The greatest reward I receive for what I do – Adetola Salau
She is the Founder and Director of Carisma4U Educational Foundation, a social innovation enterprise that focuses on the transformation of the educational system especially STEM education in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
She has a B. Sc in Chemistry from Fordham University, New York, with a medal as the best student in Chemistry.
She later went on to get a M.Sc in Chemical Engineering and another in Engineering Management from Syracuse University in New York. She is currently working on a PhD in Chemical Engineering with a specialty in Environmental Engineering.
Adetola worked for the City of New York Board of Education as well as taught in California, South Carolina and North Carolina respectively.
She has taught a variety of students from pupils in the 6th grades to teaching at Fordham University as an Adjunct Lecturer.
She is passionate about education (STEM education especially) and is an advocate for education reform globally most especially in Africa.
She is driven by the desire to help students in Africa become future ready and innovate for their own economic prosperity (using STEM Education-STEM stands for Science Technology Engineering Mathematics.) Tola shares her story in this motivating interview
Being aware of environmental issues from childhood
I WAS raised by academic parents- Professors who were dedicated to giving back to the community and held education in high esteem.
They believed that service was what each human owed other humans. I joined Red Cross as a pre-teen because I wanted to ease the suffering of others and when I was in college, I continued to volunteer to shelters and work as a mentor to young children.
I learned that it was better to focus upon serving others than dwell upon my own life’s issues.
As a teenager, I was aware of environmental issues impacting the planet because my parents were environmentalists and also when I stared at the blackish water of Bonny as a teen.
I was angry and sad at the same time at the pervasive pollution that was been inflicted upon our environment.
I took it hard because I loved the land of Bonny, her people are my people (on my grandmother’s side) and from my parents dedication to environmental causes and gleaning from the materials strewn about our home, I knew that the damage was extensive.
I realized that if something wasn’t done about cleaning up the soil and rivers, cleaning up the oil spills being my motivation for desiring to study Chemical engineering.
I began to think like an advocate from an early age looking back, I have always been drawn to helping the underdog or rooting for them in stories that I read.
I am a Global Educator, a Speaker, Author, Social Entrepreneur, Innovator, and an Advocate of STEM Education.
I am driven to push the revamping of our learning sector because of the horrible experiences I had in the STEM subjects when I was a young child in Nigeria and the opposite experience I had when my family and I relocated to America.
I had a severe fear of math in my teenage years due to the horrible conditions I was taught in and how STEM subjects were made boring.
Passionate educators made the difference for me which I wrote about in my book, “Re-engineering minds for innovation.”
A huge part of my dedication in remaining a STEM student was due to the support of my enlightened parents; both Intellectuals- world renowned academicians of high repute who taught me to strive for excellence.
My mother, Dr (Mrs) O.A. Salau is a climatologist and environmentalist who taught me to love STEM subjects fervently through application and my father, Prof A.T. Salau was an environmentalist with the United Nations, New York. He was the former Vice Chancellor of the University of Port-Harcourt.
I studied at Fordham University, New York, where I obtained a B.Sc in Chemistry with a medal as the best student in Chemistry. I went on to get a M.Sc in Chemical Engineering and another in Engineering Management from Syracuse University in New York. I am currently working on a PhD in Chemical Engineering.
Inspiration behind Carisma4U Educational Foundation
Carisma4U Educational Foundation is a social innovation enterprise that focuses on the transformation of the educational sector especially STEM education in Nigeria and Africa as a whole.
I founded Carisma4U educational foundation in 2015 to address this situation because I believe starting early in the educational system to create a lifelong love of STEM learning that will improve the probability that students will not become STEM adverse at the later stages of their tertiary education.
I am working on creating a new paradigm for the way we approach STEM education with a greater emphasis placed on practical real life application that will bridge the gap between theory and practical, so we can engage our youths in developing solutions to issues that plague us.
I am driven by the desire to help students in Africa become future ready and innovate for their own economic prosperity using STEM and I works towards the emergence of a strong vibrant Africa through the effective utilization of education.