When Rashid Owoyele dropped out of school and moved out of his home at the age of 16, life without a high school diploma was a challenge. He tried to proceed with his education through a correspondence program called American School. "I found it very difficult to teach myself algebra and physics so I never completed the program," says Owoyele.
At 19, he got his GED, and didn’t realize how well he'd done on the GED test until he applied to IUPUI on a whim. Not only was he accepted, he received a scholarship for Outstanding GED Score to help with tuition and was later named a Ronald E. McNair Scholar.
In the School of Liberal Arts Owoyele shaped an Individualized Major in Environmental Ethics and Design. The degree he designed combined history, political science and religion coursework with classes from the Herron School of Art and Design and built on the School of Public and Environmental Affairs minor and Certificate in Environmental Science and Public Health.
Owoyele says Professor David Craig, his IMP mentor, was the "most influential faculty member in my growth and development at IUPUI. His Religious Studies course in Ethics of Consumption helped bring my major to fruition by providing me with an ethical framework in which to analyze environmental issues."
Jennifer Mahoney, associate faculty in the Writing Program, and Matt Groshek, Herron and Museum Studies Professor, also inspired him to excel.
Not only did Owoyele make the most of his college career academically, he was quick to get involved in the life of the campus. He was a Career Development Assistant in the School of Liberal Arts, a Research Scholar for the Center for Research and Learning, mentor for the Urban Center for the Advancement of STEM Education (UCASE) Initiative, and Project Support Assistant for Campus Facility Services to name a few. His co-curricular activities included Jaguar Forensics, Environmental Awareness League, Hip-Hop Dance Crew, and Moving Company.
Owoyele's commitment to IUPUI continues since his graduation last summer. He currently is the Career Coach and Communications Specialist for the Liberal Arts Career Development Office, helping students find a place in the workforce that matches their interests and talents.
Despite his accomplishments, he is very humble about his success. "My success has happened because I've been in the right place at the right time in addition to the assistance of some truly amazing IUPUI programs, staff, and faculty," he says.
Owoyele forgot to mention one thing: his own determination.
--Katie Schoentrup, Liberal Arts News Bureau