Science Dreams of Global Proportions

December 20, 2014

Alumna Gabby Odudu (’13) has wanted to work in medicine since she was a little girl. She was born with glaucoma and had numerous major surgeries between the ages of 18 months and five years old. “I basically grew up in hospitals, and I fell in love with the environment. I thought it was so fascinating, and I decided I wanted to be a pediatrician through that experience,” she says.

Twenty years and one biochemistry degree later, Gabby is still working towards becoming a pediatrician. In particular, she dreams of opening clinics in her home country of Nigeria to provide kids with basic health care. “I want to start a clinic in my home country of Nigeria, where kids are dying of the flu. This is a huge injustice in my eyes because we have easy access to one of the most feasible, cost-effective preventative measures here in the States, the flu vaccine, and I want to extend our resources in attempts of reducing such tragedies abroad,” she says.   

Gabby firmly believes the science program at Biola has prepared her for getting into medical school. Although initially set on going to big-name research schools, Gabby decided to attend Biola. “I really liked the professors I got to meet when I visited campus, and I was impressed with the almost 90% acceptance rate to medical school,” she says.  

Though she considers the professors to be one of the highlights of the science program, she also notes the rigor of classes and hands-on experience as other highlights. For example, she and other students got to work with chemistry professor Dr. Ridley on a project he was coordinating in conjunction with MIT. The goal of the project was to find a clean energy source through nanocrystal synthesis for solar panels. “We were trying to alter the surface energy of the particles to absorb more energy, which would potentially create a better source of renewable energy. It is a really big topic in the tech world, but it also should be important to us as Christians because God calls us to take care of his creation,” she says.

Gabby sees her Biola science education as invaluable. The academic training she received has prepared her to succeed in medical school, and has helped her succeed in her current graduate program. “The support and prayer from the professors has been invaluable, and at the end of the day, I am really glad I came to Biola even if it were just for that,” she says.

After graduation, Gabby completed an accelerated Masters of Global Medicine at the Keck Medical School at USC to gain a solid foundation in international healthcare. Once in graduate school, Gabby realized the depth and caliber of Biola’s science program on a whole new level. “In my master’s program, all my peers were from prestigious state and private schools–all the schools I envisioned myself at, and turned down to attend Biola. I felt like the small fish in the pond,” she says. However, after leading a few study sessions for a biochemistry review, she saw how Biola’s personalized education gave her a head start on her peers. “I realized that the quality of education I received was better than those around me. After each review, my peers were dumbfounded and asked “How did you know that?" or "I never learned that; explain it again!" They hadn’t learned these things because they did not have the same classroom environment and dedicated professors that I was blessed to have,” she explains.

Gabby is now in the process of applying to medical school. She is confident that she will be well-prepared for the rigour and challenges she will face in medical school, thanks to the solid foundation from her Biola education.

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