Shadé Osifuye2015 Rising Alumni

Shadé Osifuye photo

Shadé Osifuye’s life is dedicated to serving others by applying a rich combination of education and public health within highly diverse populations. Shade’ has spent nine months out of the last two years teaching and conducting research in a disabled children’s center in Nairobi, Kenya. In the center, she worked on the implementation of an inclusive classroom environment where students with physical disabilities become more visible and instructors, administrators, and students without physical disabilities have an opportunity to learn and grow from these students’ perspectives and narratives. Working as an academic advisor within the McNair Program, the students she advises go through intensive academic preparation including working with faculty mentors to explore complex problems through applied scholarship.


TRIO McNair Academic Advisor
University of Minnesota TRIO McNair Scholars Program

What professor(s) or course(s) were most influential during your time in the College of Education & Human Development (CEHD)?

I have had a a few professors that were most influential during my time in CEHD, but my graduate school advisor, Dr. Jeanne Higbee stands out. She was such a positive, encouraging, and supportive person in my life. When I was not proud of myself, she was proud of me. When I was hard on myself, she reminded me to be gentle with myself. And when I doubted myself, she believed in me.

What gets you excited about work?

The students. I have learned along the way that many experiences incorporate a balance between challenge and support. Challenge and support does not imply that the student will never experience failure or negative consequences, it means that when failure or disappointments do arise, there will be individuals in place to support the student as they learn from the experience. The the support comes from encouragement advisors give to their students to keep trying, don’t give up and ask for help. I believe that I do this for my students and it excites me to see them succeed and gain the confidence and see their potential.

What skills are important to succeed as an emerging professional today?

Empathy, compassion, positivity, motivation, determination, persistence, and constantly challenge systems set in place to separate and segregate human beings, and a self-reflective nature.

What was the impact and benefit of your educational experience in CEHD?

I successfully integrated my international research into my educational experience by partaking in innovative research opportunities that meets social action and celebrates the human experience in the context of disability and diversity, which will have a profound impact on my academic goals. I was able to engage in rich, thoughtful, and powerful conversations with students and staff discussing ways to integrate education, technology, advocacy, and activism to increase inclusive spaces for all. Lastly, I gained an opportunity to help advocate that human beings must strive to create a culture where disability is viewed as an aspect of diversity and bring more people, regardless of their disability status into the discussion, so that we may expand the possibilities that issues of disability will become less “taboo” locally and globally.

If you could have coffee with anyone from history, who would it be?

Wangari Maathai was an incredibly amazing woman that I would have loved to sit with, talk with, and laugh with for days. One of my favorite quotes from her is "Each of us can make a difference, and together accomplish what might seem impossible."

What's a good book you'd recommend to others?

Wangari Maathai's book "Unbowed."