Anisa Ara

School: Fox School of Business
Degree: BS, management information systems, 2020
Hometown: Upper Darby, Pennsylvania

Anisa Ara, FOX ’20, is a big dreamer. When she arrived at Temple, she picked a challenging major with no idea where it would lead. But, in just a few short years, it’s led her to a job as an innovator at one of the world’s leading tech companies. 


Ara spends her days traveling the world, but her journey toward her current role as an AI applications specialist for IBM first began at Temple University. After a spontaneous walk through the campus during her college application process, she says she knew she’d found the place for her.   

“It just felt right,” she said. “It wasn’t like the other universities I visited, and I knew that I wanted that campus feel in a city environment. It was important that I could see diverse faces around me.”   

Ara’s path to her current role was winding. She chose a tough major at Temple—management information systems—and she remained uncertain about how she would use it after graduation. But a standout moment in her college experience came when she participated in Inside Out, Temple’s prison exchange program, in which college students attend a class held inside a prison and learn side by side with incarcerated students. This taught her to consider different perspectives.  

“I was one of the few students in the program who was a management information systems major,” she said. It was this program that helped Ara realize she likely wouldn’t take a traditional route with her career; instead, she was more likely to braid her creativity and technical knowledge into something all her own. 


During Ara’s senior year, she went to a conference and met a Temple alum who worked at IBM. While it wasn’t a place she’d originally considered working, she was proven otherwise when she learned she can explore both the world and her own ideas to solve problems; a job offer swiftly followed the introduction. Today, Ara considers her ability to embrace diverse thinking to be the cornerstone of her work at IBM, where she innovates every day.

Ara works with hundreds of clients, ranging from small municipalities in rural areas to large companies like Pfizer, to design the implementation of solutions that demonstrate how AI can be useful. In fact, her role at IBM has inspired her to tackle patenting solutions as her interactions in AI around the world grow. 

“I help people understand why AI can be good for them,” she says. “I’m the hype woman.” 

Anisa Ara looking into the distance.
Anisa Ara standing in the streets of Philadelphia.

“Temple just felt right. It wasn’t like the other universities I visited, and I knew that I wanted that campus feel in a city environment. It was important that I could see diverse faces around me.”   

–Anisa Ara
Artificial intelligence specialist


Ara says she’s thankful for her time at Temple because it taught her to think bigger about what’s possible. Rather than staying siloed in her major, many of her professors encouraged her to think outside the box. 

“When I started at Temple, I had no idea what the role I do today even was,” she said. “I didn’t even think it was possible to work in this kind of job at my age. But I’m 24 years old, doing incredible things.”  

Ara’s advice to other new graduates is to come up with a plan A, B, C and D. “Never silo yourself into one role or one job, or even one major,” she said. “In every building on campus, you can walk in and learn something new.”