Ayobami Has 2 Fully Funded Masters Degree Including His Present Doctorate; Read How He Achieved This
Scholar: Ayobami Olatunji Adegbite
Undergraduate Course and Grade: Botany, Second Class Upper
Undergraduate University: Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Nigeria
Graduate Degree and University: Ph.D Bioenvironmental Science.
From botany to environmental consultancy; from environmental consultancy to soil science; from soil
science to a doctoral degree in vaccine development (in view), a journey that was never easy. All through this learning process, I have come to realize my strengths. I am delighted to have taken the bold step to further my studies out of the country. Growing up in Nigeria was a bit difficult as my parents were civil servants. My parents prioritized education. My dad would usually say that having a degree makes you different. Indeed, education has made a lot of difference for me. I have risen from one level of triumph to another. I have been to places and met people that I thought I would not have met in life.
I had my undergraduate education in the prestigious Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife, Nigeria. Before my undergraduate degree, I had the passion to study medicine. However, I did not reach the medicine cut off, and as a result, I had to accept the course I was offered admission for. My undergraduate degree was not glamorous especially during my first and second year. Through hard work and dedication, I was able to overcome the woes of average grades and I ended up being one of the best in my class.
The taste of success during my undergraduate education prompted me to consider a Master of Science degree (MS) in the UK. I researched on educational consulting firms that could potentially help me in securing an admission in the UK. Fortunately, the staff of UKEAS really helped me in achieving my dreams. They were really professional with my admission process, and after securing an admission, my parents were happy to sponsor my education to travel to the UK for my first MS degree.
In August of 2013, I left for the UK to study Environmental Consultancy at the University of West of
England (UWE). The stress and rigors of my course exposed me into research. I started off with course works, reports and eventually writing thesis. Before leaving Nigeria, I thought I wrote brilliantly, but after engaging myself with technical writing in UWE, I became better.
During my MS degree in the UK, I had opportunities to intern with two companies that helped me have a rethink about my career. These opportunities came my way because I was one of the best in my class, and the course coordinator referred me to the companies I had opportunities to intern. I would attribute my success to God’s grace, hard work and perseverance. I do not take no for an answer and I am resilient with my work ethic. The second internship opportunity helped me to start thinking about ecology and environmental conservation, although I still had the passion for medicine. Before completing MS degree in the UK, I started contacting different programs in the UK, US, Canada and Australia for a doctoral degree in ecology. I had an offer from a university in Scotland, but because of funding, I could not move forward with the admission. I wanted a doctoral degree that was fully funded and that had stipend for my upkeep.
Contacting different professors in different universities was not an easy process as many professors did not have funding. However, I persevered and finally got a professor to commit to accepting me in her lab with the possibility of full funding. Meeting my advisor at the University of Idaho (UIDAHO) was divine as I had contacted lots of professors in different academic institutions. Fortunately for me, my advisor at UIDAHO loved my resilience, my technical writing and my results after she had requested for my results and thesis. After completing my MS degree in the UK, I accepted an offer to study a doctoral degree in the US. I was fully funded, and I remember being one of the happiest people on earth. I believed my dedication and resilience paid off when I accepted the offer at UIDAHO.
The journey for a doctoral degree in soil science started and after spending few semesters in the program, I realized that my passion for a soil science degree was not as strong as my love for medicine. I dedicated energy and time into my research and after two and half years, I decided to take up another opportunity in a different program. This time, I got it right. Before leaving UIDAHO, my advisor saw that I had put in a lot of work into my research, and she said I could leave UIDAHO with another MS degree. I am thankful for this because I can boldly say that I have two MS degrees from two great institutions.
Joining Morgan State University (MSU) has been a wonderful experience. I had another full funding when I joined MSU. I remember meeting with the dean of school of computer, mathematics and natural science, MSU during a science conference I went for in September 2017. My meeting with the dean was a success as he loved my charisma during my presentation. He asked if I could join his lab the following year, and he gave me insights about what he does. I was very happy because this was an opportunity to go into biomedical research. During the meeting with the dean, he promised me full funding if I accept his offer. I immediately promised to accept his offer and after the conference, I submitted my application and notified him of my application submission. He kept to his words and finally, I moved from Idaho to Baltimore in December 2017. I believe my admission to MSU may not have been possible if I had not dedicated myself to my research in UIDAHO.
When I got to MSU, I had the opportunity to volunteer as a researcher at National Cancer Institute in Bethesda, Maryland. This volunteer research opportunity opened my eyes to cancer research. In no time, I developed a mini research proposal on prostate cancer. I wanted to investigate using extracellular vessicles as biomarkers to detect prostate cancer in Africa American men with west or central African origin. The dream of working on prostate cancer was short lived because of the commute from Baltimore to Bethesda. I had to have a rethink about my career, and fortunately, I got an opportunity to work on vaccine in a vaccine laboratory, MSU.
So far, I have written my comprehensive exams and I will be defending my proposal right after the summer. I will be graduating with a doctoral degree in the Spring of 2021. The opportunity to work on vaccine opened doors for me. Presently, I will be working in Merck Pharmaceuticals in May, and I am thankful to have made the decision to leave Nigeria, my comfort zone. Looking back, I am thankful for every step and changing my career to biomedical research is the best decision I ever made.
For aspiring scholars out there, never be afraid of your dreams. Be hard working, resilient in your work ethic and also look for ways to develop yourself. There are many funding bodies out there that can potentially help in actualizing your dreams. I have been able to harness the power of networking. Always find ways to network with professional in your fields and also, find a mentor that can guide and help during this process. There is light at the end of the tunnel and you must to keep pushing.
I AM A VACCINE RESEARCH SCIENTIST AND THIS IS MY STORY.
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