Ifeoma Ebinumoliseh

University of KwaZulu-Natal

Location: Duban, South Africa

"I entered those doors as a student, and I emerged as a young aspiring scientist."

I grew up in Nigeria, Africa, a country where it is still difficult to grow up a girl. Education is a great privilege where I come from, where the admissions process for a public university may take a decade if you cannot afford to attend a private one.

It took me half a decade to make it to university after secondary school, because I refused to bribe my way through. I knew that I had to fight for my right to an education and that I would only get one by being strong-willed and by refusing to give up. Some people sail their way into school without a care; for me, it was a battle of persistence and determination to even get to the door. But I never doubted one thing, no matter what messages I received growing up: that I was just as worthy of an education as anyone else.

To make matters more complicated, I wanted to study science, which remains a male-dominated field. I have always wanted to find a bio-organic treatment for diabetes. A monumental task! The road looked uncertain. But my drive to succeed at school was absolutely unquenchable.

I weathered through the storm of my classes and graduated amongst the top five percent in my class. Against the odds, I earned a BSc in Applied Chemistry. I entered those doors a student, and I emerged as a young aspiring scientist.

In my first job I was rated Best Employee three times in a row. Even better, I was able to save up enough from the corporate world to be able to afford to study in a country that has more facilities to help me pursue my dreams.

In 2013,I migrated to the South Africa and enrolled at the University Of KwaZulu-Natal, one of the best universities on the continent. I am currently researching as a bioinorganic chemist and completing graduate school. I intend to find other treatments for diabetes and to push myself to discover new things in the scientific world.

I am getting ever-closer to my goal. If anyone is feeling bad about the bleakness of the future, take it from me: with determination, you can seize the opportunity of your dreams.