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Meet Adelola Popoola

BA Global Studies ’19
Minors in French and International Development

Adelola Popoola, Drexel Global Studies major

As told to Kylie Gray

My Drexel experience in one word: adventurous. But when I first arrived at Drexel, I was overwhelmed by all that I could do here — and also a lot more reserved and shy than I am now.

My Global Studies adviser, Kate Hughes, encouraged me to apply for a study abroad program in Brussels with the European Parliament. I loved every minute of it, and grew so much in just five months.

As an assistant to a Member of Parliament, I drafted declarations of her stance on copyright law and created a database of professionals affected by those laws, while also taking courses in Global Advocacy and French. I learned the importance of networking — eventually becoming comfortable enough to hand my business card to diplomats and ask them to share career advice over coffee.

I used the confidence I had gained to take advantage of everything I could back at Drexel. I signed up for clubs, organizations — anything that looked interesting to me — and went on co-op at the Global Leadership Academy Charter School. I became a Lindy Scholar Advisor and joined the Black Student Union, which allowed me to explore who I am as a Black woman in college.

As the current president of BSU, I’ve planned events and panels with other student groups around the theme of community and unity. We want students to know that we are here for them, and a community they can go to and rely on.

I was able to develop my global and intercultural knowledge by trying out different disciplines at Drexel. One of my courses, Global Legal History, was taught by Professor Debjani Bhattacharyya. She was such a big support for me, and became my biggest mentor at Drexel.

Adelola Popoola

Later, I took a course that explored what Africa was like before colonialism, and that really sparked my interest. I was born in Nigeria, but had never studied its history. I started gearing my courses toward development in Africa, and realized the extent of disparities all over the world.

I now plan to pursue a career in international economic development. Gaining research experience at a nonprofit — the Basic Education Coalition in Washington D.C. — confirmed that goal.

This year, I took that focus internationally during my study abroad in Paris at Sciences Po, one of the world’s top international relations schools. I had heard of the school as a high school French student, but never thought that I would actually take courses there; I’m now fluent in French!

I feel like I’m living out all of my dreams that I’ve had since childhood. Learning about many different kinds of people has provided me with a reflection of life after Drexel — more importantly, with confidence in myself and in what I can accomplish. Global Studies has allowed me to create my own understanding of the world, along with ideas of how I want to change it.