U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) chemist Olufolasade Atoyebi, Ph.D., is The Department of the Navy (DoN) Historically Black Colleges and Universities/Minority Institution (HBCU/MI) Program’s inaugural Postdoctoral Research Fellow.
This program enables recent postdoctoral science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) graduates from HBCU/MIs to pursue challenging research problems that address the future needs of the Department of Defense.
“I am honored. The DoN-HBCU/MI Postdoctoral program is a terrific way to learn and collaborate on innovative research supporting the Navy, while receiving hand-in-glove mentorship from renowned senior researchers,” said Atoyebi, who currently works in NRL's Chemistry Division.
“The projects I’m working on at NRL are in developing or improving materials used on hypersonic vehicles, weaponry, on ships and submarines, anti-microbial dressings and other advanced biomaterials – helping to further the Navy’s mission of protecting and defending Sailors, Marines, and its allies interests," she said.
NRL HBCU/MI Director Paul Charles lauds Atoyebi as a “wonderful addition” to the program. “As the inaugural selection for the DoN HBCU/MI Postdoctoral research program, I am extremely proud of what she has accomplished so far as a professional. She is an excellent example of how diversity and inclusion can be an asset and a strength for any organization.”
Atoyebi earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry and a minor in Hispanic studies from Carnegie Mellon University (CMU) in 2012 and a doctorate in chemistry from Howard University in 2021.
Atoyebi credits her father and brother for her interest in pursuing a career in STEM. “My dad, Kayode Atoyebi, was a pharmacist and my brother, Jide Atoyebi, is a programmer [who] took a lot of chemistry, physics, and math classes,” she said. “So, when I was younger, there was a lot of science talk around the table or in the car, which I think is what sparked my curiosity and led me to this path … thank you!”
Through the program, Atoyebi has been inspired to highlight its benefits for the next generation of scientists through mentorship. When working with undergraduate or graduate researchers, Atoyebi tries to put herself in their shoes. “Once I have an idea of their background – educationally and personally – I try to teach or mentor from that perspective,” she said.
The DON HBCU/MI research program provides workshops and professional development modules, encourages teambuilding and networking, research and educational partnership with HBCU/MIs and more importantly contributes in building a strong, diverse future STEM workforce. Through continued support from the DON HBCU/MI program office, under the direction of Mr. Anthony C. Smith, Sr. the Post-Doctoral fellowship continues to blossom and advance S&T.
About the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory
NRL is a scientific and engineering command dedicated to research that drives innovative advances for the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps from the seafloor to space and in the information domain. NRL is located in Washington, D.C. with major field sites in Stennis Space Center, Mississippi; Key West, Florida; Monterey, California, and employs approximately 3,000 civilian scientists, engineers and support personnel.
For more information, contact NRL Corporate Communications at (202) 480-3746 or firstname.lastname@example.org