Editor's Note: Damilola Junaid was a runner-up for the 2016 CCCU Young Alumni Award.
A simple Google search led Damilola Junaid to the campus that would change the course of her career path.
A Nigerian native who attended high school in London, Junaid was searching for a Christian university that would enable her to begin the process of becoming a doctor and also fit her other criteria, such as campus size and financial aid availability. Her search led her to Gordon College in Wenham, Massachusetts, where she majored in biology in the pre-medicine concentration. She later added a minor in economics, and it was a course in economic development that shifted her focus from medicine to public health.
“[The class] sparked my interest in better understanding the relationship between how a country’s economic state affects its healthcare system. Our class discussions about aid versus trade helped me realize every nation has the potential for growth if it invests in its people and creates opportunities for trade,” she says.
Junaid hopes to one day hold a leadership role in determining the trajectory of any healthcare field she decides to pursue, particularly in Nigeria. To that end, she entered Gordon’s first business plan competition her senior year and won a prize to launch her proposed organization: ARISE, a nonprofit that addresses the stigma of STD testing in Nigeria.
In addition to ARISE, Junaid also currently works as a research technician in the OB/GYN department at Brigham & Women’s Hospital in Boston, Massachusetts, where she and her colleagues work on understanding the links between various reproductive issues pertaining to the health of women and babies around the world.
Junaid says that her education at Gordon not only helped shape her career but it also strengthened and shaped her faith. “[Gordon] taught me to ask the right questions about my faith – to not see Christianity as black and white, but to learn to be patient with myself and others in figuring out who we are in Christ,” she says. “[At times] I questioned my faith and had doubts, but my understanding is being strengthened on a daily basis, and my worldview has changed over the years for the better as a result.”
Morgan C. Feddes is the managing editor of Advance.