2022 Richard J. Wood Student Community Commitment Award Winner
Abigail Abikoye, senior at the University of Notre Dame, was awarded the prestigious Richard J. Wood Student Community Commitment Award from Community-Engaged Alliance.
The Wood Award, established in 1996, elevates and honors students who have demonstrated
an outstanding commitment to community engagement.
Abikoye is a rising senior studying Biological Sciences with minors in Poverty Studies and
Anthropology. Since the Fall of 2019, Abikoye has served as a volunteer tutor at the Robinson
Community Learning Center in South Bend and has since developed an interest in how lack of access to quality educational opportunities may impact people from economically disadvantaged backgrounds.
“When I started tutoring, I generally understood how my new role at the center was a positive impact, but I wasn’t aware of the harsh realities faced by some children in the community, until one day I had trouble working with a third-grader, who ultimately revealed to me that she couldn’t read, and had no books at home and a limited understanding of what a library was,” Abikoye said. “This singular experience sparked my interest in the socioeconomic effects of poor education on economically disadvantaged communities.”
Abikoye aspires to pursue a career in medicine where she can serve as an advocate for
marginalized populations and lead efforts surrounding health equity. During the summer of 2020, Abigail was admitted to the highly-competitive Shepherd Higher Education Consortium on Poverty Internship. She was remotely paired with Shepherd’s Clinic in Baltimore, Maryland, where she worked with lead staff and clients to decipher the challenges facing marginalized populations in the area.
In recommending Abikoye for the award, Lulama Moyo, Community Engaged Learning Assistant Director at the University of Notre Dame, said, “We are particularly proud of her for taking her interests in STEM and crafting workshops that encourage young people to be excited about the sciences. She has excelled in the course and has shown a high level of skill and comprehension that provides her with the necessary intersectional lens to community engagement that sets
Abikoye was nominated by the University of Notre Dame’s Center for Social Concerns.
Applications and nominations for the 2023 Richard J. Wood Award are open until July 8, 2022.
Published May 5, 2022