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Student Spotlight: Smart Chukwuma Amaefula


Introduce Yourself 

My name is Smart Chukwuma Amaefula and I am from Nigeria. I live in Athens, Ohio. I did my undergraduate program at University of Nigeria, Nsukka in Enugu State, Nigeria and I majored in Geography. 

Why did you choose the Voinovich School and the MSES program?  

Before I came to Ohio University, I had a nine-year career that focused on environmental sustainability and policy support for the regional and federal governments of Nigeria and the business community. When I needed to further my education, I was looking for universities that offered an environmental studies program that allowed me to expand my interest in science beyond the lab. Ohio University stood out for me, offering the exact path I wanted with its interdisciplinary nature that allowed me to choose my area of core competence and interests.  

Tell us a little about your area of research or project work you have conducted in your program and what you have learned. 

I am interested in how alternative energy such as renewable energy and clean energy will revolutionize the energy system of developing economies and I am focusing my research on international development assistance and catalyzing renewable energy access in Nigeria. This research will examine how the climate funding promises and pledges by the international community are helping to provide clean energy access to Nigeria and how Nigeria is utilizing such funds to advance clean energy. I am also studying how Ohio University can prioritize the use of electric vehicles (EVs) to support the existing transport system in OHIO to make the university and Athens’ community more sustainable.  

What is the best leadership advice you have been given? 

The best leadership lesson I have learned has been from observing the humility of the faculty members I have met at Ohio University. No greater attributes of leadership can surpass humility in leadership and service. I have seen this from Ohio University’s professors and staff who have taught me this. 

What has been your favorite class? 

My favorite class was Environmental Science and Public Policy. It made me understand how I can use environmental science issues to form stimulating opinions for policy making. 

What are your future career goals? 

I want to carry out a career as a climate change expert. Whether I am in the public sector working in a government job or go into academics, the future will tell.