Olatomi Olabanji’s ('14) advice for prospective students is to get involved and be proactive. Whether in research, internships, campus jobs or simply asking a professor for extra help, she believes students must seek out and take advantage of the many opportunities available at CNU.
Olabanji led by example. She fully engaged in her communication major by assisting faculty with research, worked for the Office of Admission as a student ambassador, was an active member of the women’s empowerment group Ladies Adding Distinction in Every Stride (LADIES), and was involved in CNU’s vibrant Greek life. “My involvement contributed the most to my CNU experience,” Olabanji says. “If I wasn’t involved on campus, I would not have been able to do nearly half of the leadership opportunities I was selected for over the years.” These opportunities included serving as an orientation crew leader and in leadership positions in her sorority.
Initially hesitant and unsure of herself, Olabanji credits her sorority for helping her become a stronger woman, teaching her how to be a mentor and role model to others, and encouraging her to become a campus leader. “If not for my sorority, I would have remained a shy, introverted girl just waiting to graduate,” she says. Her Greek experience also taught her the importance of staying organized in order to balance school, work, volunteering and other clubs and activities.
Olabanji learned the importance and power of relationships from a scholarly perspective as well. She assisted faculty with research on the use of social media in the classroom, a particular interest of hers. “We combined information we gathered from research participants and knowledge we learned in class to develop research papers,” she explains.
Olabanji also spent a summer as an intern for Linda Roth Associates, a public relations firm in Washington, D.C. “As a communication major it was always a dream of mine to find an internship that would give me the experience needed to successfully land a job after college,” she says. The internship allowed her to pursue her personal interests while learning necessary public relations techniques. Her duties included managing social media, conducting research and creating press materials for a wide array of clients.
Through LADIES, Olabanji extended and shared her newfound confidence with others on campus. The group hosts various speakers on topics ranging from career development to women's health and safety and body image. “These are women on campus aside from my sorority sisters I knew I could turn to at any time of the day,” says Olabanji. LADIES also works closely with Take Back the Night, an organization that promotes taking action against all forms of sexual violence.
Olabanji hopes to find her place in the real world working in public relations in Washington, D.C. “When it came time for me to start my journey to success, I had no idea where to begin,” Olabanji says. “Thankfully, I was able to add CNU as a part of my life story, and I could not be more blessed.”
The student who came to CNU shy and introverted is now fearless.
– Sally Grace Holtgrieve (’15)
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