An Outstanding Researcher Solves Environmental Problems Through a “Holy Union” Between Environmental Science and Criminology in the US

  • Environmental crime and environmental injustice are multi-dimensional.
  • Lay conceptions of environmental crime and injustice are anthropocentric.
  • Environmental health and safety are important factors for economic stability.

Emmanuel Ogundipe, an environmental criminologist and a Nigerian native, is an exceptional researcher and a problem solver with an ultimate goal of saving the environment through the marriage of disciplines. This aim has been pivotal in shaping his career choice and he is learning by teaching others to do the same.

Ogundipe earned his Master’s in Environmental Science from the Institute for the Environment and Sustainability (IES) at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. Prior to that, he studied Sociology as an undergraduate in Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria and earned MSc degree in Criminology and Social Problems from the University of Ibadan, Nigeria. Later, he was admitted to the Master of Philosophy (MPhil) in Criminology with an offer to commence his doctorate after one year at the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom. Around the same time, a close family friend introduced him to the course offerings at the Miami University’s IES. He developed immense curiosity about the field and that fueled his desire to combine it with his background in criminology and sociology to solve the environmental problems in a nouveau way. The rest as they say is history. Ogundipe not only got admitted, but also graduated as one of the best students in his cohort at Miami, Ohio.

“Picking one out of the available offers was a defining and difficult moment in my life and career, and I chose Miami University because of my passion to do something novel and unique,” Ogundipe said. “I believed I would make significant positive impacts blending my existing knowledge in sociology and criminology with a new field.”

Ogundipe has always been an avid researcher from his undergraduate days, collaborating with his professors to co-author work such as Motorcycle Theft Victimization in Oyo Town, Nigeria: A Qualitative Analysis, which appeared in the International Journal of Criminal Justice Sciences. On his 36th birthday at Miami, he conducted a research with his team on various reasons for illegal dumping of wastes at Adams-Clermont solid waste management district, Ohio. This helped reduce improper waste dumping and contamination.

For his master’s thesis, Ogundipe looked at the Lay Victims’ Conceptions of Environmental Crime and Environmental Injustice: A Case of Chem-Dyne Superfund Site in Hamilton, Ohio. In October 2020, the study was published in Social Justice Research journal by Springer and provides evidence to the sociological argument that social context influences whether environmental inequalities are interpreted as environmental crimes or instances of environmental injustice.

After graduating in December 2019, Ogundipe received an award of recognition for excellence as the next generation of Ohio’s leader from the General Assembly of the State House of Representatives through Representative Candice Keller. He was also nominated for the 18 of the Last 9 Award organized by Miami University, which honors exceptional recent graduates (within the last 9 years) of the University. He has actively presented his research findings at several conferences including the 2019 North Central Sociological Association Conference (Cincinnati, Ohio), 2019 American Society of Criminology Annual Meeting (San Francisco, California), and Graduate Research Forum (Miami University) in 2018.

During his stay in Miami, Ogundipe started the local chapter of the Golden Key International Honor Society, the world’s largest collegiate honor society for graduate and undergraduate students. Golden Key is committed to implementing service projects, research and leadership development for all students on campus. The society has strong relationships with over 400 universities around the world and it is built on the pillars of academics, leadership, and service. Ogundipe has served as the pioneer advisor for the student organization.

Challenges and Inspiration

As they say, nothing good comes easy, the Nigerian-born faced countless challenges while trying to understand his new chosen field to create something unique to solve environmental problems and contribute substantially to environmental research in the U.S. However, Ogundipe made it through those difficult times by seeking help from his mentors and advisors. One of his mentors, a professor of Sociology formerly in Miami University, Dr. Glenn Muschert, showed keen interest in his research focus, which further boosted Ogundipe’s confidence to carry out his interdisciplinary research and contribute substantially towards the national interest of the U.S. economy, health and safety. The two share a good camaraderie and apart from scientific research, they discuss avid readership of popular works of Nigerian authors like Wole Soyinka and Chinua Achebe. Additionally, both the director of the IES, Dr. Jonathan Levy and his advisor, Dr. Ryan Gunderson with their guidance and unflinching support, have been solid pillars behind his records of success at Miami University.

Being a great help to those in need, he has volunteered for several causes including fundraisers for California Wildfire Foundations, donations to the American Public Gardens Association, Mercy Corps and the American Red Cross, where he also volunteers as a screener as part of his contributions to the U.S. environmental safety effort.

Leadership

To Ogundipe, assisting new international students to successfully settle down during their first school year at Miami and mentoring them along the years to success is priority. In 2018, he was selected as one of the International Peer Orientation Leaders at Miami University where he along with other team members organized airport pick-ups for the new students and talked them through the University’s policies. He was privileged to represent Miami University’s Graduate Students Association at the Center for Teaching and Excellence Senate Committee, where they review grant proposals and Faculty Knox awards.

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Amy Sanders

Amy Sanders is a prolific writer on environmental research, energy, health, safety, social policies. She is a seasonal writer who draws stories from her life journey and experiences around her. She is interested in sharing educative stories and biographies that bring positive changes and influence on the society.

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