Anuoluwapo Asaolu ‘19

A junior at Bowdoin College, Anuoluwapo Asaolu or ‘Anu’, as she is often called, has an eclectic range of passions: from healthcare to fashion and acting. A neuroscience major and theatre minor, Anu is reflective of how Neuroscience has become a significant aspect of her identity – “It allows me to challenge myself, and to understand how we can think about problems, their solutions and how they manifest in our daily lives, particularly with sickness and mental illness” she said.

Anu received a funded internship grant from the Preston Public Interest Career Fund through Bowdoin Career Planning, which allowed her to work at the Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan this summer. The Bellevue Hospital is a free public hospital that serves a large homeless and minority population. “It was an enlightening experience, but one that was also tough and draining. I learned a lot about homelessness, addiction, and also the social determinants of health and how they manifest into chronic diseases,” she said.

Born and raised in Nigeria, the duality of being both Nigerian and American is important to her. She wants to give back to the community that raised her but also to the one that she lives in now – “I know I wouldn’t be happy with myself if I didn’t do both” she said. Reflecting on her Bowdoin experience, Anu states the impact that Bowdoin has had on her life: “Six years ago, I was in Nigeria and not going to school because my parents couldn’t afford it. Bowdoin was the place that truly gave me a new perspective on the world and on myself. I will always say thank you to Bowdoin for that”.

Despite initially struggling with neuroscience, Anu’s love for the discipline never faltered: “I failed my first neuroscience test and ended up crying in my professor’s office, but I’m still a neuroscience major. That was one of my most defining moments – the ability to still love something despite struggling with it”.

Her internship made her realize that although she loves neurosurgery, the reason why she is pursuing medicine is “to help people in their daily lives and to put the human before the disease”. Anu has decided that she wants to take a few years after graduation before going to Medical School to better understand the patient population that she wants to work with. She wants more experiences in medicine in contexts where people may not have access to insurance and sufficient healthcare.