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Find your Passion at the next Real Talk with Dr. Obidoa  

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Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa is contributing to Real Talk, a series in which faculty tell personal stories of navigating college.

Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa is contributing to Real Talk, a series in which faculty tell personal stories of navigating college.

Thais Ackerman

Thais Ackerman

Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa is contributing to Real Talk, a series in which faculty tell personal stories of navigating college.

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Chinekwu Obidoa is speaking about her own topic, “Finding Your Passion” on Feb. 27th at 8 p.m. as part of Mercer’s Real Talk series.

Speaking in the Innovation Center, Obidoa will be the fifth person to speak in the Real Talk series, which is aimed at helping normalize student challenges by using faculty and their stories.  

Hannah Vann, associate director of Research that Reaches Out, is one of the organizers of this series and helps select which professors to speak each session.

“We conduct focus groups of student leaders to decide over the summer to hear their ideas on who they think should speak,” Vann said.  

Vann and her collaborating partner, Student Success Counselor Emily Halstead, said they first created a basis of students leaders. Then the group of students decided on who they wanted to hear. To make sure other students’ opinions get heard, they send out surveys after each Real Talk to ask if there is anyone else the attendants wish to hear.

“It’s very thoughtful the way it’s planned out,” Vann said.

Vann said that her and Halstead’s vision for Real Talk started from wanting to help students engage each other and facility members.  

“Real Talk is about connection and hearing the experience and feeling someone else has had,” Halstead said. “The struggles, the triumphs, just that journey is something we can all relate to regardless of what your major is.”

Obidoa said that this Real Talk session focuses on passion, her own as well as other students’. She will also speak about her journey from Nigeria to the United States on her search for a higher education. She has a Bachelor’s degree in geography, three Master’s degrees in public health, international studies, and geography, respectively. She also holds a doctorate in public health.  

“People have to have a passion, a passion about life. We have to be watchful about the convenience of life,” Obidoa said.

Obidoa also said that her passion also revolves around research.

“Research has been what has made me, it is a part of my passion story,” Obidoa said. Vann mentioned how Obidoa’s story is a little different from previous Real Talk speakers.

“Hearing her story and the path she took and the lessons that she learned along the way provides some good insight into some strategies that our own students can use to help navigate some of the same challenges,” Vann said.

Vann said that students should take the opportunity to sit and listen to Obidoa because it is not often that we can talk to people, listen to their stories and take from it what we need to hear.   

“Everybody’s story matters. There’s always wisdom to be gleaned,” Vann said.

Obidoa has also spoken at Georgia Southwestern State University and she said she always makes a point to speak to her class at the beginning of every semester in order to encourage them.

“Everyone has been designed to fix a problem,” Obidoa said. “It’s about finding your cut.”

For her talk on the 27th, Obidoa said that passion is indispensable. She said that at the end of her talk, students will have learned what passion is, how to find their passion and what value it adds to their life.

Halstead said she wanted to remind students that Real Talk is not about being lectured.

“This (Real Talk) is not a lecture. This is a conversation,” Halstead said.  

Obidoa said she is looking forward to her talk and that she is “pumped.” She gave her final words of advice to students.

“Come with an open mind. Come ready to engage your life.”  

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Find your Passion at the next Real Talk with Dr. Obidoa