Elizabeth Oluokun ’18: Knack for managing projects leads to leadership
Elizabeth Oluokun ’18 likes to make big plans and to help others. In November, she did both through Bryant’s “Rally for Reason.” In the wake of the divisive presidential election, the rally, arranged by Oluokun and Liam Rice ’17, was a nonpartisan and inclusive celebration of love, unity, and respect for one another.
“Organizing the rally is one of the things I’m most proud of,” Oluokun says, “because I think it’s made the biggest impact on campus. Everyone showed up, faculty, staff, students – everyone.”
The people she met at the Scholarship Dinner "seemed so ambitious. ... I wanted that to be me.”
Learning to lead and inspire
On her first visit to Bryant, Oluokun quickly came to realize that the University could prepare her to make a difference. “I remember attending Bryant’s Scholarship Dinner" for incoming students,” she says. “The speaker told us about all the things she had done and all the opportunities Bryant had presented her. I wanted to be her. I wanted to do everything she had done.”
“Everyone around me just seemed so ambitious,” she says. “The people who sat with me at the dinner knew what they wanted to do and how to get there. I wanted that to be me.”
Oluokun came to Bryant knowing she would pursue a Communication major. “I like to speak, I like to write,” she says. “I’ve heard speeches made by really great speakers that have changed my life, and I want to be one of them.”
She found a mentor in Susan Baran, with whom she’s taken several classes, including Mass Communications, which helped Oluokun understand the modern media industry and factors that have shaped it, and Media Literacy.
“Professor Baran is amazing,” says Oluokun. “She helps me take my passion and figure out how to make it into a career.”
Halfway through her first year, Oluokun realized that she also had a knack for managing projects and leading others. “I like being able to plan things and I like being able to take the high-level view,” she says. Oluokun, who is originally from Nigeria, decided that a concentration in Management would help her achieve her goal of running a financial literacy company for immigrants and their families.
“I hope to one day be able to aid other families like my own so that they have a smooth financial transition to America,” she says.
Bringing people together
A proven leader on campus, Oluokun brings her drive to endeavors ranging from helping first-year students find their footing, to organizing shows, to social justice. In 2015, she organized Bryant’s annual i2i culture and dance show, selecting the theme “Freedom at its finest.” Her impressive resume includes serving as a Resident Assistant, a Change Facilitator for Bryant’s Linked through Leadership program, and the Head Orientation Coordinator for the Class of 2021.
“I like being involved in a lot of things,” she says. “I’ve learned so much about myself and grown so much as an individual. The things I’m doing at Bryant are helping me become a better leader.”
The “Rally for Reason” combined her management skills with her passion for speaking. Students at the event shared their vision of the world they wanted to live in as well as how they planned to show positivity toward each other and the community. Oluokun read a poem she had written for the rally.
“We wanted everyone to know that their voice matters,” she says. “We wanted to support and celebrate Bryant’s diverse population.”
Reflecting on the experience reminds Oluokun why she chose Bryant. “I have a great group of friends here,” she says. “People genuinely want to help you and everyone here is extremely empathetic. If you’re looking for a family who will always support you, Bryant University is the place for you.”