CLA is home to 186,201 alumni—alumni who are transforming their communities and the world. Every day, our graduates live out the promise and the value of a liberal arts education through their ability to think creatively and critically, communicate thoughtfully, and collaborate effectively. As the result, our world is better in 180,000+ unique ways. This month, we shed a spotlight on alumnus Ighedosa Ogbeide (BS '18, psychology). Read about his time in CLA and how he is applying the foundations from his education to create brighter futures for the youth whom he serves.
What did you study in CLA?
I graduated with a BS in psychology and a minor in public health. At first, I didn’t think much of the degree I pursued other than I had a strong desire to learn about the human mind. However, the College of Liberal Arts showed me a new world and opened new desires through the courses that were available. I could go from reading about Odysseus and his crew in Greek and Roman mythology to the clinical dilemmas doctors face in medical ethics. The breadth of knowledge CLA granted was profound. I learned so much about how society is structured in sociology, and the way cultural processes shape our cognition, motivation, behavior, and emotions in cultural psychology.
As a first-generation Nigerian immigrant, there was so much joy in being able to learn Yoruba in the language center (LANG 1142 for my Yoruba people who are interested in picking up their native tongue). Through CLA’s education, I was not only able to learn about the world around me, but the world within me as well. With this education brought a greater sense of self and of the world I resided in.
You participated in the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Program. How did the program influence the path you chose after graduation?
If there is one thing the MLK Jr. Program showed me, it’s that children are the future. Current students, and students-to-be. There is a power in investing in youth, and giving them the tools to not only lead themselves but others. This depiction of true wealth influenced my path after college.
Since my degree was science-based and studied the art of the human mind, I went on to apply that combination in the public health field as it too combines science and art in preventing disease. I utilized a lot of what I learned in CLA about the human mind and behavior during my time as a master’s student at Emory University. Due to my psychological background and desire to help everybody, I believed the best way to bring a change to the mental health stigma we all face today, was through the public health system.
Many of my studies in CLA fueled my view of psychology and public health as an interwoven fabric of cultural and educational threads. Sadly, not many individuals get the education they need surrounding mental health and emotional wellness, and that needs to change. They also do not get the education they need early enough. I decided that I want to be in a field that makes an impact on youth in improving emotional wellness and mental health outcomes.
I currently work as a child advocacy data and evaluation analyst. In this role, I work with others to create, review and refine child programs surrounding emotional wellness—specifically promoting emotional awareness, management of feelings, and coping skills in budding youth.
What advice would you give to prospective students?
When you pursue a liberal arts degree, you not only develop great communication skills, but you visualize concepts and the abstract better. You are able to consider the many factors that influence a certain problem, issue, or behavior. You begin to read between the lines of the world around you. The versatility and application of this education are endless. A CLA education will always be an integral part of who I am, and what I do.