Student Success: “Gifts Create Access to Education”

Yemi Abiona, MBA Student, Florham Campus

By Anne Sherber

Portrait of a young woman, standing outside in the sunlight. She's smiling with a tilt of the head.

Yemi Abiona (Photo: Courtesy of Yemi Abiona)

“Education is very important in my family,” says Yemi Abiona, whose Nigerian parents came to the United States in the 1990s to pursue their own educations.

Abiona is in her fifth year of the four plus one program in the Silberman College of Business, working toward her MBA.

Her success has been made possible, in part, by the scholarship she receives from FDU.

“Gifts that make scholarships possible create access to education and provide students with the opportunity to grow, to change, to explore and to achieve,” she says.

At first, when she was applying to college, FDU was not even on her radar. She thought she wanted to attend college outside of New Jersey and go to a big school.

She felt skeptical when her parents suggested that she might be happier at a smaller school that was closer to home. “My father mentioned that he worked with a number of alumni who talked about how much they loved FDU and their experiences here,” she says. So, to appease her parents, she applied. “I guess that, sometimes, your parents know you better than you think they do.”

On a gray and rainy Admitted Students Day at the Florham Campus, she fell in love. “The beautiful campus, steeped in history and amazing architecture, the warmth of the people I met and a pronounced sense of community were apparent to me, even at that first visit.”

She’s been soaking up every experience and every moment since.

Abiona has enjoyed mentorships with Silberman professors and has been very active in Enactus, a campus-based organization dedicated to creating a better, more sustainable world and to developing the next generation of entrepreneurial leaders and social innovators. Her involvement in Enactus helped her to focus and refine her senior thesis on sustainable-business models.

Additionally, Abiona spent one semester at the University’s Vancouver Campus and another at a partner university in Spain, which she calls, “just amazing.”

She joined the student ambassador program as an undergraduate, taking prospective students on tours around the campus and sharing with them the fun facts she learned about the Florham Campus and the University. “For instance,” she says, “most people don’t know that the windows in the mansion get smaller on each floor. The windows on the first floor are significantly larger than those on the third. It’s an architect’s trick to make the building look taller than it is.”

Abiona is also looking to the future. For the past two years, she’s had internships at Barclays, first in procurement and currently in collateral and margin services.

“I am so very grateful to have been given the opportunity to immerse myself in all aspects of college life,” Abiona says. “I take great pride in all that I do here at FDU and for the direction my experience has provided me. We are challenged and changed by this experience, and we appreciate this.”