2023 Student Section: Etinosa Oliogu

Statement of Intent
I am applying for the Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Executive position, which is not something I believed I would say just eight months ago. For a long time, I strayed away from the positions and responsibilities I believed were only relevant to me because of the colour of my skin. I believed they summarized me and indirectly said that my cultural perspective was all I had to offer. During my first year of graduate school, I realized how naive that thinking was. I struggled with the unique manifestations and interaction of institutional racism and imposter syndrome that left me feeling defeated. While I felt welcome, I felt uncomfortable. The environment was not always conducive to my learning and growth. This was unsurprising because very few people that looked like me or had similar lived experiences had occupied this space before, so how could issues be identified or addressed? This is why I want to hold this position. The higher I go in my education, the fewer people look like me. I want to see this change, so I feel a sense of responsibility to prepare a table for those coming after me, so they may not have to experience the same hardships I did. I also want them to be encouraged to continue to create a just, equitable, diverse, and inclusive environment for those that come after them too. Looking back, I believe my opposition to a position like this was rooted in insecurity and feeling like I would be playing into stereotypes. I now realize that having beliefs like that alone is part of the problem that needs to be addressed, and who better to contribute to that change than someone with lived experiences in a position like this one?
Etinosa is a first-year Master’s student in Clinical Psychology at the University of Toronto (UofT). Her research is focused on the associations between cognition, dimensional psychopathology, and suicide lethality. She aims to contribute to the growing efforts around suicide prevention and treatment. She completed her Honours BSc in Mental Health Studies at UofT as well in 2022. She aspires to be a Clinical Neuropsychologist and Professor one day. Her passion projects are currently related to applying her research knowledge to topics relevant to the Black community in ways that will help break down barriers and create inclusive pathways to post-secondary education. She believes in using expertise for advocacy, starting meaningful mentorships young, and the power of representation on self-efficacy. She is always looking for opportunities to network and collaborate with other students, faculty, organizations, and institutions to host events and initiatives that subscribe to an Equity, Diversity, and Inclusivity Framework to promote her own self-growth and facilitate the same for others. In her free time, Etinosa enjoys learning new languages and making music.