Alumni Spotlight

Oluwadara Tokunboh (ACHS ’20)
Post bacc student changes plans after cancelled Fulbright
 

In normal times, Dara Tokunboh would be teaching English in Colombia on a grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Scholarship Program. But these aren’t normal times. Tokunboh, who completed CST’s Post Baccalaureate Program for those interested in heading toward medical and other health-related professional schools, heard in March that she was selected for this year’s English Teaching Assistantship program. But a follow-up email in June broke the news that this year’s program in Colombia was postponed indefinitely.

Originally from North Carolina, Tokunboh graduated from Cornell University in 2019 with a degree in biology and society. She then decided to pursue a post baccalaureate at CST, enrolling in the program’s Advanced Core Health Sciences (ACHS) track.

“Temple faculty are incredibly wise, kind and helpful,” said Tokunboh. “My program had the best science professors I have ever encountered in my academic career! I learned so much and grew immensely as a student and person.” After she moved to Philadelphia, Tokunboh started volunteering to teach English through St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood.

Originally, she just wanted to get involved in the community, but soon realized how much she enjoyed working with language learners. After hearing about a friend’s experience, she decided to apply for an English Teaching Assistantship (ETA) grant through the Fulbright U.S. Student Program. Tokunboh chose Colombia, hoping that immersion in a Spanish-speaking country would improve her own Spanish fluency, which she believes is an important skill for people entering the medical profession. “Fulbright teaches cultural competence and adaptability, and scholars learn to be creative and problem solve,” Tokunboh said. “These skills will make me a better medical student.”

Even though this year’s Fulbright ETA was cancelled, Tokunboh remains hopeful. “I’m waiting on a possible reassignment,” she said. “Fulbright is just such an incredible experience, an opportunity to push yourself,” she said.

Currently applying to medical school, Tokunboh appreciates her Temple education, which she feels prepared her well for the grueling application process. “Temple has strong ties to certain medical schools,” she said. “There were so many pluses to doing my post bacc at CST.”

-Amanda Morrison