Student Spotlight: Fodie Koita C’21

Fodie Koita C’21

What attracted you to Drew? 

I was born in Mali, moved to Nigeria, and then came to Philadelphia with my family when I was 6 years old. I wanted to go to college out of state and I was attracted to Drew’s small classes, and the opportunity to form close relationships with professors.

Did you know what you wanted to major in when you started at Drew?

Originally I wanted to double major in psychology and political science, but even though I learned a lot from the great professors in the political science department, including Dr. Philip Mundo, I felt psychology was a better fit for my career goals.  Psychology has helped me to understand myself and others better, including my own family members. I think that human connection and commonality are the most important things in life other than love.

Have you done any internships?

I haven’t done an official internship but I was a camp counselor at Pine Forest Camp in Pennsylvania for an entire summer and not only was it a great experience but it helped me decide what I wanted to do with my career.  One thing I learned was that even though you’re uncomfortable in a situation you can find your own space within any community. It’s always good to step outside of your comfort zone.  I learned the most from working with the children (there are 600 in this camp.) I think as a society we undervalue children’s intelligence and imagination; we can learn so much from them.  This camp counseling experience helped me realize I want to pursue psychology and work with children and adolescents.

Do you have any mentors at Drew?  

I consider my core set of friends as mentors. I really value them because they motivate me to have faith in myself and my abilities. No one should ever walk this world alone. Another mentor is Dr. Patrick Dolan in the psychology department.  He has been there for me since my freshman year providing advice, letters of recommendation, etc.  I really appreciate his generosity. Another great mentor in the psychology department is Dr. Jill Cermele, who is a terrific professor and also provides great advice, including help with researching grad school programs.  She’s always honest, helpful, and straightforward.  I can name more professors but to sum it up, all of the psychology professors are terrific individuals and teachers.

What issue in the world means the most to you?

One issue that is important to me is the mental health of minority communities, especially immigrants.  Another issue is the situation in Yemen, Palestine, and China with the Uyghurs. I cannot understand seeing people in trouble but then not doing anything to help them, only adding to the turmoil, especially as those with global influence stand by and let it continue.

What are a few highlights of your time at Drew?  

My time at Drew was made better because of the core group of friends I formed my freshmen year.  Also, getting to know fellow peer and student, Sarah Foster, has made my time here infinitely better. She will do wonders in this world, especially in the medical field. The time I spent with her and my friends is where I began to understand the true meaning of love.

What advice would you give students who are just starting out?

College gives you an opportunity for a whole new restart. If you were introverted in high school you can be the opposite in college. My advice is to take this opportunity to form the person you want to be, not who your parents want you to be or anyone else. Another bit of advice I would give students is to talk to your professors. They are here to help you. Many professors have told me that helping students is what they enjoy the most about their job. So to sum it up, be whoever you want to be, even when it’s uncomfortable, and never be afraid to ask professors for assistance or guidance.

What are your career goals? Where do you hope to be in 5 years? 

I plan to go to grad school and hope to be a clinical psychologist counseling children and adolescents, with a focus on helping minorities and immigrants.

Are there any fun facts you would like to share? 

I have an addiction to ice cream. I can never have one serving. My favorite flavor is vanilla chocolate chip cheesecake at McCools Ice Cream in Madison.

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