Engineer and Logistics Consultant: Melody Ablola

Engineer and Logistics Consultant: Melody Ablola

This engineer works on a project that will determine how deliveries will be made to the Olympic Village, the community where athletes stay during the games.


6 - 12+


Earth Science, Engineering, Experiential Learning

Melody works for Arup, an independent firm of designers, planners, engineers, consultants, and technical specialists. Arup is based in London, England.

Melody is currently working on a project for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The project will determine how deliveries will be made to the Olympic Village, the community where athletes stay during the games.


Even as a young girl, Melody was able to understand technology and put it to practical use. “I’d be the 5 or 6-year-old fixing the VCR or taking apart some clock,” she says.

At the University of San Diego, Melody pursued a degree in industrial and systems engineering. “The reason for choosing engineering was just always being really good at math, really good at science,” she says.


“All of the projects are very diverse,” Melody says. “So I’ll work on something like the Olympics, and I’ll help them build environments, but because I’m an industrial engineer I also get opportunities to work on airports. I go visit Heathrow Airport [in London] and look at their baggage-handling system, and then look in Qatar and help develop their system of transportation.”


Melody says the technical nature of her work can make communication difficult. People who are not engineers may not understand technical terms and problems. In addition to other engineers, Melody works with software developers and architects.

“I suppose it’s the combinations of subdisciplines” that make communication demanding, she says.


“When you say geography, I think of destinations. And I think of airports.”

However, Melody’s view of geography is changing. “Right now, I’m also pursuing a transport masters, so geography becomes the globe and it becomes where goods or people move,” Melody says. (A “transport masters” is a degree in International Transport and Logistics, which Melody is pursuing from the University of Glamorgan, Wales.)


“When we think about the urban geography or the economic geography side of things, I’m looking at how people move around,” she says. “Or I’m looking at how goods are distributed around.”

Melody finds it helpful to know the geographic nature of a region before she begins working there. “When I have to consider different economic climates for a project, it’s defining those languages that are local or what goods are available locally,” she says.

Melody uses geographic tools in her work. “Any type of geographic information system (GIS) helps the supply-chain planning or it helps the delivery-service planning for a lot of the projects that we do,” Melody says.


“Starting in high school, it’s just being involved in any of the mathematics programs,” Melody suggests.

Melody recommends participating in academic competitions, such as a debate team or the National Geography Bee. “That stuff keeps you sharp,” she says. “It keeps you aware of current events.”


Melody recommends volunteering with Habitat for Humanity, a nonprofit organization that seeks to eliminate homelessness around the world.

“Being able to do real construction work, for example, gets you hands-on [experience] with what engineering has meant historically or what engineering really is,” she says, “whether it’s developing a city or it’s designing a building to provide better living centers.”

Media Credits

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Stuart Thornton
Jeannie Evers, Emdash Editing, Emdash Editing
Kara West
National Geographic Society
Last Updated

May 20, 2022

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