Eniola Afolayan

Biography Paragraphs

Eniola Afolayan is a 4th year PhD candidate in the Department of Anthropology at the University’s Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Her dissertation research examines how Christian and Muslim civil servants use heritage discourse to balance their religious and professional commitments and how this fosters a distinctive form of religious collaboration and coexistence.

Eniola completed PhD Plus Career Design skills series. She was a PhD Plus intern at the Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, a unit of the University’s Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service in summer 2021, under the mentorship of Lawrence Roberts.

Q. What are your post-PhD career aspirations?

A. I am interested in a career in either higher education, international education, or diplomacy.

Q. Please summarize your PhD Plus internship

A. I applied for the PhD+ internship because I wanted to expand my skills by experiencing activities beyond research work. As an intern at the Sorensen Institute for Political leadership. I assisted in development of fundraising activities, planning for upcoming events, researching and discovering potential funding sources and assisting in the preparation of foundation grant applications. I really enjoyed learning from my supervisor and Director of Sorensen Institute, Larry Roberts on how to be an effective leader.

Q. What professional skills did you develop during your internship?

A. I learned how to be an effective leader and program facilitator. For example, during my internship, I got to sit in on the Sorensen Institute’s 22nd Century Scholars program for UVA undergraduates who are interested in working in the public sector. This year, the program’s theme was focused on the issue of transportation in Virginia. For about three weeks, I watched Larry facilitate conversations between 25+ transportation experts in the commonwealth of Virginia and college students. I found his facilitation skills admirable; the way he kept the conversation going while being cognizant of time and making sure students were able to pose questions to experts about something that piqued their interest. Even when the energy was a bit low, Larry came prepared with his own challenging questions for experts to keep the conversation alive.

Q. How did the internship support your career development?

A. The internship experience demonstrated how skills that I am developing through my PhD program are useful in diverse kinds of work, including those outside of higher education. I have also learned how  small organizations come together and the importance of funding for such organizations.

Q. What advice would you give peers on utilizing PhD Plus internships for career development?

A. I would recommend my peers to make use of the opportunity; the experience helps to broaden and expand on the current skill sets that we are developing in our PhD programs and teaches us  how they can be used outside of higher education.

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