While growing up in Ungwan Matari, a suburban town in Kaduna, Nigeria, the sight of people getting healed after taking a drug always struck me as fascinating. Often I would freeze for minutes staring at the Patient while wondering how a substance could transform the pathological state of the human body to a healthy one. I was uninformed on the concepts of drug efficacy, mechanism of action of drugs, drug receptors, pharmacokinetic profiles of drugs, and pathophysiology of diseases. Nevertheless, I had this uncommon curiosity which I still do. I would sometimes ask questions about how a giant metal vehicle could fly despite the number of people and cargo it carries.
It 6was in a high school Chemistry class that I first learned about alloys and how duralumin, a hard but lightweight alloy of aluminum, copper, manganese, and magnesium is put to use in airframe fabrication due to its strength and active resistance to corrosion. My interest in Health-related subjects since grew because they were the subjects that offered me reasonable explanations to the questions I usually asked when I was much younger. I am the third born to a middle-class family of six children, and the first person on both sides of my family to have attended and graduated from a University. Even though my father was late since I was eight, my mum and Father’s Siblings were able to fend for me, establish norms, and inspire excellence.
Being the most curious child amongst my siblings, I grew up with a strong passion for the pursuit of knowledge, and I knew early on that I would go to college, even though I was living in a small town where such a thing was almost unknown. My performance in the West African Certificate Examination (WEAC) for high school graduates was outstanding, and I got into Kaduna State University (KASU). While in school, I organized tutorials and group discussions at least twice every week for some Pharmacy and Faculty of Sciences students who were academically challenged. Also, I led a group of five students throughout my undergraduate laboratory practicals and eventually I graduated as the best student of my class.
Being the leader of my undergraduate laboratory group for five years and being able to help some students through free tutorials and discussions, I learned earlier the significance of teamwork and collaboration. Proper teamwork makes arduous responsibilities easy, and the assignment of a team suffers when there is disagreement or misunderstanding amidst members. I had hands-on experience in chemical research during my undergraduate research project (see resume for thesis title) under the guidance of Dr. Gideon Wyasu.
I was privileged to carry out part of my research at the National Research Institute for Chemical Technology (NARICT) where I experimentally determined and statistically evaluated the added retinol, thiamine, and riboflavin contents of commercially available wheat flour samples stored for varying lengths of time, using UV spectrophotometry. Dietary iron, which is a vital fortificant for wheat flour in Nigeria, was determined in each brand of wheat flour using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) at KASU. Some of my experiments involved working for long hours, and the results were often sterile in the first trial due to the varied lengths of storage time and conditions my samples were exposed to during the research. From this experience, I learned the essence of consistency and patience while carrying out research. I believe these are core values that will be resourceful to me in graduate school.
My research findings elicited the shortcomings in the Nigerian wheat flour fortification program; I found that all the different brands of wheat flour samples had little or no dietary iron. All the samples showed high compliance with the standard retinol expectation in the international unit (IU) per gram. Thiamine and riboflavin fortificants were found to be insufficient and below the standard expectation in most brands of wheat flour samples analyzed. Therefore, based on my findings, I generated invaluable recommendations for the food regulatory agencies and wheat flour milling companies in Nigeria.
I am currently conducting experiments on flour samples from more states in Nigeria using High-Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC) at Covenant University (CU). The additional research is meant to expand the scope of the study I have earlier carried out and to identify a preferred method for analyzing the fortificants of interest. With the help of Prof. Williams Akan, the Faculty Chair, Department of Chemistry at CU, I am making appropriate preparations to publish this research in the Nigerian Journal of Science (NJS). I was one of the two students selected from my undergraduate laboratory group to assist Prof.
G.I. Ndukwe in his research titled “Phytochemical and Antimicrobial Activity Screening of the Leaves, Stem bark, and Root extracts of Ficus Abutilifolia (Miq)” at Ahmadu Bello University (ABU), Zaria. I carried out two extractions on the crude powder of the stem bark samples using ethanol and ethyl acetate in order to identify the effective solvent to extract F. abutilifolia. The phytochemical screening of the plant parts revealed the presence of saponins, tannins, flavonoids, alkaloids, and anthraquinones. Physical constants of the crude powdered plant and thin layer chromatography (TLC) resolution of the pure ethanol extracts were determined.
