Folarin Kolawole


PhD researcher

Where are you from?

Currently based in

From Nigeria. I grew up in a town called Akure, located in Ondo State, southwest Nigeria.

United States

What is your educational background?

BSc Geology (2008, Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria); MS Geology (2017, Oklahoma State University,U.S.A.); PhD Geophysics (2020, University of Oklahoma, U.S.A.).

What is your current occupation?

Graduate Research and Teaching Assistant. My work integrates the geoscience fields of structural geology, Geophysics, and Geomechanics. My research is focused on unraveling the mechanics of how ancient faults are been ‘woken up’ in this present day, either by human activity (induced seismicity) or by far-field tectonics stresses. In addition to research, I teach undergraduate Structural Geology laboratory Sessions.

What (or who) got you into STEM?

Love for the natural outdoors.

What is the biggest challenge/barrier you have faced as an African in STEM?

My biggest challenge has been the common perception in the western world that Africans cannot do fundamental science and do not know math. This is even more challenging because of the lack of role models of African descent in my field.

How do you think your background/upbringing has been beneficial in your journey/career?

My mum was a high school teacher, and she taught my siblings that getting good education is the door out of poverty. The constant financial challenges my family faced while growing up in Nigeria gave me an endless source of motivation and grit to keep up a strong work ethic.

How do you think we can start to change the narrative surrounding African contributions to global STEM research & careers?

I think the outstanding scientific contributions of Africans to global science needs to be celebrated and shared to the broader global audience. It appears to me that, although Africans are contributing in various ways to globally significant and fundamental science,these achievements need to be given some 'loudspeaker'. This could be done in the form of an online scicomm magazine or audio and video interview/podcasts dedicated to Africans in STEM.

What advice would you like to give to young, aspiring African’s in STEM?

I will like to tell them that, although there may be only a few people like us in your field, you too can contribute to the advancement of global science. You have to keep trying to be better at what you do. Endeavour to get mentorship from people that can help you grow; and lastly, keep striving and persisting, until you succeed.

Do you have any project you're working on that you would like us to highlight?

Social media links

Twitter: @fracturedfola

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