Graduation Speaker Profile: Pelumi Ajibade
"Whatever change you want to see, create it."
- Oluwapelumi Ajibade, Psychology BS 2019
"I wanted to make a difference at the University of Washington and in myself," recalls Pelumi Ajibade of her undergraduate experience, "I didn't want to just attend classes, I wanted to be part of a community." From the time of her arrival as a freshman at UW four years ago until she gave one of the keynote talks at the Psychology Graduation Celebration this June, Pelumi most definitely became not only a part of, but a leader within a community of learners.
This native of Lagos, Nigeria, which she refers to as her hometown and favorite place in the world, took full advantage of the wide array of opportunities available to her as a UW Husky. Pelumi says that she threw herself into all the activities that seemed interesting to her. She was a radio host, worked in mail rooms on campus, was a tour guide, and served as a Resident Assistant. "I made friends, studied abroad in London, and found every opportunity to grow myself," says Pelumi.
Perhaps one of her greatest achievements was when she and fellow psychology majors started a new student club, Diversity in Psychology. Wanting to push the boundaries of what they initially thought they could accomplish, Pelumi and her fellow club officers planned, raised money for, and created a first of its kind conference for high school students interested in learning more about psychology.
Pelumi credits her Psychology Research Methods class, taught by Dr. Ann Culligan, with igniting her love of research. She also credits her advisor, Vicky Hansen, with helping her to connect with a research lab and mentoring her throughout her time in the Psychology Department. "I am thankful for being part of a department where I was able to create a relationship with professors and a friendship with advisors who have shown me that my future can be everything that I want it to be," says Pelumi.
Today Pelumi is a Psychology Department alumna, but continues to be part of this community, working as a research coordinator for the Center for the Science of Social Connection, directed by Dr. Jonathan Kanter. She says that she goes to work each day excited to be challenged and working with a group of people who feel like family. Pelumi sums up her UW Psychology exerience with this advice to future students "this major is everthing that you make of it - the resources are there, the people are there - make use of them!"