A prodigious Nigerian student is proudly flying the flag for both country and continent in the University of Oxford, United Kingdom.
Olayinka Oduwole has been highlighted as the sole African representative in Oxford University’s ‘Woman In Engineering’, a list containing just 25 female scholars who are excelling in their chosen fields.
“I have been privileged to meet enormously gifted personalities, who are not just academically strong but with ambition to change the world in which they live and leave a permanent footprint in history,” Olayinka wrote in her profile, featured prominently on the University of Oxford’s Department of Engineering Science website.
The University of Lagos graduate is at the tailend of a Ph.D. program at Kellogg College, Oxford, after the completion of a successful Master’s degree at University College London, UK.
In contrast to several Nigerian prodigies who are functioning abroad, Oduwole has already stated her resolve to use her invaluable experience to develop her country of origin.
“I intend to use my skills to help encourage young ones in my country into pursuing science and engineering; I intend to help revive the declining state of research in my country,” Olayinka stated on the Oxford University website, who used her as an example of an African student who was excelling amidst the competitive environment of the prestigious university.
The story of Olayinka is inspirational to say the least. From a poverty-stricken home, she was working diligently in church when spotted by Nigerian Pastor and philanthropist, T.B. Joshua.
Recognising her academic prowess and her meagre financial backing, the cleric sponsored her tertiary education in its totality.
“What you make happen for others, God will make happen for you,” Joshua told congregants when announcing he was supporting the young student with £100,000 (N45,000,000) to pursue her Ph.D. in Oxford in 2012.
In a clip uploaded to Joshua’s official YouTube channel Emmanuel TV, Olayinka gives clear advice to her fellow students seeking academic success: “Pray as if everything depends on God and work as if everything depends on you.”
With graduation around the corner, a bright future lies squarely ahead for the young Nigerian engineer.
Ihechukwu Njoku is a freelance Nigerian journalist who writes about the Synagogue Church of God.