Hi! My name is Femi Abiola, and I am excited to introduce myself as the 2023 Summer Research Intern at OUSA.
I am currently a third-year Honours student at Queen's University, pursuing a degree in Political Science and Biology, with a minor in Health Studies. Apart from my academic pursuits, I am passionate about student governance and advocacy, both within and beyond my university. As an undergraduate representative and student senator at Queen's University, I have learned firsthand about the systemic inequalities and power imbalances that exist within academic institutions. These experiences have shown me that advocating for students' needs and interests often requires challenging the status quo and pushing for policies that take into consideration all members of any academic institution, particularly students. Furthermore, I have recognized the power of student initiatives that promote social justice, equity, and inclusion, such as advocating for increased funding for marginalized student groups, pushing for the hiring of more diverse faculty and staff, and creating safe and inclusive spaces for all students on campus. Additionally, I understand the importance of organizing with student groups and building coalitions to amplify collective voices and achieve meaningful change within academic institutions.
Through my involvement in various advocacy groups and organizations such as the Toronto Youth Council, Ward 17 council, Queen’s University Sustainable Global Development Hub, Queen’s Women’s Health Advocacy Association, and residence donning, I have gained a deep understanding of the inequalities that students face and the importance of advocating for their needs. As our world becomes increasingly digital, I am particularly passionate about accessibility and ensuring that websites, online course materials, and other digital resources are designed with accessibility in mind. This includes providing alternative text for images, closed captioning for videos, and screen reader compatibility. In addition, I strongly support inclusive teaching practices like universal design for learning, which creates accessible and engaging learning environments for all students, including those with learning disabilities and cognitive differences. By increasing awareness and understanding of these needs, I work to secure accommodations and support services that empower all students to succeed academically.
While I am passionate about student advocacy, I am also interested in public policy and have been serving in an elected position with my local government in my ward for almost three years. As a research intern at OUSA, I am excited to learn from experienced professionals in the field of student advocacy and gain a deeper understanding of how research informs policy decisions that impact the lives of post-secondary students.
In my free time, I enjoy playing the harp, painting, playing tennis, and creative writing. I am excited to start my summer work term with OUSA and am looking forward to collaborating with others who share my passion for student advocacy. If you have any questions about my role or want to connect, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at [email protected].
Thank you for taking the time to read my introduction.