10:58 am - Tuesday September 17, 2019

MAKING NIGERIA PROUD ABROAD: ‘I Am the FIRST BLACK Person, First AFRICAN to obtain PhD in Biochemical Engineering from University of Saskatchewan, Sask’ -Dr. ADEOLA OLUBAMIJI, Ibadan Born Canadian Girl, Lead Material / Metallurgical Engineer at Burloak Technologies in Hamilton, Ont. ….Says: ‘CANADA offers me a home away from home, I am an Immigrant’ * Explains: ‘I Have a Foreign Accent, No one Can say my Name Correctly’ * ‘My Mother was a Farmer, My Father Had a Little’ * ‘LIFE was Tough growing up, As young as 10 years I hawked Pepper on the street of Mokola to support my Family’ *Graduated in Bachelor’s of Science in Physics (with Electronics) from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria having scored 3.8 of 5 CGPA, Obtained Master’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Tampere University of Technology, Finland *Worked as a Cleaner part-time to support herself through her degree, and for another year searched for PhD admission and scholarships *Her Words: “Nothing in life came to me easy; therefore, I learned to put in a good fight at every step of the way. In the fourth year of my PhD, I started the job hunt for a company that could offer me my long-awaited career. I graduated at time when engineering jobs were scarce and recent engineering graduates found it hard to secure appropriate jobs. Most of the advertised jobs required minimum of five years related work experience, and I was often told that I was overqualified because I have a PhD” BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF

MAKING NIGERIA PROUD ABROAD:

‘I Am the FIRST BLACK Person, First AFRICAN to obtain PhD in Biochemical Engineering from University of Saskatchewan, Sask’ Dr. ADEOLA OLUBAMIJI, Ibadan Born Canadian Girl, Lead Material / Metallurgical Engineer at Burloak Technologies in Hamilton, Ont.

.Says: ‘CANADA offers me a home away from home, I am an Immigrant’

* Explains: ‘I Have a Foreign Accent, No one Can say my Name Correctly’

* ‘My Mother was a Farmer, My Father Had a Little’

* ‘LIFE was Tough growing up, As young as 10 years I hawked Pepper on the street of Mokola to support my Family’

*Graduated in Bachelor’s of Science in Physics (with Electronics) from Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria having scored 3.8 of 5 CGPA, Obtained Master’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Tampere University of Technology, Finland

*Worked as a Cleaner part-time to support herself through her degree, and for another year searched for PhD admission and scholarships

*Her Words: “Nothing in life came to me easy; therefore, I learned to put in a good fight at every step of the way. In the fourth year of my PhD, I started the job hunt for a company that could offer me my long-awaited career. I graduated at time when engineering jobs were scarce and recent engineering graduates found it hard to secure appropriate jobs. Most of the advertised jobs required minimum of five years related work experience, and I was often told that I was overqualified because I have a PhD”

BY GEORGE ELIJAH OTUMU/AMERICAN FOREIGN BUREAU CHIEF

SHE IS THE TRUE STORY OF SUCCESS, RESILIENCE AND DETERMINATION TO SUCCEED AGAINST ANY ODDS LIFE MAY BRING. She fought every obstacles. Battles the vicissitudes of life to emerge an overcomer. A godly woman who cherishes who sees the invisible hands of God as the ‘unseen hands behind the story of her life accomplishments’. ADEOLA OLUBAMIJI, a reporter’s delight, the first black person, first African to have obtained a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of Saskatchewan, Sask, Canada is genuinely an inspiring story of success. By her success through dint of hardwork and consistent focus, she has proven that you can realize your aspiration no matter the odds.

Her adventure as an Immigrant:

In her words: “My name is Dr. Adeola D. Olubamiji. I am an immigrant, I am a visible minority, I have a foreign accent, no one can say my name right and I don’t look like an engineer (I am a female who wears lipsticks and I love shoes). Surprisingly, I am also the first black person to obtain a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of Saskatchewan, Sask.”

