In her own words, “I am excited to have been selected as one of the three finalists for the Science and Sustainability Category of the UK Alumni Award 2023 scheduled for Saturday 4th February 2023. It is indeed rewarding to have your efforts towards your community being recognized and rewarded at National and International level. The Study UK Alumni Awards celebrate the outstanding achievements of alumni and showcase the impact of UK higher education. Award winners and finalists are leaders in their fields who have used their experience of studying at a UK university to make a positive contribution to their communities, industries, and countries. Thank you College of Medicine, University of Ibadan (CoMUI)! Thanks to Premier University of Ibadan, Nigeria for the TETFUND funding for my PhD study in the UK. Thank you, University of Surrey, UK. It is a beautiful day! Praise God! #BritishCouncil# #scienceandsustainability# #foreversurrey#”.

I am eternally grateful to my Mentor, Professor Rasheed Ajani Bakare for his continuous support towards my career. I am grateful that I have made him proud of the efforts he has invested in my career development!” Adeola Fowotade

2013 marked a significant turning point for Adeola as an early career researcher at the University of Ibadan.  She was under intense pressure to be productive and to meet up with the expectations of her terms of engagement and she was at her wits end about how to advance her career. She was fortunate to have been selected by the University of Ibadan for TETFUND funding by the Nigerian Government towards the pursuit of a postgraduate degree in her field.

Her aim was to gain greater insights into strategies for developing her research focus, enhancing her teaching and mentoring skills and at the same time impacting her community! What felt like a dream has finally come true!

Her doctoral studies journey began with a flight out of Nigeria on the 31st of September 2013. Determined to make the best of her quest, she left behind her immediate family including a 2-year-old toddler. It was a period of intense learning for her, both within and outside the four walls of the laboratory where she conducted her research.  In addition to the numerous technical skills, she acquired during this period, she also observed and developed several virtues that have shaped her post-doctoral experiences. These include, the benefits of punctuality, the need for documentation, perseverance, diligence, being goal oriented alongside skills for effective communication.  Additionally, she learnt and mastered several skills in molecular biology. Alongside her doctoral research project, she was involved in two other projects with colleagues from within the University of Surrey as well as her supervisor’s collaborators in Switzerland. It was time well utilized as she also developed confidence in science communication from attendance and oral presentations of her research data at major meetings in Microbiology around the globe.

She experienced the benefit of teamwork among peers as her interaction with other colleagues in the department helped to provide new ideas and direction to advance her research.  Of significant note, she learnt the benefit of perseverance as she experienced several failures in her laboratory experiments and thus acquired troubleshooting abilities and critical thinking to solve problems.

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She turned her disadvantages into strengths following the adage ‘When life hands you lemons, you must learn to turn them into lemonade’. Doctoral students in larger research groups with many post-docs seemed to have an advantage with technical support. As a lone doctoral student within a small research team, Adeola had increased responsibilities and also had the opportunity of being trained on the use of several equipment alongside how to set them up for use with little technical support. 

She also had to spend more time reading up on her own to find answers to the challenges she encountered with her laboratory experiments. This led to a search for online technical support and her application for the UK 2014 Primerdesign Award, which she won in the Gold category. Primerdesign sponsors postgraduate students across the UK by providing free and discounted real-time PCR reagents as part of their postgraduate sponsorship scheme to actively promote good science. The support from Primerdesign Sponsorships provided useful data set which she subsequently published

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Congratulations Dr. Fowotade, the entire CoMUI Community is proud of you.

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