Adesanya, Pardini earn WSU Faculty Women scholar awards

Two scholars in CAHNRS earned recognition this spring through the WSU Association for Faculty Women’s Outstanding Graduate Student Awards.

Chelsea Pardini, a spring 2021 doctoral graduate from the School of Economic Sciences, and Olabisi Adesanya, master’s student in the Department of Apparel, Merchandising, Design & Textiles, each earned an award and $1,000 prize.

Founded in 1975, WSU’s Association for Faculty Women promotes successful and satisfying careers for women. The group’s annual graduate student awards recognize the accomplishments and professional potential of women students. The awards represent a wide range of disciplines and colleges, and students across WSU are eligible for nomination by faculty members.

Olabisi Adesanya
Olabisi Adesanya

Founder’s Award

Adesanya was one of two WSU students to earn the AFW Founders Award, presented to master’s students of excellence.

As a master’s scholar, research assistant, and international student peer mentor, Adesanya studies consumer behavior, electronic shopping, and social media use for small businesses.

Earning her bachelor’s degree in animal science at Obafemi Awolowo University, Nigeria, she developed interest in entrepreneurship and understanding the behavior and psychology of consumers as it relates to clothing and textiles. Her career goal is to develop her expertise to help companies use consumer data for guidance and decision-making.

She previously earned a 2019 best paper presentation award at the Society of Fashion & Textile Industry (SFTI)-WSU conference, as well as an AMDT Excellence Award in Apparel Merchandising Analysis.

“I am elated to be the recipient of the AFW Founders award,” Adesanya said. “As an international student and working mom, I feel honored, and I hope this award inspires other women who seek to further their graduate studies and their professional status.

“This is indeed an encouragement to me to keep pushing and not relent in my hard work,” she added. “My goal is to be able to give back to the academic community by mentoring more women in higher education.”

Adesanya thanked her advisor, AMDT Assistant Professor Jihyeong Son, “who saw potential in me right on the first encounter and received me as her mentee,” former AMDT chair Vicki McCracken, “who left an indelible footprint in my career pursuit,” as well as current chair and AMDT professor Ting Chi, “whose office has always been open for advice, encouragement, and guidance. I also want to appreciate my spouse, Kunle, and my friends, whose support and encouragement I do not take for granted.”

Chelsea Pardini
Chelsea Pardini

Outstanding Doctoral Scholar

Pardini won the Harriett B. Rigas Outstanding Woman in Doctoral Studies Award.

Presented to two students this year, the Rigas award honors Dr. Harriett B. Rigas (1934-1989), an internationally renowned electrical engineer, WSU faculty member and chair, and strong advocate of advancement for women.

“I am deeply honored to be associated with Dr. Rigas and the other inspiring women who receive this award,” Pardini said. “I hope that my future work is worthy of such recognition. For the brilliant and steadfast women at WSU, for their advocacy and work—thank you.”

Pardini studied economics, focusing on the fields of environmental and natural resource economics and agricultural economics. She is interested in environmental justice, the economics of settler colonialism, and health economics. Through her studies, Pardini works to support Indigenous peoples, women, and the environment.

“I want my work to be helpful for understanding for students and policymakers, and to contribute to changes that will bring about more justice and peace in the world,” she stated. “Against violence, against its perpetuation, against acceptance and apathy, I rebel. A Tlingit woman, I draw from a rooted tradition of resistance. From my grandmothers, my mother, my aunts, and my sisters, I find the foundation and reason for my fight. For the women who inspire me, for the women who are taken and silenced, for the Earth, for them I fight.”

Advised by SES Associate Director and Professor Ana Espínola-Arredondo, Pardini has co-authored multiple academic papers on topics including violence, coercion, and settler colonialism; hospital cost inefficiency; and fungicide resistance, misinformation and uncertainty in agriculture. She is currently writing about research on tribal sovereignty and violence against women.

Pardini served as a Graduate and Professional Student Association (GPSA) senator and was most recently president of the School of Economic Sciences Graduate Student Association, where she developed activities to ensure students stay connected during the pandemic.

“Chelsea is a mature researcher, outstanding teacher, and great colleague,” commented Espínola-Arredondo. “I do not have any doubt that she will become an excellent academic in the field, since she is completely devoted to her research work and passionate about teaching.”

Pardini will begin working this fall as the Economics Fellow for the New York University School of Law Institute for Policy Integrity.

Learn more about the Association for Faculty Women at

See all 2021 AFW graduate student award winners here.