Published: 04 March 2016

Psychology graduate nominated for achievement award

A psychology graduate, once told she was unlikely to do well academically, has been nominated for the Young Achiever Award by Women for Africa whose aim is to celebrate and empower women from African countries.

Nigerian-born Kanayo Dike-Oduah teaches psychology to 16 to 19 year olds in an inner London Sixth Form while studying for a postgraduate in education. During her time at Surrey, Kanayo wrote an academic paper on mental illness following volunteer work at a mental institution in Beijing and has travelled to Ghana to teach and support young people.

She won the Black Youth Achievement Award in education in 2011 and was recognised as a Future Leader for 2014/15 which celebrates 100 of the UK’s most outstanding black students. Kanayo was awarded Surrey’s Internationalisation Award for the Faculty of Arts and Human Sciences at her graduation in 2015 for her international work.

Yet, it could have been very different for Kanayo. Growing up in a single-parent family in south London, she was told that children from her background did not achieve. Aged 14, Kanayo read about a theory called the ‘self-fulfilling prophesy’, where someone is given a label and, consequently, lives up to it. In her own words, she ‘decided to give herself the label of an achiever’.

Her nomination reads: “Kanayo is an all-round achiever in all areas of her life and her passion is to inspire others, to set goals and reach them, to aim high and do well.”

The awards ceremony will be held on 21 May on London. Good luck Kanayo!


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