Regarding how she hawked pepper on the streets of Ibadan in Nigeria, she said: “I was born in Mokola, Ibadan, Nigeria in 1985 to a mother who was a farmer and a father who had little. As the fifth child of five, life wasn’t easy growing up. I helped my mom make money to support us as early as age 10 by hawking pepper on the streets of Mokola. No one imagined this future for me growing up, and in fact, it was impossible to think of it. I attended Nigerian public primary and secondary schools, and there was little to no resources; therefore, several girls got pregnant and dropped out. My family made me realize that it was either ‘I Go Hard or I Go Home’ and there will be no in-betweens. My parents and siblings were disciplined yet loving, and they continually encouraged me, prayed with me, and celebrated my little victories.”

How about her academic feat:

She reveals: “I kept striving and proceeded to Olabisi Onabanjo University, Nigeria, for a Bachelor’s of Science in Physics (with Electronics). Being a minority in a predominantly male class was extremely tasking and intimidating. Since I had no choice but to “go hard,” I focused, studied hard, and eventually graduated with approximately 3.8 of 5 CGPA in 2008. Although I wasn’t the overall best student when I graduated, my grades were good enough to enable me to secure a job or obtain a scholarship for a Master’s Degree.

I proceeded to Finland, where I obtained a Master’s of Science in Biomedical Engineering from Tampere University of Technology in 2011. Despite the language barrier that I experienced while in Finland, I still worked. I worked part-time as a cleaner to support myself through my degree, and for another year while I was searching for PhD admission and scholarships. Out of determination, I applied to over 100 schools seeking PhD admission and scholarships. Then, in early 2012, I finally got a scholarship to attend the University of Saskatchewan, to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering. While in that program, I engaged in several part-time jobs. This time, I worked as a sales representative/make-up artist at Sephora Saskatoon, a teaching assistant at the University and a hair dresser (braided hair and fixed weaves) in Saskatoon.

Nothing in life came to me easy; therefore, I learned to put in a good fight at every step of the way. In the fourth year of my PhD, I started the job hunt for a company that could offer me my long-awaited career. I graduated at time when engineering jobs were scarce and recent engineering graduates found it hard to secure appropriate jobs. Most of the advertised jobs required minimum of five years related work experience, and I was often told that I was overqualified because I have a PhD. As a result, I decided to “go hard”, and at least 3,000 employment applications went out from my desk and the agents (whom I paid to help me with the search) before I secured my current employment.”

Of her present career in Canada:

Currently, I am the Lead Material/Metallurgical Engineer at Burloak Technologies (a Division of Samuel, Son & Co., Limited) located in Hamilton, Ont. As a Team Lead, I assist in making key metallurgical and material science decisions internally and for our clients. In addition, I provide guidance to the additive manufacturing (3D printing) team who are revolutionizing metal manufacturing in the aerospace industry. Although I had to go to school for several years and strive through life at every step of the way (and still striving), I am indeed grateful for the little victories and I can humbly call myself the female/the black female ambassador on my team, as I am the only female and only black engineer on this team.

Canada offers me a home away from home. I plan to continue to give back to my community here and back home in Nigeria. This will be through provision of voluntary encouragements and supports to young girls who wish to begin or are navigating through careers in Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM). In addition, I will continue to support several science outreach initiatives, non-profit organizations, student-owned small businesses, African/Black-owned businesses and inspire young girls through public speaking and my write-ups.”

Adeola offered words of advise for the youths aspiring to become great in life: “To young girls languishing – be it in their parents’ homes, in high schools and colleges, on the streets, in foster homes, in prisons or in homeless shelters – here are my words to you. Being a visible minority is not a setback but it’s indeed a strength. You stand out everywhere you go, you are a change agent, you make impressions easily, and you have a chance to be the first at several things. STEM is for ‘average Joes’ like you. Let nothing such as your upbringing, accent, language barrier, money, circumstance, gender, past mistakes, institution, partner, background limit you. The world is waiting for the first female/black female in several STEM fields and it’s waiting for more female Team Leads, CEOs, Business Owners, and Inventors (especially here in Canada and my home country Nigeria). Always remember that you represent all of us, therefore, be an ambassador for visible minorities wherever you go.”

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