Favour Akhidenor: Prevention and Intervention Studies Research and Impact Award

Favour Oghale Akhidenor of Uvwie, Delta State, Nigeria is the recipient of the 2024 Prevention and Intervention Studies Research and Impact Award from the University of Maine College of Education and Human Development.

A photo of Favour Akhidenor.
Photo courtesy Favour Akhidenor.

Akhidenor is president and CEO of Saint Naomis Foundation, which works to champion female education around the globe through advocacy, capacity building and awareness campaigns. She holds two master’s degrees in social work, one from the University of Maine and the other from the University of Benin in Nigeria. She graduated with a Ph.D. in education (prevention and intervention studies concentration) from the University of Maine in 2023.

Prior to her role as CEO of Saint Naomis, Akhidenor managed several organizations and initiatives that aimed to reduce poverty, provide care coordination and connect clients to services in a proactive and holistic way. With a career spanning more than 20 years, she has expertise in several areas including creating and expanding initiatives and programs, especially nonprofit development strategies, solid team structures and strategic multidisciplinary partnerships for community expansion. You can read a Q&A with Akhidenor below.

What difference has UMaine made in your life and in helping you reach your goals?

UMaine has played a pivotal role in shaping my career by challenging me to create a platform for growth. The university’s rigorous demands and focus on social connections broadened my perspective and fostered acceptance of diverse cultures. My leadership skills were honed through my roles as a graduate mentor and advisor. It has helped me achieve my goal of creating the Saint Naomis Foundation, a nonprofit organization based in the United States and Pan-Africa dedicated to promoting female education.

Have you had an experience at UMaine that has changed or shaped the way you see the world?

UMaine has become my home away from home, promoting cultural diversity and inclusivity through events like Culturefest, the International Student Coffee Hour and the International Dance Festival. These experiences with staff, students and faculty have influenced how I see the world, and my close relationships with professors prepared me to support my staff and students effectively.

Have you worked closely with a professor or mentor who made your UMaine experience better?

Working closely with my Ph.D. advisors Dr. Jim Artesani and Dr. Janet Fairman and committee members, and my mentor Dr. Judith Josiah-Martin, significantly enhanced my UMaine experience. Their unwavering support has fueled my drive to achieve greater heights.

What advice do you have for aspiring doctoral students to help them get off to the best start academically?

Embrace challenges, stay focused and be self-motivated. Professors appreciate students who demonstrate initiative and determination. Strict professors often elevate your performance, and developing strong organizational skills is crucial for success. Although the journey can be demanding, the growth and personal development are invaluable.

Why UMaine?

I sought a university with a close-knit community that offered unique graduate programs. UMaine’s generalist social work program and the prevention and intervention studies program distinguish it from other institutions.

Special Thank You message:

I am immensely grateful to my advisor, committee members, and the Graduate School, particularly Mr. Scott Delcourt, for their support throughout my academic journey. I also extend my appreciation to the School of Social Work, Dr. Sandra Butler, the College of Education and Human Development, Dr. Jim Artesani, Mr. Bill Elsemore at the Bursar’s Office, the International Student Office, the Office for Diversity and Inclusion, student organizations, and all the dedicated staff, faculty and students who have made my experience at UMaine truly remarkable.