Pre-med senior despises pity, demands respect

Nicholas Olivera/Staff Writer

Kenya Adeola, a pre-med senior, demands no sympathy for her past.

She was brought up in nine different foster care families, but all she wants is to be shown respect for what she has accomplished — not pity.

“When people see me, they see my past,” said Adeola. “Just because I’m a foster child doesn’t mean anything.”

To be affluent in Spanish, French and Mandarin Chinese is important for Adeola. A Spanish major, she seeks to communicate and attend to the medical needs of patients with different cultures and backgrounds.

“I want to be a doctor, so I need to learn the most popular languages in the world, said Adeola. “I want to be able to make my patients as comfortable as possible.”

Adeola has been able to put her language skills to work as a first grade English and Spanish reading tutor at Dr. Carlos J. Finlay Elementary School in Miami. She only tutors first grade students who qualify for intervention, meaning they read at or below their grade level.

She is also a member of the greek society Alpha Kappa Psi, the oldest and largest professional business fraternity in the nation, according to the official AKPsi website. Also, she is an event coordinator for the American Medical Student Association.

Such a busy schedule may appear hectic to the average college student, but Kenya assures that her schedule isn’t anything out of the ordinary.

“I go to work. I go to school. I look for grad applications and scholarships. There’s so many things to worry about,” said Adeola. “I have to take the GRE. I’m just completely stressed out, but I do feel like it’s a normal amount of stress.”

According to Adeola’s professors, there is no obstacle too great for her to overcome.

Spanish Senior Instructor for the Modern Languages Department Aurelio Baldor said he has a lot of students, but Adeola has stood out from the rest.

“She’s a non-Spanish native, and what impressed me mostly is the fact that she could compete very successfully with all native speakers in different classes,” said Baldor. “And she did very well.”

According to English Assistant Professor Paul Feigenbaum, Adeola is a student who simply enjoys learning just for the sake of learning.

“Kenya is a very enthusiastic, very motivated student. She’s the best kind of student because she is intrinsically motivated.”

Feigenbaum said he remembers a lesson he taught that seemed insignificant for many of his students, but not for Adeola.

“Just recently, she had asked to read [On Purpose by Vic Strecher] that we had looked at a small excerpt of. She wanted to read the whole thing,” said Feigenbaum. “And she wrote an assignment on it just on her own.”

With all her focus and triumph at the University, Adeola said she wants her success to serve as proof to her brother, now a high school freshman, that obstacles don’t matter.

She switched from five different high schools before entering FIU with a 4.0. She wants to be a role model for him to show that there is no excuse for not achieving greater success in life.

“He’s learning Spanish now and I expect him to perfect it,” she said. “Once his Spanish is perfect, I can start teaching him Chinese.”

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