Seven UA Little Rock Students Selected for Acxiom Diversity Scholarship Program

John Mensah and Sodiq Oyedotun are 2 of 7 UA Little Rock students who recieved the Acxiom Diversity Scholarship

Seven students from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock have been selected for this year’s Acxiom Diversity Scholarship program.

Acxiom, the customer intelligence company whose data-driven solutions create business growth by enabling better customer experiences, annually selects 10 college students for the program. The initiative offers $5,000 scholarships to full-time students from diverse backgrounds majoring in computer science, computer information systems, management information systems, information quality, information systems, engineering, mathematics, and statistics or related areas of study.

“Acxiom is committed to providing an avenue for students from all backgrounds to pursue their dreams through computer science and information technology careers,” said Mary Ward, chief people officer at Acxiom. “In our increasingly global economy, building a diverse workforce leads to better innovation, culture, and outcomes for everyone.”

This year’s Acxiom Diversity Scholarship recipients from UA Little Rock and their majors include Oluwaseyi Adeliyi, information science; Abiola Sylvester Akinnubi, information science; Dayo Banjo, computer science; Mayor Gurung, information science; John Intifunie Nsaman, business information systems and analytics; Sodiq Oyedotun, business information systems and analytics; and Connice Trimmingham, computer science.

“We are very thankful to the opportunities provided to our students by the Acxiom Diversity Scholarship,” said Dr. Elizabeth Pierce, chair of the Department of Information Science at UA Little Rock. “This program not only helps to increase the diversity in the IT profession, it also helps to recruit and retain the next generation of talented, hard-working individuals who we’ll be counting on to solve critical data challenges.”

Mayor Gurung, a graduate student from Kathmandu, Nepal, said she felt honored to be a recipient of the 2022 Acxiom Diversity Scholarship.

“It’s an encouragement to do even better as it will finance my educational needs and fund my future research project,” Gurung said. “More importantly, it will push me as well as women in my community to dream big, we just have to take the initiative. I want to thank Acxiom for promoting diversity and making a difference.”

Through this scholarship, Acxiom aims to create a more inclusive pipeline of future technology talent and help close the equity gap by providing access to education for individuals underrepresented in the field.

Abiola Sylvester Akinnubi, who is pursuing a Ph.D. in computer and information science, said this experience will help him with his plans to mentor and help underprivileged and underrepresented students after he graduates.

“I also believe this will motivate me to provide a leadership voice to people and help others continuously,” Akinnubi said. “As I return to the industry, I will be able to contribute using the knowledge and experience from my Ph.D. program in contributing to various technology roles that I find myself in the future. I am sure Acxiom will find me a worthy ambassador now and in the end.”

With five of the Acxiom Diversity Scholarship recipients being members of UA Little Rock’s Collaboratorium for Social Media and Online Behavioral Studies (COSMOS) Research Center, Dr. Nitin Agarwal, Maulden-Entergy chair and distinguished professor of information science and the founding director of COSMOS, expressed pride for his students’ accomplishments.

“I am extremely proud of our students for receiving this honor!,” Agarwal said. “The Acxiom Diversity Scholarship program provides unique opportunities for our students to become next-generation leaders in developing data-driven solutions to challenging technical and societal issues.”

The Acxiom Diversity Scholarship Program, now in its 10th year, also offers summer internships to willing recipients. Scholarship winners are selected based on their ability to demonstrate academic achievement, field of study, and professional interest related to Acxiom’s business needs.

“Supporting the education of the next leaders in our industry is the most direct way we can effect change and encourage diversity within the computer science and information technology fields,” said Chad Engelgau, CEO of Acxiom. “We congratulate this year’s group of exceptional scholarship recipients and look forward to their educational achievements and career contributions in the years ahead.”

Sodiq Oyedotun, a native of the Kwara state in Nigeria, said news of the program couldn’t have come at a better time.

“It will help me pay my tuition, buy books, and certainly, I get to intern with Acxiom and have the opportunity to hone my skills,” Oyedotun said. “This will go a long way to shape my future career.”

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