Hawking at age 10 made me more determined! Read Adeola Olubamiji’s inspiring story


Adeola Deborah
Olubamiji was born in Ibadan to the family of Mr. & Mrs. Isaac
& Juliana Olubamiji. She attended Alafia Public Primary School and
St. Gabriel’s Secondary Commercial School in Mokola, Ibadan, Nigeria. 

Despite her humble beginning as a child hawker, she surmounted all odds
to become the senior prefect girl of her secondary school. She 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. 

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. Dr.
Adeola is a consultant and the founder of 3D-Tech Centrix, Ontario,
Canada: A consulting firm specializing in development of 3D-printing
technology and related manufacturing solutions for use in different

In July 2017, Dr. Adeola was chosen and celebrated as one
the top 5 of 150 black women making Canada better for her contributions
in Science and Technology by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. She
was also recently presented a prestigious award as the Woman of
Outstanding Achievement in Education by the Nigerian-Canadian Community
in a ceremony held in Toronto, Canada. Dr. Adeola’s passion for
community building through volunteering is limitless and unquantifiable. 

Dr. Adeola is an “ardent” STEM advocate and she has continued to serve
as a positive role model to the inner-city black youths in her Canadian
community and around the world. From her savings, Dr. Adeola organizes
regular STEM events and industrial tours for black youths in Ontario’s
black communities to help youths discover what engineers do, and to
expose them to STEM career opportunities available to them. Adeola whose
story went viral two weeks ago shares her inspiring story with me in
this mind-blowing interview.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 name=”m_-7685762521781788063_m_2079603891023848561__gjdgxs”>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.   Choice to study biomedical engineering Several
health impairments and issues of failed diagnosis that could benefit
from Biomedical Engineering technologies face Nigeria and Nigerians.
With a BSc in Physics with Electronics, the Biomedical Engineering
career path paved way for me to acquire the knowledge needed to help
develop solutions to tackle the above-mentioned issues. Some of the
areas that I am currently vast on are medical physics and clinical
engineering, tissue engineering and regenerative medicine, material
development and 3D-printing, and e-health and telemedicine.   What and who inspires meWhat Inspires me: As
a Scientist, I am challenged and inspired by the possibilities and
potentials of technology, and the fulfillment I get from solving
difficult problems. As an engineer, I am inspired by industry 4.0 (e.g.
3D-printing) and its design and manufacturing capabilities. As a
Nigerian, the complicated problems that I faced or my people in Nigeria
face inspire me. On a daily basis, I go to work knowing that I am paying
the price to acquire the knowledge and the skill-sets required to help bring
back innovative manufacturing solutions to fix, improve, and tweak
Nigeria’s mostly dead metal and plastic manufacturing industries. Who inspires me:
The humble background and huge historic contributions of Jesus Christ
made Him my first inspiration. My middle name is Deborah and the
realization of Deborah’s role as the First Female Judge in Israel, a
Warrior, a Wife and a Mother made me choose her my second role
model/inspiration. Furthermore, one of the men on the wall of our living
room, Prof. Abiodun Francis Oluwole, inspired me to study Physics. At
the moment, I have chosen Dr. Ndubuisi Ekekwe as one of my inspirations
for his ability to combine successful academic credentials, technology
and entrepreneurship.   

