From Hawking Pepper At Age 10 To Becoming The First Black Person To Bag A PhD In Her Field In A Canadian University | Meet Adeola Deborah Olubamiji

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Miss Adeola Deborah Olubamiji, a Nigerian with humble beginnings who used to hawk pepper at the age of 10 has just reportedly set a new record in far away Canada.
The beautiful damsel was born in Ibadan, Oyo State. She attended Alafia Public Primary School and St. Gabriel’s Secondary Commercial School in Mokola, Ibadan, Nigeria. Adeola obtained a Bachelor of Science in Physics (with Electronics) from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye, Nigeria in 2008 and a Masters of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Tampere University of Technology, Tampere, Finland in 2011.
Then In June 2017, Adeola received her PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Canada and made history as the first black person to have received this PhD from the university. Dr. Adeola is currently the Lead Metallurgist / Material Engineer at Burloak Technologies (The Advanced Additive Manufacturing Division of Samuel Sons & Co) in Ontario, Canada.
Adeola whose story went viral recently shared her inspiring story in an interview here.

Growing Up

I have 3 brothers and my only sister is late. I was born in Mokola Ibadan and attended Alafia Primary School and St Gabriel’s Secondary Commercial School in Mokola, Ibadan. We didn’t have much, so my siblings and myself learned to share and work together as a team quickly. My parents worked hard to ensure that we had food to eat, clothes to wear and made it a point of duty to get us to our schools on time. My mom is a workhorse and she woke up at 3 am daily to go to “Shasha Market” in Ibadan to conduct her pepper buying business.
Although my dad was unable to attain tertiary education, he is from a well-educated extended family. A few of my dad’s family members had PhDs, so my dad hung their photographs on the wall in our living room. At every opportunity my dad got, he regaled us with their success stories and explained how education took them abroad. Therefore, I ended up following the footpath of one of my uncles, Professor Abiodun Francis Oluwole who is a Professor of Nuclear Physics, to obtain a BSc in Physics with Electronics from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago-Iwoye.

Hawking at age 10 made me more determined

Looking at my parent’s life, they both worked hard to care for us but we didn’t have any form of luxury. So, I learned quickly as a child that “to earn more, you must learn more.” In addition, the daily reminder was on the wall of our living room and it was clear that I needed to be “EDUCATED” to make valuable contribution to a knowledge-based society, to earn respect and to earn more money than my parents. As such, I promised myself to strive to know more critical facts, gather more information than the average person and be the best and nothing but the best.
First black person to bag a PhD in Biomedical Engineering at the university of Saskatchewan
Biomedical Engineering is a recently added branch of Engineering with capability to bring us closer to huge healthcare-related innovations and inventions. However, Nigerians and the black population in general are slowly just breaking into the field. In fact, it is almost impossible to find journal papers or conference proceedings authored by Africans (at least from the last names or first names) in the field of Biomedical Engineering. The shortage of blacks in this thriving field and shortage of women in engineering makes me feel “lonely” sometimes among my peers. Therefore, I will to continue to advocate for the introduction of the branches of Biomedical Engineering to Nigerian Universities, encourage and advocate for admission of more women into engineering disciplines, and to continue to encourage other engineers who are willing to transition to come and join me in this limitless, exciting and innovative field.

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