Gerald Oliver (also known as Junayd) is a final year student in the Master of Science in Social Work (MSSW) program at The University of Texas at Austin. His concentration is in Community and Administrative Leadership, and he is especially interested in international development in West Africa. Additionally, he is an active seeker of Islamic knowledge and has long-term plans to venture into Islamic Chaplaincy.
Gerald was born and raised in Austin, Texas and obtained a B.A. in Psychology from Duke University in 2004—the same year he reverted to Islam. Since then, he has worked as a Business Analyst at Accenture while staying actively engaged in Austin’s Muslim community through Jumu’ah khutbahs and facilitating youth activities. He also spent three years as a sustainable livelihoods volunteer in Bolgatanga, Ghana through Voluntary Service Overseas (VSO).
In 2013, Gerald began the MSSW program part-time and expects to graduate in December 2016 insha’Allah. He recently completed a graduate school internship in which he conducted field research on sustainable ways to improve schools in Patriensa, Ghana. Immediately after graduation, he is seeking professional work with organizations focused on economic development in Ghana and the West African region. He was inducted into the Phi Alpha Honor Society for Social Work students in February 2016.
Gerald is the proud son of Gerald and Brenda Oliver who strove to give him and his siblings nothing but the best education from pre-school through university. He currently resides in Kumasi, Ghana with his wife and their four children.