It's time to leave her home away from home

Ayomide Olagoke-Bello is a December 2020 graduate of George Mason University
Ayomide Olagoke-Bello, graduating with bachelor's degrees in accounting and information systems and operations management, said she feels as if she had a family at Mason. Photo by Naomi Fort.

When Ayomide Olagoke-Bello was deciding where to attend college, she reduced her choices to the University of Maryland and George Mason University.

Her visit to Maryland was okay, she said. But her visit to Mason, and especially the School of Business, was “a game changer.”

“I fell in love with the school,” said Olagoke-Bello, who lives in Bowie, Maryland, and is a member of Mason’s Honors College. “People there were just super-nice. It felt like a home away from home. People say that all the time, but I truly felt that way.”

As Olagoke-Bello readies for graduation in December, with bachelor’s degrees in accounting and information systems and operations management, her perspective has not changed.

“It was exactly as I expected,” she said of her time as a Patriot. “I always felt like I had a family at Mason, and I really appreciate the opportunities it gave me.”

That includes the internship she had last summer with Mason’s Campus Food and Beverage Network, and the one she will have in the summer of 2021 with a local business that will focus on auditing and taxes, perfect for an accounting major.

Olagoke-Bello also ran track for Mason, competing in the 200- and 400-meter sprints and as a shot putter, until a knee injury ended her participation after the 2019 indoor season.

That was one of the reasons Olagoke-Bello decided to graduate in December rather than in the spring. The other was COVID-19, and how it altered not only campus life for her, but her perspective.

“COVID actually pushed me to be more ready to graduate,” she said. “When I was on campus, I was stuck in the whole getting to practice on time and all these things. When COVID hit, it made me realize how fast graduation was approaching and life is unpredictable, so I had to be on my ‘A’ game and prepare for the future as best as I could.”

“She’s a very persistent and hard-working student,” said Martha Martin, an academic advisor in the School of Business. “She is always inquiring and taking advantage of the resources at Mason to make sure she was on track. Whenever she has questions, she double-checks to make sure she has the answers. These are all characteristics that will help her succeed after graduation.”

Olagoke-Bello said her next step is to get her CPA. She is also looking forward to the day she can again visit Ilesa, the city in the Osun region of Nigeria, where her parents lived before moving to the United States 25 years ago.

In the language of that region, Olagoke-Bello’s first name, Ayomide (Ai-oh-mee-day) means “my joy has come”—joy she brought to Mason.