KASA offers networking opportunities for students

Aaron Kinney

College students in professional programs often hear the adage, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”

The Kent African Student Association intends to speed up the networking process with its “A Networking Affair” event at 8 p.m. tonight in Room 214 of Oscar Ritchie Hall.

Six African and African-American speakers from the medicine, education, business, journalism and political science fields will shed light on their respective professions.

After speaking individually, the speakers will engage students directly in a Q-and-A session before mingling with the students for the remainder of the event.

Tristian Holmes, KASA president and junior business management major, said the event came about as a necessity to foster interaction between students and professionals for a mutually beneficial relationship.

“Our motivation was to give students from different majors, specifically the ones that Kent State is known for, a chance to … get their foot in the door,” Holmes said.

Deyeatee Morris, KASA’s programmer and senior international relations major, provided information on the speakers for the following bios.

Medicine: Emmanuel Okafor

Emmanuel Okafor is a doctor who received his medical education at the University of Nigeria and Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore.

Okafor later underwent residency and fellowship training in Rochester, Minn., and Cleveland, respectively. He’s now board certified in internal medicine, gastroenterology and hematology.

Besides being a medical director and partner at Digestive Health Inc., Okafor is also the director of Huron Hospital in Cleveland’s gastroenterology division. He also served as Huron Hospital’s chief of medical staff.

Education: Tina Kandakai

Tina Kandakai serves in Kent State’s Office of Experiential Education and Civic Engagement as its head.

Before the office came about as a result of universities receiving a challenge to reassess their approach to student learning, Kandakai worked as a special assistant to the vice provost for diversity.

Education: Joanne Dowdy

Joanne Dowdy is a professor of adolescent and adult literature in Kent State’s teaching department.

Dowdy has published research on black women in education and won the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Book Award for 2009.

Journalism: Peter Wairegi

Peter Wairegi owns and publishes African American Lifestyle Magazine, and he also serves as its editor-in-chief.

Wairegi earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Toledo and a master’s in business administration from Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea.

During the past 24 years, Wairegi has held leadership positions from real estate to business development, and he’s owned his own business since 1989.

Political Science: Aster Rutibabalira Adams

Aster Rutibabalira Adams joined Baldwin-Wallace College in Berea in 2005 as the director of analytical services. He oversees the review of utility financial analysis and regulation for the counsel.

Previously, Adams served as chief of the economic analysis and competitive markets and policy divisions of the Tennessee Regulatory Authority. Before moving to the U.S., Adams worked as a professor of economics at the National University of Rwanda, where he received his bachelor’s in economics.

Adams later received a master’s in economic development and a doctorate in economics from Vanderbilt University.

Business: Buchi Felix Offodile

Buchi Felix Offodile is a professor of business administration at Kent State and serves as chair of the management and information systems department.

Besides teaching, Offodile performs research with interests in robotics and technology assessment, quality control, supply chain and inventory management and cellular manufacturing.

Contact ethnic affairs reporter Aaron Kinney at [email protected].