Olayinka Awokoya

Olayinka Awokoya
  • Major: Mathematics & Science with a concentration in Biology
  • Home: Nigeria

One of the worst moments of Olayinka Awokoya’s life set him on his career path. It happened in June of 2016 in his home country of Nigeria. Awokoya was riding a bus to college when it was rammed by another bus. “It was so sudden. My whole life flashed before my eyes. First I thought I was dead. Then I realized I couldn’t feel my leg.”

The impact of the crash left Awokoya with a serious injury. He was rushed to the hospital and treated but his leg never healed correctly. As he struggled to recover, Awokoya knew what he needed to do. His wife of one year, who was also from Nigeria, was working as a nurse at SUNY Upstate Medical University in Syracuse. “I decided to move to the United States so I could get better health care and start a family.”

Shortly after arriving in the U.S. in November of 2016 Awokoya went to the doctor for a second opinion. “I was told my leg was not done properly and they had to do it again.” He went through two corrective surgeries and is hoping to be out of his cast next year.

Awokoya’s experience gave him a career focus. “I decided I wanted to work in the health care system.” In January of this year, he started taking classes at OCC. He’s a Mathematics & Science major with a focus on Biology. Earlier this semester he was inducted into the college’s chapter of international honor society Phi Theta Kappa. “It was a very wonderful moment. It shows that hard work pays off.”

The Onondaga Community College experience has been exactly what Awokoya needed as he transitioned from Nigeria to the United States. He’s a regular in the library, the Learning Center, the C-STEP office and the Office of Accessibility Resources. “Coming to OCC has been a wonderful opportunity for me. I’ve met so many people who are so supportive every time I need their help. I’m happy to come here every day because it feels like home.”

Awokoya will keep coming to OCC until the end of the spring semester. Then he plans to transfer to the University of Buffalo and begin pursuing a bachelor’s degree in Nursing.