Greatest Reward There are a few of them, after many years of research and development; the ultimate reward is receiving the PhD honour itself.  Seeing
my narrative go viral to touch lives around the world provided me with
the re-assurance that Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
(STEM) careers, hard work and prayers are not old school and they in
fact can make you a superstar. Then, securing a job as a lead engineer
after my PhD and starting my career in a company that allows me utilize
most of my acquired knowledge and skills made the whole process well
worth it. Lastly, the smiles and tears of joy that rolled down my
father’s face when he heard that I successfully defended my thesis was
rewarding and very satisfying. Recognition In terms of recognition, I was recognized as 5thof 150 black women making Canada better during the celebration of Canada at 150 (link:
I was also recognised by the Nigerian Canadian Association as a “Woman
of Outstanding Achievement in Education” in celebration of Canada at 150
and the award was presented to me at a Gala attended by Canada’s
Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Bar. Ahmed Hussen, the
Ooni of Ife HRM Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, Mama Nike Davies-Okundaye of
Nike Art Gallery and so on.   Challenges My
PhD was not plain sailing; there were setbacks, frustrating moments,
doubts, failed relationship and several failed experiments. The
isolation that comes with embedding myself in research and making it my
boyfriend, family and best friend was a challenge. There were moments
when I slept at the University for several days in order to collect data
and only went home to shower. But the most challenging aspect of the
PhD by far was the job search that comes at the end of the PhD by far was the job search that comes at the end of the PhD.    Perception of Hawking Child
street-hawking is often driven by poverty, deplorable living
conditions, illiteracy and unemployment. According to the UN Convention
on the Rights of the Child, it is an offence to involve children in
child-labour practices such as child hawking. However, this is the only
mean of survival for some families and its eradication will be very
tough.   Has there ever been a time that you feel like giving up? The
thinking of giving up is inevitable for every PhD student. Half way
through my PhD, I felt like I could do something else with my life. I
felt like the PhD was standing in the way of me starting my life, buying
a house, finding love and getting married. I felt like it was a shear
waste of time and energy and that an MSc was already more than enough. Unfortunately,
I lost my sister to cervical cancer during that time and that gave me
the motivation to carry on. I thought I would do it for my sister and my
dad who already started calling me doctor and never stopped encouraging
me.   Contributing to Nation building back home In
recent times, the society and social media has continued to showcase
role models who make education look ‘old school’, who make science look
too hard, abstract and for the exceptional ones. Africa as a continent
needs to start projecting scientists are role models and investing in
productive education and technology aside entertainment, fashion, and
cosmetics. As a STEM advocate, I’m willing to help develop hands-on
programs to help motivate these students to learn and love Sciences and
get exposure to Technology in a fun way. Since kids learn by doing,
these programs will provide an avenue for them to connect the
theoretical science taught in schools with practical science that
results from these theories. In
order to conquer the extreme dependency of Nigeria and Nigerians on
China and the West for metal and plastic goods, Nigeria must invest in
digitized manufacturing now. The combination of “3D-printing technology”
and some other manufacturing techniques will allow achievement of
faster product development and consequently enable manufacturing of
polymeric and metallic products at reasonable costs. This will also
foster raising of young entrepreneurs and enable creation of more jobs
for our engineering graduates who are forced to work in the banking
sector, wait for years to secure a position in the energy sector, or
move abroad to seek greener pastures. As
a scientist who has a large network of professionals, has explored both
plastics and metal 3D-printing and tried several conventional
manufacturing techniques, my team is capable and able to help with the
set-up of a “Manufacturing Hub for Africa” in Nigeria if given a chance.
3D-printing technology is rapidly growing across multiple industries
and applications: medical applications (e.g. surgical implants,
prosthesis, dental, and tissue-engineered tissues and organs), aerospace
applications (OEMs for airplanes and fighter jets), automotive
applications (OEMs for car engines), energy industries (customized
valves, heat exchangers), tooling for plastics processing, and
manufacturing of customized consumer plastic products and decorations.   I am a Woman of Rubies  My life and my journey so far have made me conclude that I am an unrepeatable miracle of God.  Final word for women who have or about to lose hope because of certain setbacks.

woman, with the advent of technology, the world is at your fingertip.
Do not wait to be served information on a platter of gold as your power
lies in how much information you acquire. Dear woman, who are you and
why are you here? My go to quote is “if you don’t stand for something,
you will stand for everything or anything, and when you stand for
everything or anything, you stand for nothing”. My dear women, let’s
altogether renew our minds, be our own saviours, our own rescue and love
ourselves enough. Finally, I beseech you to dare to be limitless, dare
to start that business, dare to launch that company, dare to channel
that cause, dare to be different, dare to study science and dare to be

Source: Women of Rubies


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