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Bisola Duyile: Impressed by SOE faculty support

Doctoral student also cites sense of community in the VCU Holmes Scholars Program

Bisola Duyile was born and raised in Ondo State, Nigeria. She earned her undergraduate degree from Obafemi Awolowo University in Ondo, and her master’s degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling from the University of the District of Columbia. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the VCU School of Education’s Ph.D. in Education, Concentration in Counselor Education and Supervision program. She was recently accepted into the VCU Holmes Scholars Program.Headshot of Bisola Duyile, doctoral student in the VCU Holmes Scholars Program. [View Image] [View Image]Bisola Duyile (Courtesy Photo)

What drew you to the field of education?

Since childhood, I’ve wanted to be a counselor and an educator, even though I wasn’t aware of the different types of counseling that existed at the time. I was privileged to teach at an elementary school while I was in high school. It was a summer internship that was provided to me by a family friend. I enjoyed it and proceeded to get my undergraduate degree in education with a minor in counseling, and then received a master’s degree in rehabilitation and mental health counseling.

My passion for education and research grew after working in the field for a few years. I saw the need for licensed counselors, and I wanted to help populate the field of counseling with more counselors with evidence-based practice. I also wanted to conduct research on more recent occurrences in counseling sessions, that aren’t captured in the existing literatures that we use in our classrooms.

Who inspired you to pursue study in this field?

My high school counselor in Nigeria was my initial inspiration to pursue counseling. She was graceful and excellent at the work she did, and I wanted to be like her. Her inspiration got me on the track to becoming a counselor and an educator, but my inspiration and drive has changed over time.


I initially applied to SOE because of the diversity in the population that they serve. SOE’s research and community engagement opportunities were enticing, and the school was close to my family. Ultimately, I chose SOE because of the camaraderie that I felt when I interviewed. The whole interview process was very welcoming and open. I felt comfortable to ask a wide range of difficult questions, and I instantly wanted to be a part of the university.

What has impressed you most about your program so far?

Even though I started my program during the pandemic – and face-to-face interactions were impossible – I have been most impressed by the great level of compassion and support from faculty members and my fellow doctoral students. I am also very impressed at the variety of research opportunities available to students.

“Ultimately, I chose SOE because of the camaraderie that I felt when I interviewed. The whole interview process was very welcoming and open.”

Any tips for students who are considering study in your program at VCU SOE?

My advice to students considering study in SOE’s counselor education and supervision program would be, “Just ASK.” Do not be afraid to ask for help! The faculty members and student body are more than willing to help. Create relationships with individuals (faculty, current doctoral students, professionals, etc.) who are in the line of work that you are. Otherwise, ask to be connected to people who are doing the work that you’re passionate about. You will most likely get a “YES!”

What drew you to the VCU Holmes Scholars Program?

I decided to join the Holmes Scholars Program because I wanted to be a part of a community of like-minded people. As an African woman who is not a native of the Richmond community, I wanted to be part of a program that can integrate me professionally and socially into the community. A program that will provide me with mentorship, professional development, networking and conference opportunities.

What have you enjoyed most about the Holmes Scholars Program so far?

I have enjoyed immense support, mentorship and motivation to thrive as an underrepresented minority student. I have been enlightened by different aspects of academia and research through consistent professional development opportunities. I have also enjoyed a great level of support from Holmes Scholars through review and constructive feedback of proposals and presentations. So far, I feel blessed to have been provided the opportunity to be a Holmes Scholar.

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