Fulbright Teacher Exchange alumna Adeola Adefemi of Nigeria is a spokesperson for underserved populations in her community. Fueled by a passion to uplift girls, Adeola recently won the 2023 African Union Continental Best Teacher Award in recognition of her achievements beyond the classroom. She will represent educators transforming education and bridging skills gaps at the European Union’s Global Gateway High-Level Education Event in April 2024. 

Adeola participated in a Fulbright Teacher Exchange at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell in 2021. She focused on gender issues and said, “I realized there were different ways to solve problems. I saw things in different ways during Fulbright and that really motivated me.”  

After returning to Nigeria, Adeola channeled her passion for gender equity into the Girls Allowed Club, which stemmed from witnessing gaps in female and male attendance at school. Girls Allowed created a safe space for female students to speak with a counselor. It also provided resources for a radio station and gave female students a platform to speak on issues important to them. As a result, attendance rates at Adeola’s school improved. 

Adeola also recognized gaps in workforce readiness and started the Secure Your Future Club. This initiative searched for scholarship opportunities for high-achieving students. For students struggling academically, Adeola collaborated with local businesses to establish a skills center for youth. Students visit the skills center to receive training in trades, such as cosmetology. 

In addition, for the Every Child Counts Club, Adeola collaborated with a special education teacher to provide resources for students with special needs and boosted their performance in school. She is currently working on creating a fully equipped lab to ignite teaching and learning for students of all abilities. 

Playing a vital role in bridging gaps in her community, Adeola says, “For every place, I want to know the problem, because I can’t use yesterday’s solution for today’s problem.”

Adeola Adefemi is an alum of the Fulbright Teaching Excellence and Achievement Program 2021, Nigeria to the United States.