Written by: ILANA REIMER
Lois shares her experience as an Ambassador for the 2017 SMART START Youth Summit.
When Lois Oladejo, 22, gets asked about her goals, there is one dream that’s always quick to come to mind. Her parents are from Nigeria, and she herself spent 10 years living there.
While there, Lois discovered that many people in Nigeria end up dying from minor problems that shouldn’t cause death, simply because they didn’t get the proper testing. Lois’ grandparents were among them.
“This is something that has to be addressed,” Lois said. “One of my goals is to get my MD. I hope that at some point I can go back and create structured health care in Nigeria.”
Right now, Lois is in her fifth year of biology at the University of Ottawa. Her favourite author is Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and her top TV show choice is How to Get Away with Murder. Her interests include singing, watching movies and reading. “Just really chill stuff,” she said.
Since last year, Lois has been the co-president of the Black Student Leaders Association at the University of Ottawa. Right now, this is her main way of contributing to her community.
Lois said that she has tried to find more ways to give back since being an ambassador in the 2017 SMART START Youth Summit. “It was a lot of fun,” she said of last year’s summit. “It was really nice networking with the other ambassadors. We all became really tight-knit after the initial training that we had.”
She found that being an ambassador was very humbling. The youth who participated were so enthusiastic and had so many great ideas. Lois discovered that they had so many things to teach her, just as she had different experiences to share with them. “That was the thing I took home with me,” she said. “The ability to learn from others—even if you’re in a role of leadership.”
SMART START provides many opportunities to grow and learn. For Lois, the takeaways were not just from the speakers, but from interacting with a younger generation.
She valued discovering what they were passionate about and the ways they were reaching out to their communities. “We find inspiration from the places we least expect it,” she said.
After graduating, Lois plans to go to medical school and then pursue her idea of working with hospitals and the Nigerian government to improve the country’s systems and help them move forward.
“I always knew that I wanted to be involved in healthcare since I was younger,” Lois said. “But I wanted to be more than just a doctor. I want to give back and help improve lives for people in Nigeria.”
We would like to thank all those who have applied to be either an ambassador or a delegate for our 2018 SMART START summit. The selected candidates will be announced soon!