HonorSociety.org Chapter President Spotlight: Alpha Alpha Chapter at St. Cloud State University
Oluwatobi Oluwagbemi not only holds the title as the first chapter president at St. Cloud State University, but she is also the first Honor Society chapter president in the United States. From the launch of our chapters program, she has been eager to fulfill the role of president and leader in the chapter and on the St. Cloud State University campus. Oluwatobi has demonstrated her commitment to Honor Society on a chapter and national level throughout the past year.
We had the chance to ask Oluwatobi questions about her experience as chapter president and as an active member of Honor Society. See what she had to say below.
What made you join and look forward to being involved with Honor Society?
I joined because I wanted to be motivated to keep good grades and inspire other students to do the same. I am looking forward to being a mentor to students when I become a graduate student and inspiring other students on my campus and across the country. I am very excited about the huge difference members can make on their campuses and communities. Greatness starts from small things done well.
How has being a member of Honor Society helped you academically, professionally or both?
I never thought of myself as a leader. When I came to my campus I saw many opportunities to get involved and I did. I have been academically challenged, but I have not given up. Honor Society has made me think of what I want to do with my degree. I have been motivated and inspired to put more efforts in my classes and focus on my academic life more than my extra-curricular life.
Honor Society has helped me in my professional life. I have been devoted to my professional life so that I can attended conferences, network with important people and also get involved in public speaking.
What made you decide to apply to become a chapter founder on your university’s campus?
I have always wanted to be a better leader. I wanted to be such a leader that can make a huge difference in other students lives. My school motto says "Think, Do and Be the Difference".
I wanted to be the difference. I did not want to be the leader that tells people that I was making a difference. I did not want to have to tell people but I wanted my life to reflect it. It took me years to be a leader and now that I was ready to be one I decided that I would start a chapter on my campus. In total, I am very grateful for the opportunity to be a role model to others and be a better leader.
How will the Honor Society chapter benefit your university’s community?
Honor Society is a good opportunity for students to get more involved in their community. Community building is very important in any campus. Honor Society can benefit the community because the leadership of every society determines the way the community would function. Great leaders make for a great Community.
What is your major? What drew you to that major?
I have two majors. My first major is International Relations and I chose that because I have always wanted to work at an International Organization. I also want to make a huge difference in people's lives and the best way that I can do that is by working globally across International borders. I also want to be a global author and have my own International Foundation.
My second major is Women Studies and I chose that because my first advisor was a Women Studies Professor who introduced me to the concept of Feminism. I loved it and decided that I wanted to learn more about women in International Relations and also to know what parts of Women Studies I want to concentrate on in future. I chose it because I wanted to learn more about feminism from my professors.
My two majors complemented each other and so I decided to take on the two. In graduate school I would like to study International Affairs with a focus on Gender Studies. I am excited about working with women globally. I am passionate about advocating for women who cannot advocate themselves and helping people all over the world especially developing countries.
What do you do in your free time?
Reading, writing, watching movies, dancing, listening to music, exercising, attending educational events and volunteering in the community.
What impact do you want to have on the world and on your community?
I always think of Impact as the kind of difference that Michelle Obama has had in the world and even those who have not have met her know that she has done great things. I believe that is the effect I want to have on the world and in my community. I want the people who meet me to know that I changed their life. I want to make a positive impact without even meeting the people I have changed their lives for the better. I look up to Michelle Obama as my example in the kind of work I would love to do in future. I love how she travels around the world advocating for girls education. It is impressive to see her elegance, grace, sophistication, intelligence and class in such a way that is so humbling. She has an amazing personality and It impresses me a lot.
In short I want to have a lasting positive impact just like Michelle Obama and I want it to come with skills like knowing how to handle haters and handing criticism with grace and intelligence.
Why do you think it is important to be an active member of Honor Society?
I think it is important to be an active member because members make a huge difference in their campus.
Why are community service and networking opportunities important elements of professional development?
Community Service is very important because every member of the community has to be productive and contribute something to their community. Community Service is very important because small things we do can make a big difference and that is the goal in professional development as that is how to network.
Professional Development is very important in college and beyond.
Networking opportunities are very fun because it allows people to connect with people that they do not know but want/need to know.
An example is if I want to work for the United Nations and I have the opportunity to meet Kofi Annan, I would definitely want to talk to him because he would have a lot of contacts that can help me. Being a shy person I would be hesitant to talk to him because my heart would beat faster but I have learned to maintain eye contact, a firm handshake, a bit of confidence and a business card. With community service and networking opportunities, a successful career can be built. Michelle Obama did that too in her life and it has worked for her.
What is your favorite inspirational quote?
This quote by Steve Jobs is so cool because I used to stress about people's opinions. I used to worry my head so much about what people were saying or even thinking about me. I appreciate my mentors but I do not let what irrelevant people say get to me. Michelle Obama already spoke about how she had to block the noise of the haters to face her God given purpose. I did that too and mastered this Steve Jobs quote. I think that time is really precious and it is necessary to live a good life. I started college not long ago and I am almost done with college and it feels like yesterday when I started and I had big dreams for my college experience and I feel like time flies so fast. I believe that it is important to not waste anytime on irrelevant things or people in life. I focus on what is important in life like Career, Family , Academics, Health and my Future.
“Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma – which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of other’s opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.”
Who is your mentor and how have they helped you succeed? Tell us about a time they were a huge influence on you.
Dr. Beth Berila has been a huge influence in my life. She inspired me to become a Women Studies Major, before I met her I did not know there was a major called Women Studies. She spoke to me about majoring in Women Studies my first week of being in school and now I am enjoying the major. I have learned a lot about great women in International Politics and great feminists.
I have learned so much and I have set bigger goals for my life because of Dr. Berila. Dr. Berila has helped me succeed because she encourages me and inspires me. She always gives me advice on how to be a better professional and how to succeed in my future career. She has helped me get into conferences and she is always available to advice her students. She is a professor that is approachable and I like how she is a resource to Women Studies Students. She also helped me feel better from stress through yoga classes and it is important for students to balance their academic life and personal life so that the stress is not too much in college. I have had a better life because I met Dr. Berila and that is why students have mentors to help them be better professionals.