Two Nigerians, Adeola Olubamiji and Ajibola Abitoye have been named on RBC’s Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award winners list for 2020.
The RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant Award is an annual campaign by Canadian Immigrant magazine, presented by the Royal Bank of Canada, that recognizes outstanding work by immigrants who “have come to Canada and have made a positive difference living in the country.”
Adeola is the first black person to obtain a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from the University of Saskatchewan, Canada. She is also a senior additive manufacturing engineer at Cummins Inc. Indiana.
She got her bachelor’s degree from the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ogun State, Nigeria. She is also the Founder of STEMHub Foundation, a non-profit organization promoting the engagement of minorities in STEM careers through creative, free, hands-on and minds-on STEM workshops on various STEM topics and one-to-one mentoring program.
Sharing the exciting news on her personal Twitter page, she wrote:
I am thrilled to announce that I am a 2020 Winner of the RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrants Awards!
Words failed me Loudly crying face. I came to Canada as a PhD student and it’s been a journey. I lived in basements and worked as a salesgirl.
Everyone who heard that I was studying Biomedical Engineering / 3D-printing thought I wouldn’t be able to secure a job with such an “absurd degree”. So, they pitied me.
I tried to quit my PhD degree a couple of times when it got really rough. I turned down an engagement. Every birthday above 30, I cried and asked why I didn’t just settle for that guy.
Sometimes I look back at those memories and can’t believe how much have changed since I finished my PhD in 2016! To all researchers, your innovative work may confuse laymen but keep going!
I am thankful to @STEMHub_ and proud of the work we are doing to impact our immediate communities and beyond. Thank you to our pool of volunteers and directors who continued to deliver impactful work! My life has a deeper meaning because of all we do impacting lives!
To every new Canadian immigrant trying to figure it out, this award is dedicated to you! Find a mentor if you need one. Network like your life depends on it. There is a reason why Canada chose you, it’s time to manifest your potential! I believe in you and I am rooting for you!
Keep going! Take up space! As far as you can see, you truly can possess! To my social media family, I know I can count of you! Thank you for voting!
Just five years after immigrating from Nigeria, Ajibola was elected as a councillor for the City of Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta, in 2017. She would be serving a 4-year term until 2021.
While her background was in economics and banking in Nigeria, Abitoye has been fearless about change. She even went back to school at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology (NAIT) to become a power engineer. And, last year, while juggling her civic duties, and three children under six years, she started her own fashion business, Divineity Fashion Inc.
In February 2020, Abitoye had the privilege of showcasing her collection at the prestigious New York Fashion Week, only three months after starting her fashion line.
Sharing the goodness on her personal Facebook page, she wrote:
Thank you to everyone that took time to vote. Y’all are the real MVP. I’m proud to announce to you that your girl is a 2020 RBC Top 25 Canadian Immigrant WINNER. Can’t wait to see what the rest of 2020 holds, it’s been a tough year for all of us but I tell you the best is yet to come. Cheers to this unprecedented year 2020. I’m not giving up on you, I still have a lot of faith and hope in this year. The best is yet to come! You are unstoppable! In this same year that people have completely written off is coming a NEW DAWN! The best is yet to come for all of us. Only believe.