Our Students

A focus on diversity is helping one student broaden his perspectives

Olayi Oyekanmi is gaining a deeper appreciation of people and finding ways to help others through opportunities in the College of Health and Human development and at Penn State.

A Kinesiology major in the Movement Science option, Olayi is interested in learning about human movement and how he can help people. His core group of Kinesiology classes focusing on anatomy and physiology are not only helping to prepare him for a career in health care, but they are giving him practical knowledge. “It makes me feel good when I can relate what I learn in class to real life,” he says.

Olayi will be taking advantage of one of the many undergraduate research opportunities in the College of Health and Human Development. He’ll be working in the Biomechanics lab with Dr. Jinger Gottschall, assistant professor, looking at gaits and human movement using cutting-edge technology such as Gottschall’s custom-designed dual-force treadmill.

The dedication of the faculty of the Department of Kinesiology is helping Olayi achieve his academic goals. He says that the professors he has met “have given themselves” to getting to know their students and helping their students succeed.

At Penn State, Olayi is a part of many clubs that focus on promoting different cultures. He is a part of the African Students Association, the Caribbean Student Association, Club Kreyol, and the Student Minority Advisory and Recruitment Team (SMART). In Club Kreyol, he took part in an initiative to raise funds to help Haiti rebuild after being hit by the 2009 earthquake. He says that through his involvement in clubs and other opportunities at Penn State have helped him build his own identity and become more open minded. “I try to dedicate as much time as possible to these clubs,” he says. “It’s a lot of fun, and they support some great causes.”

After he graduates, Olayi plans on applying to physical therapy school. “I want to help people by preventing and rehabilitating injuries,” he says. Kinesiology and the other opportunities he is taking advantage of at Penn State are giving him excellent preparation for this.

“I love Penn State. I’ve seen a lot and I’ve grown a lot just by being here,” he says. “I never knew what school spirit was until I came here.”