Young Scholar of the Month (February 2024)

Country of origin: Nigeria

February’s spotlight is on Samson Faboye as Academic Hive’s Young Scholar of the Month.

Samson is a chartered architect with the Architects’ Registration Council of Nigeria and a candidate architect with the South African Council for the Architectural Profession.

He holds a bachelor’s and master’s degree in architecture from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and a master of urban studies degree from the University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa.  He is currently completing a PhD in urban and regional planning at the University of Johannesburg.

Samson’s research interests cut across the built environment, heritage, urban policy, governance, and development planning.

His research endeavour seeks to contribute to conservation efforts for the built environment and develop a cross-sectional understanding of urban heritage, particularly along sociocultural lines. Additionally, his research niche seeks to identify and solve problems associated with urban governance, ensuring the administration of cities lives up to set local and international development agendas.

As a young African scholar, Samson has received many academic awards and achievements, such as

  • 2019 Queen Elizabeth Commonwealth Scholar
  • 2020 Digital Identity Fellowship from the Centre for Africa Affairs and Conflict Research
  • 2021 Open Africa Power Programme
  • 2022 Adam Smith Fellow at the Mercatus Center of the George Mason University
  • 2022 Edgelands Institute Fellow
  • 2023 Doctoral Dissertation Completion Next Generation Fellow (Social Science and Research Council).

In response to inquiries about his success in accessing numerous awards, particularly in light of the perception that Nigerians and Africans, in general, may face challenges in accessing international opportunities, he offered insights into the distinctive qualities of his applications and the factors that set them apart and make them stand out from others.

READ ALSO  AH Young Scholar of the Month of December 2020

‘’Access to information and the speed of accessing information are the keys. Thankfully, with the advent of social media, organisational pages such as Academic Hive and Opportunity Desk curate opportunities daily on their timelines. I follow these pages and many others like them, and they are my first go-to pages daily when surfing the internet. There is also my network of associates, which I have consciously built over time. A few ‘hidden opportunities’ I might not have otherwise come across have been recommended by my cherished network of associates’’.

‘’I would not want to go with the ‘outstanding acclaim’. There would always be better competing applications; it’s just that such persons probably did not get timely information to gun for the same opportunities I applied for. For every successful opportunity, there were plenty of rejections. Often, I record a success after multiple attempts. Essentially, one should identify the genre of opportunities sought and begin intentionally building experiences. When I started on this game, I would note the requirements of opportunities, intentionally build my capacity on the side (this is a continuous process), and attempt to apply. One should not be intimidated by the requirements of opportunities (you might even nick it at the first shot, being lucky you were not evaluated against stronger competitors). In another sense, even if one does not nick an opportunity at the first shot, you already have ready-made essays that you can build upon for the next try or some other opportunity. This is essential because the hunt is never-ending, aside from other personal endeavours. Sometimes, you get to see an opportunity very close to the deadline. Whether successful or unsuccessful, essay drafts from previous or unrelated attempts could be very handy and serve as a strong motivation to complete an application hours before a deadline. This gives the mantra ‘preparation meeting opportunity’ ‘’.

READ ALSO  AH Young Scholar of the Month of January 2021

Certainly, as an early-career scholar, navigating the academic landscape presents a set of distinctive challenges. What are the challenges Samson faced?

Motivation, yes, motivation against plenty of odds. Often, colleagues, lecturers, and even close associates do not see the bigger picture one is trying to achieve. It sometimes dampens when one seeks support from a supposed ‘career ally’ only to be disparaged. Coming from a third-world country, one has to amplify efforts and be more dogged at endeavours than counterparts from first-world or middle-income countries. This manifests in visa applications, access to sponsorship, grants, etc.

Reflecting on his experience as an African in the diaspora, he shared observations about the culture shocks he encountered during his journey. In navigating these cultural disparities, he described the strategies employed to overcome challenges and adapt to new environments.

”I am very open-minded and curious to read about other cultures, so I already know what to expect when encountering other cultures. Regardless, I could be conservative in some personal aspects, like food. I have a phobia of indulging in junk food, which the fast food culture brings. And then my taste buds are very Nigerian/West African (chuckles), so I like to recreate home cuisine (rice, beans, doughs, and soups). I patronise West African stores as a norm. Above all, respecting people’s choices and sociocultural norms is important. While some foreign norms could be perceived as vices, there is much to learn from other cultures regarding music, dance, food, dressing, and other norms. I would advise open-mindedness and a willingness to blend while sometimes bringing your home flavour into the mix”.

READ ALSO  AH Young Scholar of the Month of September 2020

May we always find the motivation to be persistent in what we do despite the odds.

You can reach Samson @:

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