Opeyemi Awe, Grinnell College

Featured Scholar

Fall 2014

As a high school student, Posse Scholar Opeyemi “Ope” Awe knew she wanted to attend a college where she could become a leader. When she learned about Posse and Grinnell College, she knew that was the place where she could do it. Now a senior, Ope is leading the campus as president of Grinnell’s Student Government Association.

“Because the Grinnell community is so small, one program, one initiative, or one student with an idea can have a huge impact,” says Ope, who is majoring in international affairs. “To engage with that—to be a change agent on a campus—gives me a lot of perspective and opportunities to develop my leadership style.”

And lead she has. Last year, Ope was the co-creator and facilitator of town hall style events attended by students, faculty, and staff to discuss topics such as technology and learning, diversity, and Title IX. As president, she is looking forward to ensuring that students are informed about issues affecting the campus community and empowered to be involved.

“As I became more active in student government, I put a lot of pressure on myself to fit into a certain role,” Ope says. “But my Posse reminded me to be true to myself. Posse has been the most incredible and influential part of my experience here.”

Ope has distinguished herself as a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and was featured by MSNBC in a series entitled “Women in Politics: College Edition.” After graduating, she plans to pursue a consulting career before earning a Ph.D. and returning to her native Nigeria.

“I want to understand Africa in the context of the global economy,” says Ope. “In 10 years, I see myself back in Nigeria, working with small to medium for-profits that are creating jobs for Nigerians.”