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For the Public Good: Ola Abiose, HDP'15

Ola AbioseOlamide Abiose already realized when she applied to the Ed School that the right to education was a matter of social justice. What didn’t become clear until her year in the Human Development and Psychology (HDP) Program was underway, however, was how much education is also an issue of public health. This new knowledge is something that the Cleveland native will keep in mind as she embarks on her career.

“No matter what I do in education, I want to make sure that I’m remembering the important role it plays in children’s overall health and well-being,” Abiose says.

Abiose’s commitment to children and their education was apparent to all in her cohort, including Senior Lecturer Richard Weissbourd, program director of HDP.

“Ola is an intellectual in the best sense of the word,” Weissbourd says. “She is a deep and rigorous thinker. She has strong ethical commitments. She listens carefully to others and approaches her work with humility. It is a great pleasure to honor her with this award.”

Upon learning that she had been honored with the Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award for HDP, Abiose answered some questions about her time at the Ed School and beyond.

What was your goal upon entering the Ed School? My biggest hope for this year was to gain a greater understanding of different aspects of education and a sense of top concerns within the field, and I think HGSE has been great in helping me accomplish that goal.

Is there any professor or class that significantly shaped your experience at the Ed School? [Professor] Catherine Elgin was a hugely influential professor for me. Her Philosophy of Education class was extremely thought-provoking, and I remember being forever struck by her introduction to the course: “If we don’t have a clear sense of what our ideal [in education] is, we won’t know what we’re aiming for.”

How did you stay inspired throughout the year? I stayed inspired and grounded by the Codman Academy high school students I had the privilege of working with this year.

What advice do you have for next year’s students going through your program? Make sure to take time for self-reflection about the ways in and extent to which you’re changing during this year.

The number one, biggest surprise of the last year was … Winning this award.

Read about the other recipients of this year's Intellectual Contribution/Faculty Tribute Award.