Last December, biology major Michael Bamimore was awarded the Arts and Sciences Dean’s Undergraduate Research Fund Grant. He also received the Best Poster Award for his presentation at the Rutgers–New Brunswick Microbiology Symposium this past January. His project, “Physiological properties and synthesis of the Caulobacter crenscentus stalk,” required five months of research. His research strives to understand the stalk growth and properties of the gram-negative Caulobacter crescentus. Balancing logic, research, and compassion, Michael ultimately desires to be a neurosurgeon in order to help save lives; deepening his understanding of biology also helps him pursue his passion for aiding others.
“It was exhilarating,” Michael says about his presentation. He admits that he was nervous when he first presented his project, but soon got used to presenting and enjoyed himself. The symposium was not just for undergraduates, but for scholars from many different backgrounds, many of whom assured him that he was headed for success.
Michael originally attended Fairleigh Dickinson University, but the experience there did not propel him to where he envisioned himself. “I wasn’t doing so well there,” he says, “[Transferring to] Rutgers–Camden was one of the best choices I ever made in my life.” Although change is not always easy, Michael stayed positive. “The transition was rough, but I had help… my peers were willing to help me.” Michael is also a member of the Phi Mu Delta Fraternity, which also provides him with a sense of community and support.
Not only did his peers help him, but professors encouraged Michael to move forward. He explains that Dr. Eric Klein, Assistant Professor of Biology, Dr. David Salas, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, and Mr. Paul More, Part-Time Lecturer of Calculus, helped him reach higher standards in academia. “[They] pushed me a lot, in a good way.” Michael did not think he could do what was required of him. “I didn’t think I was able…but I did it.”
Michael is originally from Nigeria, and he says that he thinks that in comparison, Nigerian schools are more rigorous than American schools. “It’s not easy here, but over there… you didn’t have room for any mistakes.” He adds that in his experience at Rutgers–Camden, students have the opportunity to learn from their setbacks. He says with a laugh, “I’m not saying it’s easy here. I spend all of my time studying!”
After he earns his bachelor’s degree, Michael plans to attend his dream medical school, Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Since he was ten years old, Michael has wanted to be a doctor and was always drawn to biology. His hero is Dr. Ben Carson, the first neurosurgeon to separate conjoined twins that were joined at the skull. “My inspiration from Dr. Ben Carson comes from the sense that he was a student that was deemed hopeless, the teachers gave up on him. But [he] graduated third in his high school senior class and went to Yale.” The groundbreaking surgery took place in 1987, when this type of case was considered hopeless by most other experts. “[Like Carson] I believe that in the face of adversity, I can come out on top and most definitely overcome…I hope to one day pioneer brain transplant.”
Michael is currently a Patient Safety Aide at the Clara Maas Medical Center in Belleville, New Jersey, where he has worked for two years. He says that he spends a lot of time with patients, forming connections with them, talking to them about their lives and problems. Michael would like to eventually return to Nigeria and establish a hospital so healthcare can be available to the ones who need it most. In Nigeria, majority cannot afford even the barest of essentials, let alone healthcare, and he wants to inspire other people to make a difference.
“I am the type of person that looks toward the future, to help people…I want others to know how important it is to believe in yourself. Be determined.” Before that dream comes to life, Michael plans to take a year off working in a lab, and then nothing will stop him from attending medical school. “Only ten more years to go,” he says with a smile.
Written by Rebecca Grubb