Student Spotlight: Ayowole Samuel Ajiboye

Ayowole Ajiboye headshot from TVUC with CMA in background

Class Year: May 2025

Degree Program: MSW On-Campus

Concentration: Community Practice for Social Change

Hometown: Nigeria

Field Education Organization: Environmental Health Watch in Cleveland, Ohio

Before beginning at Case Western Reserve University, what were you doing?

Back in Nigeria after my first degree in applied economics, I was a volunteer Knowledge Development Facilitator with the United Nations for Sustainable Development Goals. I started volunteering with the Greater Cleveland Food Bank on my arrival in Cleveland before beginning at CWRU.

Why did you choose CWRU/the Mandel School?

CWRU is a well-respected school nationally and internationally and the Mandel School is the best fit for my social work journey, ranking first in Ohio and ninth position nationally, according to U.S News and World Report.

Describe your field education practicum experience and any work/projects you have done.

At Environmental Health Watch (EHW) I have the opportunity to apply theoretical knowledge to a real-world setting focused on addressing lead exposure and its associated risks. I have been able to develop my communication, critical thinking and reflection skills as I engage with homeowners, tenants and collaborative agencies. I have been able to contribute to data collection efforts, analyzing information related to lead safe certification awareness/compliance among tenants and rental homeowners while identifying high-risk areas.

What are you doing in field that you’re planning to bring with you into your career?

Collaboration is a big part of the work at EHW and I would love to bring that into my career. Also, teamwork—recognizing that each person has an area of strength and an area of growth that we can always use to work to complement each other. Lastly, empathy is key, as I put myself in the shoes of the population that we serve. 

What is something you have learned during your practicum that you have found to be the most helpful in your social work journey?

I have learned the practice of self-care, which helps to maintain total well-being and prevent burnout, because the social work profession can be very demanding.

Who is someone you met during your field education that will change the way you practice?

Ayowole Ajiboye selfie with Mayor Justin Bibb

We went out for the annual Cleveland Lead Walk to create awareness about lead poisoning on a rainy day and right there, I met Cleveland Mayor Justin Bibb! He inspired me with his leadership style to meet the people where they are no matter what. I reflected on it and concluded that leadership is not just about knowing or showing the way, but also walking the way.

Describe any extracurricular activities you're involved with on- or off-campus.

I am the graduate assistant for the Physical Resource Center (PRC). I run the PRC to meet undergraduate, graduate and professional students' basic needs in terms of food and clothing. Check us out in Carlton Commons and get some free stuff!

What are you most looking forward to this semester?

Balancing adjustment, learning and relearning.

Ayowole Ajiboye in front of Mandel School Change Agent blackboard sign

What do you hope to do with your degree?

Transform communities through programs, policies and projects as a change agent.

What is your favorite thing about CWRU/the Mandel School?

There is a great citadel of learning rich in culture and diversity here.

What is your favorite thing about Cleveland?

Cleveland is a home away from home. The people here are caring and hospitable.