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Washington State University
Dividend - Fall 2021 Graduate Education

Despite Pandemic Challenges, Doctoral Student Oluseyi Elliott Makes a Difference for Others

By Eric Hollenbeck • Photo by WSU Photo Services

The first year of graduate school often comes with many changes. Typically, it includes moving hundreds, if not thousands, of miles away from home, making new friends, and settling into a new environment. But, as many have experienced, the past year and a half has been anything but typical—something second-year doctoral student Oluseyi Elliott found out when he first moved to Pullman.

Despite the challenges of starting a PhD program in the midst of a pandemic, Elliot remains determined to engage in the WSU graduate community through leadership and service to others.

This fall, Elliott started his first term as a WSU Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) senator. He aims to advocate for graduate students and be a steward of the Carson College and the management, information systems, and entrepreneurship program.

“I love meeting and talking with students from all around the world and want to use my position as a GPSA senator to connect with other graduate students and welcome them into the community,” he says.

For anyone who’s met Elliott, it’s no surprise how eager he is to be involved in the WSU community as a whole. While at the University of Illinois Springfield (UIS), where he earned his master’s degree in information systems (IS), he was an international student senator in the UIS Student Government Association, treasurer and live group leader with the University Bible Fellowship, and a member of the African Student Association and the Christian Student Fellowship.

WSU’S Personal Touch and Research Reputation the Right Fit

A self-described “people person,” Elliott admits he’s felt overwhelmed at times during the past year, mostly because he has not been able to interact with his professors and peers face-to-face, something he craves. Still, even with the challenges of working remotely, he says he had professors go above and beyond to provide guidance and motivation along the way.

“My first year in the program was a bit of a challenge,” says Elliott, “but I received valuable advice from professors Robert Crossler and Richard Johnson, which helped me ease some of my feelings of worry.”

It’s that kind of personal touch that reaffirms he made the right choice in pursuing his doctorate at WSU and drives his commitment to doing whatever he can to make others feel welcomed.

As he looks toward his future in the program, Elliott says WSU is the best fit for him because research published by Carson College faculty aligns with both his academic and career aspirations. “I love information systems, and I love people,” he says. “I’m drawn to the management side of IS because it’s about working with others to find solutions.”

“My dream is to one day become a thought leader in my field and perhaps return to my home country of Nigeria and use what I have learned to make the world a better place,” he says.