Dr. Wakeel Idewu is a native of New Orleans and currently resides in Lexington, Virginia. He first began his collegiate career as a student athlete. In high school he was involved in many extracurricular activities such as: basketball, track, football, and honor societies. Dr. Idewu’s athletic talent earned him a football scholarship to attend Alabama State University, and after playing two years of football, he accepted an academic scholarship to attend the University of Louisiana at Lafayette (ULL). He struggled his first year assimilating himself to a new environment, but began to apply some fundamental lessons he learned as an aspiring artist and student athlete, which helped ease the transition.
Dr. Idewu eventually became very involved as an undergraduate student at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. He was elected by his engineering peers to represent them in the Student Government Association as an engineering senator. He also led one of the largest engineering organizations on campus as president of the ULL chapter of the Louisiana Engineering Society. This organization annually hosted the largest College of Engineering recruitment event and showcased each engineering department to high school students and engineering companies in the state of Louisiana. His commitment to the College of Engineering was recognized with several scholarships, awards, and a featured article in the university’s yearbook, L’ Acadien.
One of Dr. Idewu’s most memorable undergraduate experiences was when he participated in the Research Experience for Undergraduates Program at Louisiana Tech’s Institute for Micro-Manufacturing Lab. Although, at the time, chemistry was far from his interests, chemistry was the only area available for him to conduct research that summer. For his portion of the research project, he evaluated the activity of encapsulated enzymes LiP and MnP using layer by layer and sol-gel assembly, which was thought to increase the time an enzyme remains active in a polluted environment. He later received a 3rd place award for his research work at a LSAMP undergraduate conference. His experience with chemistry research was so surprisingly good that he figured research in civil engineering must be that much better. He went on to conduct research in the area of transportation materials and design as an undergraduate student. His initial assertion about civil engineering research was proven to be correct. However, he would also learn that it was the learning and teaching involved in research that he enjoyed the most.
After receiving his bachelors, he went on to work in the Planning and Development Department at the New Orleans International Airport before returning to school to pursue advanced degrees in his field. While working in the Planning and Development Department, Dr. Idewu served on various planning and maintenance projects, including the investigation of apron drainage problems affecting multiple aircraft carriers and the enhancement of the airport’s access road. He also reduced outsource expenses by preparing time-sensitive documentation required by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) for capital improvement construction projects. Dr. Idewu returned to school to obtain a Master of Science degree in Engineering Science and a Doctoral degree in Civil Engineering from Louisiana State University (LSU). His area of focus was in transportation engineering for both graduate degrees.
While pursuing his doctorate at Louisiana State University, Dr. Idewu helped develop and instruct an experimental communication-intensive engineering orientation course for LSU freshman. He also mentored student-athletes and tutored several engineering related subjects including: Traffic Engineering, Statics, Structure Analysis, Statistics, and Algebra. Of these, Statics continued to be the subject matter for which most students sought tutoring. To help combat the low first-time passing rate experienced in Statics, one of engineering’s primary gateway courses, he developed and taught a statics supplemental course available to all who desired to participate.
Dr. Idewu is currently an assistant professor at Virginia Military Institute where he instructs courses and laboratories in Materials for Construction and Civil Engineers, Traffic and Highway Engineering, and Transportation Planning and Evaluation. He was recently appointed to the Transportation Research Board’s Work Zone Traffic Control Committee and University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Engineering Advisory Committee.
Dr. Idewu’s research interests lie within the broad area of transportation engineering with specific interests in work zone traffic operations, travel behavior and pedestrian evacuation. The overall objective in most of his research projects is to explain the affects geometric design features and unexpected events have on traffic behavior and travel patterns. Dr. Idewu’s past research studies have been supported by several agencies, including the Summer Undergraduate Research Institute, Office of Naval Research and National Science Foundation. His most recent work was in the area of work zone traffic control; personality traits and its connection to departure choice; and pedestrian signals. With the help of some very devoted cadets, he continues to explore these topics in addition to pedestrian evacuation and arterial road conversions.
Dr. Wakeel Idewu is married to Roslyn Charles Idewu, his wife of five years, and is the father of a sometimes too energetic three year old son, Corban. He continues to mentor high school and undergraduate students, and currently serves as a committee member of the Veterans for Youth (VFY) organization. VFY is an organization built to impact the youth of today making them the adults of tomorrow through fitness, nutrition, life skills and mentorship training; empowering them to be more effective citizens of our future. Additionally, he serves, along side his wife, as the youth leader for Life Chapel church in Lexington, VA. Dr. Idewu is in continuous search of ways to follow a self-prescribed mission: Investing his gifts in people and creatively using opportunities to fuel potential in the next generation by revealing God’s power and promise in our lives.
In the past, Dr. Idewu has involved himself in additional activities supporting his research, school, and community. He has been invited to speak at various educationally focused venues including : Recruitment into Engineering of High Ability Minority Students (REHAMS) program, public school graduations, and the National Society of Black Engineers (NSBE) chapter meetings. He has also constructed and presented a money management seminar aiding individuals with investment and financial decision strategies. Dr. Idewu is a faithful proponent of a person being well learned in something. He is just as enthusiastic about graduate school and continuously aims to introduce and inform listeners of the opportunities that currently exist for prospective graduate students, all while shedding light on the struggles that are present when perusing an advanced degree.
When asked what really excites him, Idewu responds, “Creation; I love sharing ideas and creating things for others to enjoy. Being able to conceptually design something from scratch and later see it constructed is what initially interested me in civil engineering. I find I still do that at the collegiate level. Of course with research this is a never ending thing, but every once in a while I can see this happen in the classroom. I implant a concept, idea, or thought and let the student groom it into a developed piece of work or idea.”
Favorite TV Show: King of Queens; Fresh Prince; Eli Stone; Leverage
Hobbies: sports of all sorts; chess; music, picture, and video editing; technology; just plain creating
Favorite Quote: Success is not measured by what one has gained, but by what one has overcome.
Booker T. Washington
If you tolerate mistruths you end up defending a lie.
Famous For: Being very competitive, but not being affected by the outcome (win or lose); debating/questioning