OreOluwa Badaki Program: Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division, Ph.D.

Anticipated Graduation: May 2022


Professional Biography

OreOluwa Badaki is a Ph.D candidate in the Literacy, Culture, and International Education Division at the University of Pennsylvania's Graduate School of Education. She began her career in education organizing community engagement projects with middle school students in Khayelitsha, South Africa. OreOluwa then became a middle school Language Arts teacher in Navajo, New Mexico. There, she designed a cross-cultural community engagement program for her students in Navajo and students she taught over the summers in Kumasi, Ghana. Similar to her students in South Africa, students in this program designed projects that used the arts, literacy skills, and research skills to confront issues of community health and environmental justice.

OreOluwa went on to work with UNESCO Samoa as a program specialist for initiatives related to youth employment and Cultural and Creative Industries in the Pacific. Immediately prior to entering the doctoral program, she worked as a research assistant with the Education Commission: a UN Commissioned report on financing global education opportunity. In both of these positions, OreOluwa focused on cross-sectoral interventions at the intersection of education, health, and the environment.

Ultimately, these experiences lead OreOluwa to pursue questions and research methods related to literacy, community health, and environmental justice.

Research Interests and Current Projects

OreOluwa's dissertation project examines the literacy practices of young people involved in food justice and sustainability initiatives. Working across various community health and environmental sustainability initiatives in Philadelphia, OreOluwa explores how young people in schools, urban farms and gardens, nonprofit organizations, and civil society institutions learn and activate different literacy practices. The study pays close attention to the ways in which culture, intergenerational learning, and national and global trends interact with young peoples' construction, deconstruction, and interpretation of texts. The study aims to help make visible various modes of teaching and learning within educational initiatives working towards more just and sustainable futures.

In addition to her dissertation project, OreOluwa works as a community researcher for the Southwest and West Agricultural Group (SWWAG), a network of urban farms and gardens, schools, and nonprofit organizations working to support community connection to food, land, and culture in Philadelphia. She is an educator with the Sankofa Farm youth internship program at Bartram's Garden in Philadelphia. OreOluwa also serves as an education consultant for the Biocultural Education and Research Programme in Barbados, a UNDP funded NPO that focuses on promoting plant biodiversity and preserving heritage crop knowledge in the Caribbean.

Interest Categories

Curriculum & Instruction
Language & Literacy
Global & International Education
Ethnographic Research


M.S.Ed (International Education Development) University of Pennsylvania, 2015.
M.A. (Secondary Education) University of New Mexico, 2014.
B.S. (Development Sociology) Cornell University, College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, 2012.

Faculty Advisors

Dr. Gerald Campano
Chair of the Reading/Writing/Literacy Division

Dr. Vivian L. Gadsden
William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education

Areas Of Expertise

Community and Environmental Health
Critical Literacy Pedagogy
Youth Civic Engagement

Profile information is provided directly by the student