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Biology Student Wins Shanker Award

By Ian Nyanin

Photo: Samantha Saleh

Photo: Samantha Saleh

Mobola Oyefule, BS biology '11, is the 2010 winner of AU's Hassa S. Shanker Premedical Achievement Award. The prize is presented each year to one undergraduate premed student who shows the most promise. Oyefule, a 2009 winner of AU's Gloria Likins Scholarship for excellence in biological studies with a 3.86 overall GPA and a 3.88 GPA in the sciences, was a natural choice.  

For Oyefule, participating in AU's Premedical Program has provided her unique learning opportunities. "It's small so you get personalized attention," she says. "The professors really look out for you."  

She adds, "I like that I wasn't thrown into [traditional] pre-med craziness. AU gives you a balance."

It was a visit to New Orleans through AU's Alternative Break Program that honed her focus. Seeing people dealing with circumstances comparable to those in developing countries brought the greater global crisis in focus for her. "I said to myself, you have to think of the socioeconomic factors that predispose people to infectious diseases," she says. "Health is holistic. You're looking at a whole web of factors that could easily expose people to illness."

She plans to enter medical school after graduation, where she will study infectious diseases from a global development perspective. Ultimately, she hopes to return to her native Nigeria, where she can work to combat many of the health problems there. "There are so many diseases plaguing us [in Nigeria] with our subpar healthcare system that we can prevent and people don't have to die from," she says.  

The prize is given annually at the Prehealth Awards and Recognition Banquet. At this year's banquet, Jessica Streit, BS health promotion '10, and Nicole Wheatley, BS health promotion '11, were also presented with Josephine J. Gimble Scholarships.  The scholarship is given yearly to one senior and one junior who are majoring in health sciences and plan to pursue related careers.