The Graduate School Advance to a Higher Degree

Tolulope Omotoso

By 2050, the world will need to feed 9 billion people. This will require a 60% increase in agricultural production, a 40% increase in water provision and a 30% increase in energy production. Most of these demands will come from developing nations like Nigeria. Water, energy and food resources are intrinsically linked and these links are becoming more evident due to a changing climate. To sustainably manage demands for these resources, policy makers need to understand how they are linked and the possible trade-offs associated with their developmental decisions. The Nigerian government is planning to intensify agricultural production and build a new hydropower dam in Niger state. Both projects are in direct competition for available freshwater resources in the state, hence setting up possible trade-off scenarios. These trade-offs are not properly understood. Tolulope’s project aims at improving knowledge on the nexus and trade-offs between water, energy and food resources using this important food and energy producing state in Nigeria as a case study.

Why Purdue?

I chose Purdue because of 2 main reasons - the reputation as a top engineering/research school and the diversity (I have met people from all over the world here). Purdue was ranked #3 in my major, Civil Engineering, by the U.S. News College Rankings when I applied. Also, I found a lot of interesting research was being carried out at Purdue.

Career goal?

Short term career goal: work with a global consulting firm as an environmental consultant. Long term goal: go into politics. Maybe become President of Nigeria one day.

Favorite fact about Purdue?

There is a nuclear reactor on campus. Very few people know about this.

Three words that best describe your work?

Sustainability, Interlinkages, Trade-offs

Where do you spend most of your time on campus?

I spend most of my time in 2 buildings at Discovery Park. I do my research at the Hall of Discovery Learning & Research and carry out my duties as Special Projects Coordinator to the Energy Center in Mann Hall.

If you have free time, how do you choose to spend it?

I try to use my free time for professional development. I am currently studying for the Project Management Professional certification. I also do some volunteering in the community. During the Spring 2016 semester, I joined a couple of Purdue students to distribute water and other supplies to the residents of Flint, MI. It was an awesome experience.

What’s your best time-saving shortcut or life hack?

Doing things immediately or as soon as possible. I have been trying to improve my time management skills and one way I have found effective is to avoid procrastinating as much as possible.

What’s your favorite to-do list manager?

For research, pencil/paper is fine for short term (daily or weekly) tasks. That way, I can cross off things that have been done easily. For longer term tasks I keep a digital version with Microsoft OneNote. For errands, I use the notes app on my phone.

Besides your phone and computer, what gadget can’t you live without?

Probably my stove. I cook my meals myself most times.

What everyday thing are you better at than everyone else?

Better than EVERYONE else? That's a far stretch. However, I will say I am pretty good at critiquing (do not confuse with criticizing!). I like to analyze things/issues critically by synthesizing information from varying schools of thought.

I’d love to see _____________ answer these same questions.

President Barack Obama. Being the first African-American President, I'll like to know how he did it. I hope I meet him someday.

What are you currently reading, or what is the last thing you read (aside from academic reading)?

The last book I read is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I am currently reading Thinking in Systems: A Primer by Donella H. Meadows

How do you recharge physically and/or mentally?

Playing soccer, talking to or hanging out with friends and of course sleeping.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

One of my teachers in high school once told me "it is not he who starts a project that matters but he who finishes it." I consider this as one of the best pieces of advice I have received because it keeps me going when I encounter difficult times and think about quitting.

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What alums from this country are saying about their Purdue experience

After the University of Nigeria had offered me a scholarship in 1976 to do a graduate program in Engineering Geology in any good university overseas, I applied to universities in Canada and United States of America. I finally chose to attend Purdue University in 1977. I made this choice on the advice of a civil engineering lecturer at the University of Nigeria who had trained in the USA but not at Purdue. He said the following “If you want to get a good education in Engineering Geology in the United States, go to Purdue University but you must be prepared to work hard”. That was indeed how I chose Purdue.

Purdue prepared me on how to work hard and above all, how to carry out research and communicate findings. I obtained my Master’s and Doctorate degrees in 1979 and 1981 respectively. I left Purdue to return to the University of Nigeria in 1982. My training at Purdue paid off as I rose through the ranks to become a full professor of the University of Nigeria in 1990, and lately became the First Emeritus Professor in the history of the Department.

Celestine Obialo Okogbue

Prof. Celestine Obialo Okogbue
Emeritus Professor of Engineering Geology
University of Nigeria, Nsukka

There is no doubt that my Purdue education was the most important career preparation I had. The classes, projects and professors at Purdue enhanced my critical thinking and problem solving skills. My classroom work and projects mirrored real life situations that made it easy for me to transition from graduate school to my work life. The problems I had to solve on the job were very similar to the problems that I solved in my classes, so the skills were very transferable.

Beyond the academic side of my career preparation, Purdue provided me with many interdisciplinary learning opportunities that have contributed immensely to my appreciation for diversity of thoughts and the meaningful exchange of ideas. I had the opportunity to take classes with students from a variety of ethnic and academic backgrounds. Purdue gave me the opportunity to enroll as a dual-degree student, pursuing two different but related graduate degrees concurrently. It was very eye-opening to see and learn how the same concept is applied to address problems in different academic disciplines and cultures.

I enjoyed living in West Lafayette. Both the university and the local community are welcoming and receptive to international students.

Omolola (Lola) Adedokun

Omolola (Lola) Adedokun
University of Kentucky

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