By Gabriel Olawale

Another Nigerian has set the country in the limelight by receiving the highest honor awarded to a graduating student during the commencement ceremony at the Oklahoma State University, USA, the Dean of the Graduate College, Sheryl Tucker, announced on April 6, 2021.

Completing a master’s degree is a major accomplishment for anyone, but for Benjamin Semola, a native of Lagos, Nigeria, it is a dream come true.

Semola’s passion for information security, which is now a global concern with cyber-attacks are increasing daily, this led Benjamin Semola to pursue a master’s degree with concentration in global information security from the School of Global Studies & Partnerships at Oklahoma State University in the U.S.A.

Ben, as he is fondly called by his colleagues, earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry from the University of Lagos, Nigeria and started a career in information technology. He earned several industry certifications and experiences while working in IT from industry giants like Microsoft, and Information Systems Audit and Control Association (ISACA), to mention a few.

He has participated in several projects locally and internationally before deciding to pursue research on the impact on cyber hacks on global trade in the dark web, at a time when trade war between the United States and China took center stage.

This decision led him to pursue another academic degree. The results of his findings were presented during a Three Minute Presentation (3MP) competition where he won the People’s Choice Award selected by the audience. He further extended this research by using available data and tools to examine the impact of United States government’s war on drug trade in the dark web.

Semola’s scholarly ability is unique as he often focuses on extracting knowledge from security issues on a global stage. His technical skills as a certified information security professional and certified ethical hacker pair well with his training as a graduate student.

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According to Semola favorite quote, “Applying fundamental theories to existing issues and collaborating with others to talk about the theories is so important. We may not find a solution to the world’s problems but understanding it keeps us on the path to finding a solution.”

The Honorary Commencement Marshal recognition is the highest honor bestowed on doctoral and master’s degree graduates each year. Marshals have demonstrated scholarly achievement, as evidenced by academic performance and discipline-appropriate scholarly contributions that capture the essence of our land-grant mission. Some of the other awards and scholarships he has won include, Michael Hyatt Distinguished Graduate Fellowship. 2021; Michael Hyatt Distinguished Graduate Fellowship 2020; Jud & Vera Milburn Fellowship Award 2020; African Development Summit, Graduate Award, Kansas University 2019; Michael Hyatt Distinguished Graduate Fellowship 2019; Minutes Presentation (People’s choice Scholarship) OSU 2019 and Graduate Student Professional Development Scholarships.

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