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In February 2020, Dolapo Fadare became the inaugural recipient of the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Studies from The Sadie Collective in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Supplied)

‘There are no limits to what I can become,’ says new USask economics graduate

Dolapo Fadare will receive a bachelor’s degree (honours) in economics, with a minor in political studies, from the College of Arts and Science this month


By Shannon Boklaschuk

Dolapo Fadare says she feels “incredibly thankful to have the opportunity and privilege” to graduate from the University of Saskatchewan (USask) this fall.

“My parents instilled in me from a very young age that a university degree could open a world of various opportunities,” said Fadare, who will receive a bachelor’s degree (honours) in economics, with a minor in political studies, from USask’s College of Arts and Science this month.

Fadare was born in Lagos, Nigeria, in 1997 and moved to Regina, Sask., in 2007. She attended high school in the Queen City before enrolling at USask in 2015.

Fadare thrived throughout her undergraduate studies and inspired those around her. In February 2020, for example, she became the inaugural recipient of the Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Studies from The Sadie Collective in Washington, D.C. The Sadie Collective is a non-profit organization based in the United States whose mission is to increase the representation of Black women in economics and related fields.

In her award acceptance speech at the Second Annual Sadie T.M. Alexander Conference for Economics and Related Fields, Fadare thanked her parents and the communities that have supported her, including the Department of Economics in the College of Arts and Science.

“It was surreal, and I am extremely humbled,” she said of being honoured with the award. “My favourite part of the conference was to be amongst a community of young Black women that are utilizing economics to implement positive change in every sphere of society.”

Fadare has brought international perspectives to her studies at USask. In 2019, she spent the summer in Africa as a Queen Elizabeth Scholar and an intern at PricewaterhouseCoopers Nigeria working on sustainable development projects. In 2018, she was one of 15 Canadians awarded a Cansbridge Fellowship that helped her pursue an internship at a venture capital fund in Shanghai, China. She was also selected to be a visiting student at Peking University’s National School of Development, through the Canada-China Scholars’ Exchange Program, but the visit was cancelled due to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

“My time in China was very formative to my personal growth and development. It taught me how to adapt to a completely different environment, confront my insecurities and become more self-aware,” Fadare said. “As a student, my time in China exposed me to China’s critical and dynamic role in the global economy. I would unreservedly recommend for other students to partake in international travel when it is safe to do so again given COVID-19.”

As an undergraduate student, Fadare also held volunteer executive positions with groups including the African Students Association and the Economics Student Society at USask. She represented USask at Model UN conferences in Boston, Ottawa and Montreal, and attended the Mining & Agribusiness for Nigeria’s Prosperity Annual Economic Summit from Oct. 27 to Nov. 4, 2017, after receiving an invitation to attend from the president of the Global Economic Institute for Africa. Earlier this year, she was  selected to receive an RBC Future Launch Scholarship.

“I am completing my degree debt-free by strategically raising about $83,000—the costs of my academic and learning experiences—through scholarships and working,” said Fadare.

“There have been several people that have supported me on my journey; however, my parents have played the most crucial roles. They instilled in me the values of servitude, curiosity and perseverance,” she added.

“They sacrificed everything to migrate to Canada for myself and my siblings to have better opportunities. My mother created the first maternity clinic in our low-income neighbourhood in Nigeria with no prior business experience. Her sympathetic approach towards providing value to the larger society sparked in me a passion for sustainable development. My father, like several Black Canadians, has not been able to practice his profession as a civil engineer despite possessing a bachelor’s degree. Notwithstanding, he pursued work as a disability support worker and enrolled in multiple training programs. He’s reverently supported me in all of my pursuits and has taught me that there are no limits to what I can become.” 

Since moving back to Regina, Fadare joined the group Black in Sask (BIS), which she describes as “a new youth-led organization advocating for the holistic growth of the Black community in Saskatchewan by addressing systemic issues, connecting members to various networks and educating on Black experiences.”

“As part of my involvement in BIS, I investigated the impact of anti-Black racism on Saskatchewan's Black community in the job market, the operations of the Regina Police Service, and the justice system through public consultations and policy analysis,” she said. “I delivered presentations and reports to the mayor of Regina, the chief of police and the premier of Saskatchewan, which resulted in the Regina city council proposing and unanimously passing the creation of a diversity, equity and inclusion committee.”

Fadare plans to purse graduate studies after gaining work experience. Recently, she took on the role of business development and digital strategy manager at Outpost Health, a physician-led, global virtual health-care organization that started in Canada.

As a new alumna, Fadare has some advice for students who are just starting their educational journeys at USask. In particular, she encourages new students “to forge your own path in your studies.”

“If you are curious about specific aspects of your field, explore it diligently by seeking opportunities on and off campus. Share your interests with your professors; they are there to assist you to navigate both your academic and professional growth,” she said. “I would also highly recommend for students to utilize all the resources the university has for their academics, extracurricular activities and funding.”

Fadare said she chose to study economics to better understand the roles of the private and public sectors in implementing sustainable development in communities in Canada and globally. For her, the best part of being a student in the Department of Economics was “the tremendous support” she received from the faculty members there—from helping her to understand complex economics theory, to providing recommendation letters and advising her on career paths.

“I would not be who I am today without the constant support of my professors, who believed in me academically and professionally,” she said.

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