Her story is that of the proverbial grass-to-grace.
Raised by a mother who is a farmer and a father who has little, Adeola Olubamiji, who once hawked pepper on the street of Mokola in Ibadan, has become the first black to obtain a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada.
Her moving tribute on her graduation day reads:
“As the fifth child of five, 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 as early as age 10 to help my mum. Went to public primary and secondary schools in Ibadan. Attended OOU and studied Physics.
“Because I had a 2.1, it opened the door for me to proceed to Finland for a Master’s Degree in Biomedical Engineering. During this Master’s degree, I worked part-time as a cleaner and did this after my Master’s as well.
“Out of determination, I applied to over 100 schools for my PhD and finally got a full three-year scholarship (later extended to four years) at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada, to pursue a PhD in Biomedical Engineering.
“While in that PhD programme, 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 the 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 fulfilment 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 fulfil 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 strived everyday chasing their dreams!
“I walked in celebration of the unfailing love of my first and one truly 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)!
“Be bold, be innovative, be different, be you, be everything you want to be; but remember to put God first!
“Let no man, upbringing, money, circumstance, colourism, past mistakes, institution, company, partner, background, let nothing tell you ‘you can’t do it.’
“Go smart! Go hard!! Go for Gold!!! Go with God!!! Just Get Going!!!!! #Grad2017 #PhDConvocation #UofS”