Abosede and Navia: GAs for The Kalamazoo Promise

Abosede and Navia

"I love the sense of community I feel in my master’s program. It feels like our professors truly care and want us all to succeed."

Multicultural Affairs for Students at WMU

Multicultural Affairs for Students helps students identify their unique purpose and potential by providing them with opportunities to discover and develop talents and interests. We strive to create an environment that enables them to grow and thrive intellectually, culturally, professionally and personally throughout their college experience. We foster community involvement and promote a campus climate that respects and appreciates the history, culture and traditions of all students. 

Visit the Multicultural Affairs for Students website to learn more. 


Abosede Odukoya, educational leadership

  • What is your role as a Kalamazoo Promise GA?

    My role is to support Kalamazoo Promise scholars in terms of researching best practices and implementing strategies to increase the persistence and retention of future KPS students. Also, I assist the current scholars set personal goals, success plans and in locating resources. My office ensures holistic support for Kalamazoo Promise students with acclimation, sense of belonging, and thriving at WMU.

  • What brought you from Nigeria to WMU?

    After working for several years, I decided to advance my degree in education. I was fascinated by the fact that Western Michigan University’s College of Education and Human Development is famous for being one of the iconic teachers and school administrators institute in the United States. Therefore, I chose WMU. Also, I love Kalamazoo! The town it is a mixture of big city energy and a smalltown charm.

  • As an international student, what kinds of support systems have you found?

    The most helpful and important support system I found here at WMU are my academic advisors. I am lucky to have two advisors, and both are amazing! They connected me with people at WMU and beyond. This really helped me in my acclimatization to WMU and the community in general.

  • What has your experience with faculty been like?

    The faculty here are really nice and caring. They listen when you have questions or queries, and they are willing to help as much as possible. 

  • What are your career goals?

    My career goal is to be a leader who can assess problems and design solutions that will guide education into the future. After graduation, I am looking forward to practicing the skills and competencies I’ve acquired in graduate school and working as an intern. I would love to work in higher education or a non-for-profit organization.

  • Is there anything that you learned in your program that has stuck with you?

    One of the things that stuck with in me in the program is knowing and being able to articulate the skills and competencies I would need for my future professional career in educational leadership and globalization

Navia Walker, counselor education (B.S. '21, family science)

  • What is your role as a Kalamazoo Promise GA?

    In my role as the Kalamazoo Promise graduate assistant, I help students create personalized success plans and answer any questions they have regarding financial aid and their scholarship. Outside of my direct contact with students, I have spent an ample amount of time researching high-impact practices and strategies to increase the persistence and retention of Kalamazoo Promise scholars. We also assist students with acclimation and strengthening their sense of belonging to WMU!

  • How did being a Kalamazoo Promise recipient affect your journey to WMU?

    I've known since the 4th grade that I would have the opportunity to attend college at no cost. With free college on the table, I’ve always felt a sort of unspoken pressure or expectation to attend college. While I knew I had this amazing opportunity, I wasn’t always sure that I was going to actually go to college. My grandfather was pretty adamant that I go, and without his support and encouragement, I can’t say I would’ve gone. Being a Kalamazoo native who was unsure about college, I knew that staying local at WMU would be a good fit for me to test the waters. After completion of my first year, I decided to stay and finish my degree at WMU.

  • What has your experience been with faculty and support systems at WMU?

    My experience with faculty in both undergrad and my masters has been positive. I would say I have been closer with the faculty in my masters just because we’re split off into specific sections and focuses- so I’ve worked with some professors more closely than others.

    I would say that the biggest support systems during my time in undergrad came from my academic advisor and from the professors within the family science department. Now, within my counselor education program, I would say the biggest support system comes from our professors and from my peers in the program. Being a full-time master’s student is not for everyone, so to be surrounded by people who are enduring similar challenges as me and understand how difficult it is has been really comforting. 

  • What are your career goals?

    I am a counselor education student with a focus in marriage and family therapy. That said, my career goals include getting into the field and practicing! I am still incredibly interested in working with individuals. Additionally, I have a large interest in working with people of color and members of the LGBTQIA+ community.

  • Is there anything that you learned in your program that has stuck with you?

    Something that I’ve learned that has really stuck with me over time is something I’ve learned in my master’s program. We as therapists must accept whoever walks into our door (obviously unless they were dangerous). We can’t turn anyone away based on their race, gender, sexual identity, religion (or lack of), socioeconomic status, etc. Our clients will show up being their most authentic selves, and it is our job to check our own biases, negative thoughts, or judgements at the door. Our clients are the experts of their own lives. Clients may enter the room thinking they have everything to learn from the therapist, and nothing to teach. However, we have everything to learn from them about their lived experiences. I think if people in this world practiced listening more, they’d realize how much they could learn from the person next to them.

  • What do you love about your counselor education program?

    I love the sense of community I feel in my master’s program. It feels like our professors truly care and want us all to succeed. Also, feeling the sense of community and support from my peers has been incredible.

The Kalamazoo Promise

The Kalamazoo Promise provides an unparalleled opportunity to engage and energize the Kalamazoo community in building a world class educational environment in the Kalamazoo area. Western Michigan University is committed to playing a valuable role in making that happen. WMU’s commitment involves efforts to ensure the success of the Promise scholarship students at WMU and involvement in other programs and projects pertaining to the Kalamazoo School District youth both in the schools and in the community.

Visit the Kalamazoo Promise website to learn more. 


About their programs and concentrations

  • Counselor education (marriage, couple and family counseling)

    Prepares graduate students to work with the contemporary issues facing couples and families with an emphasis on a family systems approach to conceptualization and treatment.

    Learn more

  • Educational leadership (educational and global leadership)

    Designed for graduate students who wish to develop and enhance their leadership knowledge and skills within educational or other cultural organizations that have an international dimension.

    Learn more

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