SBS grad wants to be a ‘beacon of hope’ for others

Sbs 2024 Grad Temioluwa Bolaji OyenekanWhen Temiloluwa Bolaji-Oyenekan set her sights on medical school, finishing her undergraduate degree during the height of the COVID- 19 pandemic was not a part of the plan. Fortunately, resilience is a part of her character.

The timing left her feeling unprepared to apply to medical schools, so she spent time getting patient care experience as a clinical trial coordinator. To strengthen her application even more she enrolled in the The University of North Texas Health Science Center at Fort Worths’ School of Biomedical Sciences medical science program. She will graduate this month with her Master of Science in Medical Science.

“Navigating the rigorous curriculum of the program has truly defined my experience here,” Bolaji-Oyenekan said. “Upon successful completion, I emerged feeling empowered and confident to take on life’s next challenge.”

Although she did face setbacks along the way, she says she will not let them dictate the course of her journey.

“As an African woman from Lagos, Nigeria, I aspire to serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for individuals from marginalized and disadvantaged communities, showing them that they too can occupy spaces of influence and effect change in the world,” Bolaji-Oyenekan said.

Tell us about your journey leading up to attending HSC.

I obtained my bachelor’s degree in chemistry during the peak of the pandemic in May 2020 with intentions of pursuing a medical program afterwards. However, given the circumstances of the nation at the time of my graduation I felt unprepared for that year’s application cycle. Recognizing the importance of gaining patient care experience, I chose to immerse myself in the clinical research industry starting as a clinical research technician and later advancing to a clinical trial coordinator. I spent the following three years in these roles honing my skills and nurturing my passion for patient care until I had to commence my program at HSC.

What inspired you to pursue your degree at HSC?

Despite being an international student with lower odds of securing admission into a U.S. medical program, my determination to become a competitive applicant drove me to pursue a master’s degree with advanced biomedical sciences courses. Ultimately, I chose to enroll at HSC due to its outstanding curriculum and its proximity to my family and friends in Texas, with whom I’ve developed strong connections over the years.

Share an experience that defined your time at HSC.

Navigating the rigorous curriculum of my program has truly defined my experience here. It is a journey that challenged me to unearth untapped potential and adequately utilize the abundant campus resources to succeed. Upon successful completion, I emerged feeling empowered and confident to take on life’s next challenge.

Is there an academic achievement that you are proud of?

I am honored to have been awarded the 2023-2024 Outstanding Student in Medical Science. I am especially proud of this achievement, as it stands as a testament to the resilience and divine assistance that propelled me from the lower quartile on my first exam in this program to the position I now hold.

What are your plans for the future?

I am committed to becoming a physician dedicated to delivering evidence-based and value-driven health care to my patients. Additionally, as an African woman from Lagos, Nigeria, I aspire to serve as a beacon of hope and inspiration for individuals from marginalized and disadvantaged communities, showing them that they too can occupy spaces of influence and effect change in the world.

Who had an impact on your success at HSC?

I have a brilliant cohort, and their pursuit of excellence was a constant motivation for me to strive for success in the same manner.

What advice do you have for current or future HSC students?

Do not allow initial setbacks to dictate the course of your journey. Take a moment or two to process your emotions, then strategize a game plan to make a comeback and continue forging ahead.

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