Adebola Olubamiji is the first black PhD graduate of biomedical engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She received her doctorate degree on the 5th of June, 2017 and shared her story from grass to grace: how she hawked pepper as a child to support her family and more.
As the 5th child of 5, I always had to wait for my turn. I was the last, a girl child and raised by a mother who is a farmer and a father who has little, I hawked pepper on the streets of Ibadan (South West Nigeria) as early as age 10 to help my mum.”
Against all odds, she still manage to smash her grades in school. After bagging a Physics degree from Olabisi Onabanjo University, she received a scholarship to pursue a Master’s program in Biomedical Engineering in Finland.
Speaking about her resilience, she said:
“Out of determination, I applied to over 100 schools for my PhD and finally got a full 3 year scholarship (later extended to 4 years scholarship) at University of Saskatchewan, Canada to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.”
“While in that PhD program, I worked part-time as a makeup artist, teaching assistant, braided hair and fixed weaves to make extra money.
Today, I walked the stage as the first black person to bag a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from University of Saskatchewan, Canada!!! I walked this stage for you Mama Africa and for my Motherland Nigeria!!! I walked the stage for all of you black women disrespected and looked down on!!!! I walked for all of you from my ghetto hood “Mokola”, Ibadan.
I walked for all OSU students and ex-students that got that look from people who think we are not brilliant!! I walked for all of you Africans in Finland wondering what is next for you!! Specially, I walked for you my parents. siblings and extended family in fulfillment of your dreams!
Specially, I walked the stage for you my late sister Omoleye Olubamiji and my late mentor Ayodele Olatunbosun. Today I walked for my future husband and my unborn children who patiently waited for me to fulfill my dreams so that he can have a wife he will be proud of and they can have a role model to look up to.
I walked for all immigrants and all young adults who strive everyday chasing their dreams!!! I walked in celebration of the unfailing love of my first and one true love Jesus Christ (in you I walk in you I live and in you I have had and will continue to have my being)!!!”