Bright Dikko is a sophomore at the University of Notre Dame studying Computer Science and Design (Dual Degree). He is from Lagos, Nigeria and participated in the CCI Internship Program during the summer of 2022.
How did this experience affect your view and attachment to the South Bend/ Elkhart region?
The Center for Civic Innovation Internship program definitely transformed the way I view the South Bend area and helped me form deep connections with the community. Before my summer at CCI, my involvement with the area was limited to the University of Notre Dame campus. During the internship program, I learned a lot about the South Bend region - from its history to current plans being designed for its future. I was also exposed to many different transformational projects happening in the area to help tackle existing social issues. Through work, I had the opportunity to connect with notable community leaders who continue to help drive positive changes in the region, and I also interacted with many South Bend residents. I particularly enjoyed talking to them about the reason(s) why they decided to move to the area, their favorite aspects of being South Bend community members, and what changes they hope to see soon. I was inspired by how proud they all were, to be able to call South Bend their home. This in turn made me even more grateful to be here, as a student in the area.
What was the most rewarding experience in the program?
Being able to create positive impacts on communities and transform the lives of individuals who are members of those communities, I believe, is the purpose of education. Therefore, for me, the most rewarding experience in the program was having the opportunity to work with similarly passionate change-makers from various backgrounds, to foster progress in tackling a crucial complex community challenge that exists in the South Bend region and beyond. In addition to helping me create an impact, the summer experience equipped me with invaluable skills and knowledge vital to achieving my academic and career goals. Knowing that each moment in the program was not only an opportunity to help bring an important solution to a critical problem to life, but also a window to self-improvement, was a very fulfilling experience - one that I am grateful for.
How did your experience in the program enhance your academic and professional goals?
The internship program provided me with a real-world experience at the intersection of my two majors – Computer Science and Design. I got to see how important it is to have skills that go beyond technical competence, in creating technological solutions. Through working with CCI, I got to see how skills like research, design thinking, rapid visualization/prototyping, feedback reception, and integration, all come together to play a vital role in strengthening solutions to identified problems. In addition, I had the opportunity to practice and develop my teamwork, collaboration, communication, and reflection skills daily, all of which are transferable and would be useful in my academic and professional endeavors.