After the antimicrobial screening of the phytochemical components, the research showed that the secondary metabolites of the leaves extracts of F. abutilifolia have a strong potential to be used as a non-resistant drug for the treatment of typhoid fever due to the active inhibition of Salmonella typhi observed. During my seven months internship at the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control (NAFDAC), I gained experience with sophisticated instruments such as HPLC, Gas chromatography/Mass Spectroscopy, AAS, ELISA Reader, Universal Dissolution Tester (UDT), and UV/VIS Spectroscopy. While in NAFDAC, I carried out a personal research on the topic titled “Comparative studies of the proximate properties of finger millet (Eleusine coracana) and hungry rice (Digitaria exilis) cultivated in the Southern Kaduna area of Nigeria.” I also learned more about NMR and FTIR during my research assistantship at ABU. Upon graduation from KASU with a first class degree in Chemistry, I was awarded the second best graduating student in the Faculty of Science. I knew what I was passionate about and consequently, what would keep me joyful for the rest of my life.
My drive has been the desire to be part of the profession that provides answers and solutions to the world, by groundbreaking research and by equipping the young for the future through unparalleled teaching and mentoring. I worked in a private high school where I taught Chemistry to high school students. I found that I needed to illustrate virtually every concept I introduced in class using plastic atomic models, chemicals, and various laboratory apparatus at my disposal. I realized that patience, commitment, and understanding are indespensable qualities that are required when teaching high school students. Therefore, driven by the search for world-class research and professional excellence in Nigeria; I accepted a Teaching Assistant position at Covenant University (CU), currently the best private University in the country. The weekly Organic Chemistry laboratory sessions and tutorials I teach have been exciting and rewarding.
With my on-going research at CU, previous experiences in analytical and organic chemistry research areas, internship research, leadership experience at NAFDAC and in student associations (see resume), my organizational and leadership skills have been honed, and my motivation for attending graduate school is strengthened. I feel these experiences have made me a well-rounded person. I am entering graduate school well prepared to meet the challenges. Ever since I presented on the topic “Nanocomposites and their applications” at the 14th international conference of the Association of Textiles Technologists of Nigeria (ATTN), the depth of knowledge and understanding I derived while preparing for this presentation reminded me of my childhood curiosity to understand the “mystery” of a flying plane. This experience fanned into flames my interest in Materials and Nanochemistry. Specific areas of interest to me are metal coordination chemistry, Inorganic materials, renewable energy, solid state synthesis, and energetic materials.
To that effect, I am intrigued by the on-going research of Profs. Leonard and Roddick, on the current investigation of bimetallic carbides as alternative catalyst materials and the application of novel perfluorinated phosphine ligands (PFAP’s) to a variety of challenging problems in metal coordination chemistry and homogeneous catalysis. I also find fascinating the on-going investigation of Prof. Parkinson on new photovoltaic materials using nanoparticle precursors and his current study on ultra-high vacuum surface science. In addition to having Professors whose research interest aligns with mine, am drawn to the outstanding research facilities housed in the ENZI building at UW. More so, the availability of the Materials Characterization Laboratories and High-Resolution Transmission Electron Microscopy facility (HRTEM) assures me that UW is the right place for me to explore and research extensively on my areas of interest.
I have been privileged to hold some leadership positions before (see resume) and as a result, I know the value and relevance of having excellent communication skill as a leader. Therefore, I find the idea of training graduate students at UW to improve their professional development, presentation, and teaching skills to be extremely attractive. Also, I have seen the physically and mentally demanding sports of skiing and rock climbing before, but only on television. Therefore for me, schooling in Laramie also means getting the opportunity to try out these exciting activities for recreational purposes.
Obtaining an advanced degree requires strong commitment and consistency; it also means going one step ahead in my career. My long-term goal is to become a professor of Pharmaceutics and to initiate and lead ground-breaking research in the nearest future. To achieve my goal, I am confident that going through the M.S. Pharmaceutics program at London Metropolitan University will better prepare me for my future career. It will bring me great joy to see something that I developed or started, go from an idea to product and then into the hands of other researchers for the advancement of science in building the future.
I hope to be the kind of graduate who will bring honor to London Metropolitan University throughout his career. Thank you for your consideration.