Emiola Oyefuga receives Black History in the Making award

SOE doctoral candidate honored by the Department of Educational Leadership

Dr. Jeffery Wilson, associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership, and doctoral candidate Emiola Oyefuga with her 2019 Black History in the Making award.
From left: Dr. Jeffery Wilson and doctoral student Emiola Oyefuga.

Emiola Oyefuga, a doctoral candidate in the VCU School of Education, is the Department of Educational Leadership’s 2019 Black History in the Making award recipient.

Emiola – a native of Lagos, Nigeria – is pursuing a Ph.D. in Education with a Concentration in Educational Leadership, Policy and Justice. When she was considering where to pursue her doctoral degree, she said that VCU SOE rose to the top.

“Not only did my brother live nearby, but I was able to meet with the faculty in the summer of 2016 as I had the privilege of being on the African Junior Professional Fellows Program at the International Peace Institute in New York. Living in New York City for a month made me realize I would not enjoy the hectic pace if I chose a school there for my graduate studies. For me, Richmond’s history and VCU SOE’s reputation was more than enough reason to make the move,” she said.

“I remember my father used to say that a good education was never a disadvantage, and he always encouraged everyone he met to go a step further with their education, if they could. My mother, who worked as a full-time primary health care nurse, would always spend time every day after work helping my siblings and me with school assignments. This is one of the reasons why my research is focused on the impact of social capital on education.”

For students who are considering pursuing a doctoral degree, Emiola says anything is achievable as long as you work hard and have a good support system. “It’s like learning to drive. Whether you are taught by a member of your family or by a professional instructor, once you know how, then it’s up to you. When you get in the driver’s seat, don’t focus on obstacles, and don’t let yourself get distracted; follow directions and you will make it to your destination.”

In five years, Emiola hopes to be making a positive change somewhere in the world by influencing education policy to recognize, include and support outside-school factors that affect the life of children, particularly their educational outcomes.

The Black History in the Making award was established in VCU’s Department of African American Studies to recognize the achievements of African American students. Recipients are selected based on their academic excellence, service to the university or community, and work experiences that place them at the forefront of their careers. Emiola was unanimously selected by faculty of the Department of Educational Leadership for her stellar performance in the classroom and for her duties as a department graduate assistant working with Dr. Jeffery Wilson, an associate professor.