali was president.
“She led NSBE during an unprecedented time,” he said. “We had no experience on how to run a chapter virtually and were nervous about how things would go in the academic year. I observed her courageously lead by example and drive the team towards fulfilling NSBE’s mission to ‘increase the number of culturally responsible black engineers who excel academically, succeed professionally and positively impact the community.’
“She motivated me to develop in my role as treasurer, and her leadership gave me and the other executive board members the opportunity to contribute to important multicultural initiative meetings involving Dr. Lesley Berhan (NSBE Faculty Advisor), Dean T. Michael Toole and other engineering faculty.”
Ali is also quick to praise Adeagbo.
“Heritage showed great initiative in championing innovative ideas that pushed our NSBE chapter forward,” she said. “He always put in 110% into making sure meetings and events ran smoothly, as well as being forthcoming with feedback and challenging me as a leader for the good of the chapter.”
As his time at UToledo draws to a close, Adeagbo is said he is also appreciative of the engineering co-op program, which encourages and supports engineering students to obtain real-world experience.
Adeagbo completed three co-op rotations with Tenneco Powertrain in the sealing and gaskets group as a product engineer, who was responsible for designing, testing, analyzing and researching engine sealing and gasket components; and completed his fourth co-op with ArcelorMittal as a process engineer, where he was responsible for improving the processes used to manufacture steel tubular products.
Last summer, he participated in his most important co-op: a program manager intern at Amazon in Seattle.
“My project involved cross-collaborating to lead the roll-out of new pack automation technology across 130-plus fulfillment centers in North America,” Adeagbo said, “and I was part of Amazon’s largest global intern class yet.”
And now he has a job lined up as program manager at Amazon RME — Reliability and Maintenance Engineering Organization — optimizing and maintaining technologies responsible for automatically forming and sealing goods ordered from Amazon.com.
“We work with all fulfillment centers in North America,” he said. “As a program manager, I will be responsible for coordinating and leading Pack Automation technology projects across fulfillment centers in North America.”