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Black History Month: Working at the forefront of innovation with Statler College alum Gbolahan "Bugzy" Idowu

Bugzy Idowu

Statler College alum Gbolahan "Bugzy" Idowu (Submitted Photo)

In celebration of Black History Month, the Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources at West Virginia University is honoring students, alumni and faculty from diverse backgrounds to showcase their successes in engineering and beyond and share how they continue to make a difference in society.

Story by Adrianne Uphold, Graduate Assistant 


Gbolahan "Bugzy" Idowu

Statler College alum Gbolahan "Bugzy" Idowu graduated from WVU with a master’s degree in mechanical engineering and a bachelor’s degree in petroleum and natural gas engineering. Fast forward to 2022, Idowu is now working at Tesla in Reno, Nevada, as a manufacturing equipment engineer.

"I chose engineering because I have always wanted to be at the forefront of innovation and help bring practical solutions to people's everyday lives," Idowu said. "Engineering was very intriguing to me at a young age because I could see engineering in almost everything I touched or interacted with. I knew then that with engineering, I would be able to make the most impact and difference.”

Idowu was first inspired to choose engineering because of his late father, Adesina Idowu, an electrical engineer.

"I am forever grateful for his guidance and mentorship in helping me down this path as it was super helpful to look up to someone who had walked down the same path," Idowu said. "He continually encouraged me and was always quick to recite basic electrical theory concepts like Ohm’s law, just to remind me that, 'he still knew his stuff.'"

Every time Idowu sees people using products his company manufactures, he feels like he is making a difference to society through his career.

“From driving down the road and pulling up beside someone in their Tesla vehicle, to seeing the solar and battery storage deployment projects that have restored power to areas that have been devastated by natural disasters, I am reminded of the role I am playing in transiting the world to sustainable energy,” Idowu said.

When Idowu was a graduate student in the Statler College, he had a unique opportunity to serve as an academic instructor and adviser for first-year engineering students over two semesters. He tutored, mentored and helped guide more than 80 students throughout the beginning of their college careers.

"At first, I didn't realize how that was going to leave a lasting impression on my professional career," Idowu said. "Fast forward to about three years after I graduated, I was contacted by one of my students who reminded me that I had once helped her out with scheduling for classes and the advice I had provided throughout her freshman year helped encourage her to graduate successfully and land her dream engineering job!"

Over the years, Idowu has generously given his time to prospective students at Statler College. He has spoken to hundreds of students about his professional experience in classrooms and virtual sessions. He connected a student with a recruiter at Tesla to land a summer internship, which eventually led to a full-time offer.

“I consider it a unique privilege and honor to give back in this way, to the institution that helped shape me into the individual I am today,” Idowu said. “Diversity and representation are extremely important to me because the complexity of the problems that engineers solve require opinions and ideas from a diverse workforce. Sharing my experiences with prospective students helps offer a candid perspective on what the engineering journey looks like and a reminder to the students that they have what it takes to overcome any challenges they might be facing along the way.”

Idowu finds motivation from his role models like his father, Martin Luther King Jr., Aliko Dangote and Sarah Blakely, and from his influence on his colleagues and people he interacts with at work, from operators to other engineers, technicians and his managers.

"I always wear a smile on my face even during the most challenging days, and this is because I know I can brighten someone else's day by just having a jovial, playful and positive attitude," Idowu said. "I get joy from seeing people I collaborate with happy and successful, and that keeps me going."



Contact: Paige Nesbit
Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources
304.293.4135, Paige Nesbit

For more information on news and events in the West Virginia University Benjamin M. Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources, contact our Marketing and Communications office:

Phone: 304-293-4135