Doctoral student to empower African female graduate students with fellowship

May 8, 2024

Olamide Ogungbemi was leading equity efforts in education long before she enrolled in the Michigan State University Educational Psychology and Educational Technology Ph.D program two years ago. Born and raised in Nigeria, she held a series of leadership and instructional positions at non-profits centered on teaching young women and seasoned professionals how to use technology and integrate their skills into business.

Olamide Ogungbemi wearing a black leather jacket smiling at camera. She is standing in the Erickson Hall Kiva.
Olamide Ogungbemi

After recently finishing her second year as a Spartan, the momentum hasn’t stopped.

In April, she was selected to join the Michigan State University Graduate School‘s 2024-2025 Leadership Fellows program – a one-year, cohort-based program empowering graduate students to lead change-oriented projects with a focus on community. Her project – set to be finalized in the coming months – ideally will be geared towards supporting members of the MSU African Female Student Empowerment Program, providing them with professional development opportunities and mentorship opportunities.

“I want to create a culturally relevant space for African female graduate students,” she said. “I want to make sure they receive proper mentoring from leaders on and off campus.”

The fellowship grants recipients a $2,000 stipend that goes toward their efforts. Ogungbemi will showcase her work in spring 2025 at an event hosted by the Graduate School.

A change in scenery, a change in focus

Ogungbemi is passionate about addressing systemic inequities through research.

The fellowship aligns closely with her scholarly interests, which have shifted since arriving in the United States two years ago. In Nigeria, her work in nonprofits addressed gender inequities in business and technology – but the population affected by inequities has shifted.

“The challenge we have in Nigeria is gender inequity,” she said. “I was interested in continuing this research but after speaking with my advisor, I realized there’s a lot of work that has already been done in this space.”

With the mentorship of Professor Aman Yadav and Assistant Professor Michael Lachney, Ogungbemi is exploring justice-centered computing, examining other factors such as nationality, race and socioeconomic status in computer science education. She will work with faculty members at the college to implement justice-centered computing approaches to courses for K-12 students and teacher education candidates.

“I am looking at how teachers in K-12 settings are considering the identities of their students and teaching in a culturally relevant manner in their classrooms.”

She credits Yadav, Lachney and Professor Jennifer Schmidt with significantly shaping her academic journey, providing crucial support and mentorship that has enhanced her research and professional development in the field of educational technology.

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