Mohammed Awojobi is a Ph.D. student and teaching assistant at the University of Delaware in the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration. His career path is within sustainability with a focus on energy efficiency, policy analysis, and environmental governance. From early on Mohammed recognized the growing need for solutions to reduce the environmental implications caused by energy expansion, especially oil and gas exploration, in his home country. He grew up in Nigeria, and explains that electricity was not reliable and blackouts were frequent. Mohammed hoped for a change to his country’s energy use and the subsequent role of the renewable energy sector. For these reasons he decided to pursue a career in sustainable energy and contribute to methods of economic development that secure a modern society with sustainable foundations in energy development.
In the just-completed Spring semester, Mohammed taught a class in Sustainable Energy Economics and Policy Analysis while balancing the pros and cons of working under new social distancing procedures. Mohammed had faced pre-pandemic challenges with his undergraduate students who he explains were already resistant to participating in class discussions, and that distant learning had exacerbated this. He implemented asking questions to individual students instead of posing questions to the class as a way of addressing the challenge. Additionally, to ensure and encourage that students were staying up to date with the class material in spite of the new distractions that accompany at-home learning, Mohammed added weekly quizzes to the assignment requirement of the class. Zoom meetings have also posed new challenges to teaching as he recently had to introduce an economic development impact assessment tool virtually that ideally requires the student to be able to visualize the data sources and the model at the same time. On a personal note, Mohammed has welcomed the switch to online learning as he has enjoyed not having to make his daily commute that required him to wake up extra early; it’s safe to say he’s not a morning person.
Mohammed was introduced to the Interdisciplinary Environmental Association through his mentor, and current IEA President Dr. Kalim Shah. Dr. Shah is an Assistant Professor of Energy and Environmental Policy at the Biden School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Delaware. Under the mentorship of Dr. Shah, Mohammed has been involved in a number of projects like a publication on the vulnerability of Trinidad and Tobago to climate change, a report assessing the education and training of environmental professionals in some Island States, analysis of the environmental governance approach in Central Asia, and a lead role in the planning last years 25th International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment (IICE).
His first attendance at the IICE was last year in San Juan Puerto Rico where he presented on the Qualitative Assessment of Sustainable Global Energy Transition Models in the Context of Emerging and Developing Economies. Mohammed notes that unlike other academic conferences that he has attended, the IICE creates the right atmosphere for quality feedback and that its small group of professionals provides the ideal opportunity to network and engage with all attendees. Some of Mohammed’s cherished memories of the conference are the presentation on the relationship between spirituality and environmentalism from the Indigenous Taino tribe perspective and exploring the sights and sounds of San Juan with fellow attendees - Olivia, Riley, and Dr. Aspman-Ocallaghan. Mohammed feels at place in the IEA as he believes the association has provided him with a pool of opportunities to create professional relationships and collaborate with individuals from diverse academic backgrounds who have similar perspectives to using an interdisciplinary approach to address the world's complex environmental issues.
Mohammed has a Bachelor of Science in Environmental Science and a Master Degree in Environmental Management, both have aided his passion for conservation and interests in contributing to a society in which its economic development is in sync with the earth’s carrying capacity. With that said, Mohammed’s top focus lays within sustainability and working with sustainable energy policies to improve current law and enforce stronger sustainable practices in the areas of conservation, energy efficiency, and renewable energy development. When asked where he sees himself in ten years, Mohammed responded with “Managing my own energy efficiency consulting firm while teaching a class on sustainable energy economics and policy analysis at a university”. His ambitions render on the expression “you miss 100% of the shots that you don't take”. That said, some of Mohammed’s achievements include the organization of one of the biggest events at the University of Delaware to celebrate and educate members of the community on EarthDay 2019, being nominated and accepting the role of the Academic Chair of the Energy and Environmental Policy Student Association at University of Delaware after just a semester in the program, and being a member of two honor societies for academic excellence and leadership, all of which have been completed with the humble aspiration of making his mother proud.
Mohammed was looking forward to attending and presenting at this year’s IICE but understands the reasons for canceling the conference - the COVID-19 pandemic. However, he is already looking forward to attending the 2021 conference.