This ambitious student has shared her incredible journey to success at Liverpool Hope University.
Titilope Aderibigbe - ‘Titi’ to her friends - joined Hope in 2019 to study for a Masters in Advanced Computer Science.
And what Titi’s classmates might not realise is that the 30-year-old is also a gifted singer and songwriter with an enviable industry pedigree.
In her home nation Nigeria, Titi worked alongside Cobhams Asuquo, one of the country’s leading musicians, songwriters and music producers.
She even assisted this visually impaired powerhouse on ‘Project Fame West Africa’, reality TV show broadcast across the subcontinent.
But Titi - whose own songs mix Afrobeat with hip hop, soul and R&B - has shown her talents extend well beyond just music.
A gifted computer scientist who came to Liverpool on a scholarship, she excelled in the male-dominated arena of computer analytics and has even co-founded her own design company in Nigeria’s Oyo State.
Titi, originally from Idanre, Ondo State, says “I’d always sung and danced since I was 12, and Cobhams and I were connected through mutual friends.
“I was at the studio one day and they had a technical problem. “I was like, ‘This is no big deal’. I fixed the computer system and Cobhams was like, ‘Who’s that lady?’
“I agreed to join the Cobhams Asuquo Music Productions (C.A.M.P) company as operations manager. And I loved my time working with him, it was a great opportunity that I cherish to this day.”
Titi, married to entrepreneur Bolaji Aderibigbe, had an unconventional childhood that taught her how to be fiercely independent.
She was brought up by a hard working business owner and single mother, Olatoyosi, and was sister to two siblings, sister Tope Akinjo, 34, and brother Tunde Akinjo, 28.
But when nurse Toyosi moved to Virginia, America, when Titi was 14 - in order to further support her children - the three siblings lived alone.
Titi says: “My mother is my everything. She is my rock. Her decision to leave us and go to America was purely economic.
“She is so hard working. She wanted to pay for us to go to good universities. She was crying when she left us but we motivated her to go.
“She just wanted us to have the best. I was the tomboy, the trouble-maker. So I became the family protector, my siblings were too nice and I didn’t want them to be taken advantage of.”
Titi studied Computer Science and Information Technology as an undergraduate at Bowen University, located at Iwo in Osun State, graduating with first class honours.
And during the mandatory year she spent with Nigeria’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), a paramilitary outfit, she was placed in a school and taught maths and computer science, ‘working every day of the week’.
She soon found herself employed by insurance and pensions specialist Nigerian Life and Provident Company (NLPC) as a systems analyst.
She explains: “I was the only female in a male-centric environment. Some people mistakenly thought of me as nothing more than the errand girl.
“I succeeded in changing their way of thinking, even though the people who mattered most understood my value, and they were awesome.”
Titi performed backing vocals on 2014’s There’s a Fire single, by Nigerian artist Bez. She has also written several songs and is part of the famous Lwanga Choir.
She hopes to somehow marry her many talents and passions of music, computer science and psychology.
She reveals: “My goal is to pursue music in addition to all that I do, but right now my education comes first.
“I may end up being the only mainstream music artist with a PhD!
“And all I want to do in life is to influence in a positive way. I believe the human mind is the most important resource we have, Nigeria does not need more computers, Nigeria needs psychologists.
“And I also want to show that you can have fun and still be a brainiac! Especially as a female and feminist, I wish for the world to be a better place where everyone can dream freely and accomplish their goals.”
Titi was invited to take up scholarships in Canada and Brazil - but she ultimately chose Liverpool.
Speaking about her time in the city, the ardent Liverpool FC fan reveals: “Before I came, I was aware that Liverpool Hope University has a strong community of mature students.
“I also looked at the course modules and the people who would teach me and, to me, they were celebrities of the academic world. I wanted to learn from them, and the experience here has been overwhelming.
“The school has got you. Everyone is rooting for your success without spoon feeding you. I couldn’t have asked for more.
“The support from the African community has been amazing, too, especially the leadership of The Apostolic Church Liverpool, Pastor Dotun Davies and Pastor Joseph Ola.
“Although I am a catholic and a member of St. Charles Lwanga Catholic Church in Ibadan, I have found a lovely family of christians here.”
Titi, who is fascinated by ethical concerns when it comes to autonomous Artificial Intelligence and other psychological concerns with cognition and information processing, plans to complete a PhD and she’s already in discussions with Liverpool Hope University about beginning this in the summer.
For more details about Titi’s Masters degree, head here.