A Mission for Medicine

As a 17-year-old living in Abjua, Nigeria, Ibukun Akinboyo ′08 sat down to browse the internet in search of a place to call home while pursuing her college education. She stumbled across a small, private Christian school in Beaver Falls, PA-Geneva College.

Ibukun′s father is an engineer in Nigeria, and she entered Geneva with the intention of following in his footsteps. But after joining a spring break mission trip, everything changed. "In Jamaica I decided I had to help people," she remembers. "I knew I had to be a doctor. This is where I felt called."

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"In Jamaica I knew I had to help people... I knew I had to be a doctor. This is where I felt called."

She soon switched her major to biology, with a concentration in pre-medicine. Because she graduated from high school at only 16 (and her dad pronounced her "too scrawny to leave the country"), she waited for a year to apply to colleges. During that time, Ibukun worked as an elementary teacher′s aide and developed a love for working with kids. Her passions fused into a dream of being a pediatrician.

Going to medical school takes careful planning to fit in the necessary requirements in time to take the MCATs. Fortunately for her, Geneva assigns every student a faculty advisor whose job is to do just that. Her adviser, Dr. David Essig, helped her every step of the way, walking her through the classes she needed, preparing her for the MCATs, and helping her research and apply to medical schools.

"In retrospect, I don′t think I could have done this anywhere else," says Ibukun. "Some of my friends went to big schools where they got lost in the shuffle, but it′s like God just dropped Dr. Essig into my life."

This kind of personal attention was even more critical for Ibukun than for most pre-medical graduates. As an international student, state schools will not accept her on the chance that she will receive her education and then immediately put it to use in another country. This forced her to limit her search to small, private medical schools, where she still had less than a 1% chance of being accepted.

But get accepted she did. And thanks to her hard work, Ibukun graduated from Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia in 2012. She is currently a second-year resident at Johns Hopkins University, Children′s Center.

"Academically, I was prepared for medical school through my education at Geneva" Ibukun says. "Spiritually, I was prepared as well. And as a liberal arts school, Geneva′s classes in ethics, political science and many others helped to prepare me for the difficult decisions I would have to make working in the medical field."

Ibukun recently completed a medical mission trip to an underprivileged area in Haiti. And while she is not positive of the path her future will take her, one thing is certain-her experience at Geneva prepared her well for her vocational calling.

Geneva College has a wide variety of health career goals supported by the Biology Department, including pre-medical, pre-dental, pre-veterinarian, pre-physical therapy, pre-occupational therapy, pre-physician assistant, pre-nursing, cardiovascular science and medical technology programs.

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February 2014


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