Shoola, a senior majoring in integrative neuroscience and minoring in Africana studies, returned to her home country of Nigeria this summer for her Harpur Fellows project, creating the Ogbomosho Innovation Challenge. Over her last three years at Binghamton, Shoola found friends and resources that motivated her to make a change.
Aiming to give back to her community, she reached out to a few contacts in Nigeria.
She decided to team up with Children that Change the World CTCTWa radio station that aims to teach underserved Nigerian children new critical and creative thinking techniques. They exchanged ideas and ultimately created the Ogbomosho Innovation Challenge. Before Shoola applied for her grant, she spoke to several Harpur Fellows who ly completed projects in Africa: Mmekom Udosen, who led a female empowerment workshop in Uyo, Nigeria; Rachel Lubinga, who did work on feminine hygiene in Kampala, Uganda; and Emma Ryan, who worked on internet accessibility in Worawora, Ghana.
Working with CTCTW, she sent flyers with information on the competition to schools and to the city of Ogbomosho, advertised it on the radio and shared the competition on social media. Though Shoola was working with a team, she quickly realized that this project was bigger than anyone could have anticipated.
We even had a principal tell us to talk to the Ministry of Education, who gave us personal contacts. Organizing her project was difficult at times, but Shoola had the resources and the drive to persevere. The competition incentivized collaboration and divergent thinking, leading to unique community outreach projects.
Shoola and her team helped students tailor their projects, teaching them an array of skills from PowerPoint to problem-solving techniques. Participants presented their projects and went through two rounds of judging before three winners were chosen. The top three projects received prizes, but everyone received a participation certificate.
If we can just give them a platform [everyone] will be wowed. Shoola put the same quote on her shirts for the Ogbomosho Innovation Challenge.
Keegan replied and thanked Shoola, saying she was almost in tears. Ifeoluwa Shoola spent her summer working with Nigerian children on innovation. Image Credit: Evan Henderson.
Ifeoluwa Shoola is inspiring the next generation of innovators.