Dr. Adesanmi Abel Ojo returned to Forsyth Technical Community College last week, telling students how the path that led him to a career in medicine began at Forsyth Tech.
Ojo dreamed of being a doctor since his childhood in his native Nigeria. He would watch his father, Abel Ojo, a nurse anesthetist, interact with patients at a local clinic.
“I knew for me the road leading to success was always medicine,” said Ojo. “I just needed a place to go to achieve that goal.”
He found that place in 2002, after his family moved to Forsyth County. He drove by Forsyth Tech by chance and ended up enrolling at the school. He earned an associate degree in biology. After graduating from Forsyth Tech, he transferred to the University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he earned a BS degree in 2006. He just became a medical doctor after graduating from the medical college at the American University of Antigua. The school is located in St. John’s on the Caribbean islands of Antigua and Barbuda.
While preparing for his residency, he is pursuing an online MBA in general management and health care administration from Plymouth State University.
Ojo has three siblings who’ve all attended Forsyth Tech and had similar success stories. He has a brother who works in the aeronautic engineering field, and one sister who is a nurse and another who is in medical school.
He said the lower cost of taking courses at a community college is a great advantage, especially for medical students, who rack up a lot of debt by the time they become doctors. Ojo also believes that the education offered at Forsyth Tech is just as good as the instruction at four-year colleges and universities. He added that the smaller classes at Forsyth Tech allowed for more on-one-one time with instructors and easier access to the school’s Learning Center, where he served as a biology and chemistry tutor.
“Take any course you can take here at Forsyth Tech before you transfer,” said Ojo. “Trust me, when you transfer you will see the difference.”
He reassured students that when other colleges and employers see Forsyth Tech on their resumes, it’ll leave a positive impression. Despite the college’s small size, he said, Forsyth Tech has garnered a national reputation that has led to visits from President Barack Obama and former President George W. Bush in recent years.
“Forsyth Tech has made a name,” Ojo said. “…I think any student that comes here will not regret it.”
Ojo said that his resume has also been bolstered by his work with his family’s nonprofit, Help the Helpless Inc., which has taken him back to Nigeria to work with his father and other health care professionals in rural areas of the country.
Forsyth Tech student Caesar Moore listened intently to Ojo’s tips and advice. Moore plans to follow a similar path by transferring to UNCG to earn a biochemistry degree before going on to medical school.
He said Ojo’s speech encouraged him even more.
“I thought it was amazing,” said Moore. “I always wanted to hear first hand from an actual doctor’s perspective what medical school is like.”
Ojo’s speech, which was delivered in Forsyth Tech’s Ardmore Auditorium on the school’s main campus, was part of the SciTech Lecture series. Sponsored by Forsyth Tech’s National Center for the Biotechnology Workforce (NCBW), SciTech lectures focus on science and technology and are held three times a semester. The lectures have featured a variety of topics, including alternative energy and HIV/AIDS, and have drawn more than 1,500 attendees over the last three years.
Russ Read is the executive director of NCBW, which seeks to represent, enable and lead the national biotechnology workforce. He said that he hoped Ojo’s lecture showed students and the public that a Forsyth Tech education can open doors to any career.
“(Ojo’s experience is) exactly the kind of career development that happens for a lot of people at Forsyth Tech and there are countless stories like that,” said Read.
The next SciTech lecture will be Jan. 17 at 4 p.m. in Ardmore Auditorium. Christy Schaffer of Hatteras Venture Capital, a Durham biotechnology venture capital firm, will speak.
For more information, visit biotechworkforce.org.