Local Medical Student Receives National Head Start Scholarship

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Bolajoko Adeniyi has always wanted to assist people who were in need of, but couldn’t afford, quality health care. But first the 28-year-old Belleville woman had to take on the high cost of studying medicine.

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I was so surprised and excited to win... The money will certainly be put to good use and will get me that much closer to paying off my loans

Bolajoko Adeniyi has always wanted to assist people who were in need of, but couldn’t afford, quality health care. But first the 28-year-old Belleville woman had to take on the high cost of studying medicine.

So, when the medical student learned that she had won the National Head Start Association’s Dr. Scott Harkley Memorial Scholarship, she was grateful for the financial help. Adeniyi is a former participant in the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Head Start/Early Head Start Program, based at the SIUE East St. Louis Center.

“I have a house worth of loans to pay back,” said Adeniyi, who recently won the award which comes with a $1,500 cash prize. Adeniyi was given the award at the recent Annual Head Start Awards Ceremony and Dinner in Dallas, Texas.

Adeniyi’s name was included in the national competition for the scholarship award after she was selected at the state level. “I was so surprised and excited to win,” she said. “The money will certainly be put to good use and will get me that much closer to paying off my loans.”

Dr. Scott Harkley Memorial Scholarship candidates are required to be Head Start graduates pursuing medical careers. Adeniyi said she received a great introduction to education as a preschool student at St. Joseph Head Start Center in East St. Louis, where her mother Mary Adeniyi was a volunteer and now currently employed.

“My mother has worked a long time for Head Start, and I volunteered at the Belleville Head Start Center when I was in high school,” Adeniyi said. “I love children and we both realize the importance of good education.”

Adeniyi is currently a fourth-year student at Ross University School of Medicine. She is finishing clinical work in gynecology at St. Anthony’s Hospital in Chicago and is studying for medical board exams. The future doctor graduated from the University of Illinois Urbana/Champaign in 2004 and then did DNA research at the Washington University Medical School Genome Sequencing Center in St. Louis.

As a doctor, Adeniyi plans to help with the medical needs of children and adults and instruct them on good health care practices.

With a focus on empowering people and strengthening communities, the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville East St. Louis Center is dedicated to improving the lives of families and individuals of all ages in the Metro East Area. The SIUE Head Start/Early Head Start, a charter school and a performing arts center are among 12 programs that offer the community renewed hope and an opportunity to reach their educational, career and life goals.

SIU Edwardsville offers the advantages of a small, liberal arts college with the low tuition rates of a state university. Our emphasis on undergraduate education, complemented by faculty research, creates practical applications for student learning. Located in the second most populated area of the state, this Illinois university draws students from all 102 Illinois counties, 42 states and 50 nations.

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