From Economics to Social Work: Christson Adedoyin’s Story

Photo courtesy of Samford University.

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Christson Adedoyin, Ph.D. ’11, is boundless in his passion for the social work profession. Originally a student of economics in his native Nigeria, Adedoyin decided to change careers out of a desire to serve and help others.

“I didn’t want to work with numbers. I didn’t want to work with statistics or just quantitative research and computers. I also wanted to work with people,” Adedoyin said. The decision did not go over well with his family members, who thought economics would be a better and more stable professional path. Dissuaded, Adedoyin briefly agreed to continue along his original path, and began a master’s in information science.

But the desire to change careers gnawed at him. In the second semester of his master’s program, his parents had health issues and Adedoyin was on hand to help them with daily tasks, including taking them to church. On one memorable visit, he met with their pastor who encouraged him to pursue his goal of social work. “Even though everybody has their own struggles, I believe Providence, or some people would say God or the divine, basically steers you in the right direction for you,” Adedoyin said.

Course Correcting

After graduating with a master’s degree in social work and supporting families during his practice in Nigeria, he decided to pursue a doctorate in the U.S. and was accepted to UK College of Social Work.

“Of all the places I reached out to in terms of programs, the University of Kentucky was very, very personal. That was in the year 2000 when the internet was not as it is today. They would call me and send emails, there was that human touch.” Adedoyin said.

Adedoyin’s Ph.D. research focused on health education as a strategy to address health disparities and inequality, specifically on studying the best health education interventions for African Americans as a way of preventing cancer among that population.

“The University of Kentucky College of Social Work prepared me for the work outside after my doctorate,” Adedoyin said. “I felt very prepared and confident because of the professors and the course contents; that experience with research and some program evaluation gave me a very solid footing. I had access to professors and to the dean. I was guided and I was helped.”

Finding Professional Success

Since graduating, Adeyodin has worked in a variety of roles, including UK College of Social Work’s Training Resource Center, which promotes and supports the well-being of families, children, and communities through research and evaluation, training, technical assistance and service and program development. Later, he became a professor at East Carolina University before joining the faculty at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

“I do a lot of faith-based work with African American, minority, and immigrant populations.” Adedoyin said of his career, noting the joy he finds at the intersection of social work and faith.

As for his decision to pursue the field, Adedoyin said that he has no regrets and encourages others who are thinking about it to give it a try.

“Social work is a massive field—it’s like an ocean. You just have to be disciplined to find your niche.” Adedoyin said. “There are many transferable skills you can bring from social work and apply in nontraditional social work spaces—whether that’s corporate or social entrepreneurship or policy. You are very employable.”

For over 85 years, the College of Social Work (CoSW) at the University of Kentucky has been a leader in education. Our mission is clear: Through rigorous research, excellence in instruction, and steadfast service, the CoSW works to improve the human condition. Always, in all ways.

As the state’s flagship university, our mission is actualized through our deeds. Our faculty are renowned academicians dedicated to fostering the development of high-quality practitioners and researchers. As a college, we promote community and individual well-being through translational research and scholarship, exemplary teaching, and vital community engagement. We are committed to the people and social institutions throughout Kentucky, the nation, and the world.