My burning passion to improve the quality of basic education in the world, especially in developing countries, inspired me to apply to Florida State University. I was excited to learn from world-class faculty members in the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies, especially Dr. Stephanie Zuilkowski, who has conducted and published groundbreaking empirical studies that aim to improve the quality of basic education in developing countries and in the United States.
Motivation to pursue a graduate degree
My motivation to pursue a PhD in Education Policy and Evaluation stems from my desire to acquire high-quality research knowledge and skills. This training will enable me to develop evidence-backed interventions that could be used to improve the quality of basic education for children in the world, especially in developing countries. The research that I am conducting and the skills that I am acquiring at Florida State University are enabling me to attain my long-term goal of improving educational access, learning outcomes, and school completion rates of children in the world, especially in developing nations.
Importance and/or impact of research and work
Millions of children do not have access to high-quality basic education in the world. Through rigorous research, I hope to provide evidence-based policies, programs, and practices that could be used to improve educational access, learning outcomes, and school completion rates of children, irrespective of their demographic classification. This work will ensure that every nation has human capital that can contribute to its economic growth. I am currently writing my dissertation on the use of private tutoring and its relationship to primary school pupils’ literacy and mathematics outcomes in Nigeria. The study's findings will provide information to parents about the possible outcomes of investing in tutoring. The findings of the study will provide information that will enable policymakers to make informed policy decisions about private tutoring. The study's findings will contribute to the literature on private tutoring or shadow education in Nigeria.
My career goal is to work for an international organization that is developing, implementing, and evaluating evidence-based interventions that will improve children’s educational access, learning outcomes, and school completion rates. I want to work with an international organization as a senior researcher, project or program evaluator, or education policy analyst. Alternatively, I would like to work at a college in the U.S.A as a professor of education policy and evaluation, focusing on improving educational access, learning outcomes, and school completion rates of children in the world.
Advice for anyone considering graduate school
My advice for anyone considering graduate school is to make sure they are passionate about their research interests and ready to work hard, pass through the rigor of a graduate program, and persevere, irrespective of the challenges they face. I would also advise anyone who wants to pursue a graduate program to engage in campus activities to unwind from the stress of a rigorous graduate program.
Accomplishments during graduate career
As a graduate student, I have had a number of opportunities to present and share my research, implement evidence-based interventions, review a journal article, and win several awards. I have published several peer-reviewed articles in journals, such as Global Education Review, Literacy, and School Community Journals, and I also have additional articles currently under review. I reviewed a journal article for a reputable educational journal in the U.S.A. I have presented my work at local and international conferences.
As a research assistant at Learning Systems Institute, I have worked on several educational projects sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Northern Nigeria, such as the Northern Education Initiative Plus (NEI+), the establishment of the Nigerian Center for Reading Research at Bayero University-Kano, and the Post-Conflict Activities to Counter Violent Extremism in Borno State: Development of Effective Tools for Multilingual Medium of Instruction at Lower Basic Education Level. I am currently working with research faculty at the Learning Systems Institute on a USAID-sponsored educational project titled: "Transforming Teacher Education in Zambia." All these evidence-backed projects aim to increase access to basic education, improve children’s literacy outcomes, and advance the science of reading and research methodology knowledge and skills of pre-service and in-service teachers and faculty members in sub-Saharan Africa. In addition, these projects aim to review and revamp the reading instruction curricula and ensure the development and availability of the latest and most useful early grade reading materials for educational institutions. Check out the article they published "Bodunrin Akinrinmade: In My Own Words."
I have also won several awards, such as the Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Book Stipend Award, the Joseph C. Beckham Endowment for Education Policy Studies Scholarship, conference travel grants, the Dissertation Research Grant Award, the 2022 College of Education International Travel Scholarship, and a Clark Scholar at the 2022 David L. Clark National Graduate Research Seminar in Educational Administration and Policy.