Oyebefun joins rare company with admittance into med school
Odds have rarely been in favor of Josiah Oyebefun ’18, and that’s something he’s perfectly fine with.
Born in Lagos, Nigeria, Josiah and his family moved to St. Kitts, a small island in the West Indies surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and Atlantic Ocean, when he was seven years old. It was around this time when Josiah knew he wanted to go to medical school some day, with hopes and aspirations of attending med school in the United States.
It wasn’t until Josiah got older that he realized how difficult that would be.
In the 2017-18 academic year, 51,658 students applied into at least one medical school, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC). Of those 51,685 applicants, 21,326 were matriculants, students who were enrolled into med school.
That means just over 4 out of 10 students that applied into medical school were admitted -- students who are already the cream of the crop. For perspective, the average GPA of all med school applicants last was 3.56 according to AAMC, with the average GPA of matriculants at 3.71.
Of the 21,326 students that enrolled into med school last fall, only 275 are international students, making up 0.01 percent of the group. As an international student in the United States, the odds for Josiah to be admitted into med school were not on his side.
That never wavered Josiah, someone who has battled adversity for much of his life. The road to Doane - a place where Josiah has found a second home, happiness, and relationships he will cherish for the rest of his life, was not easy.
After graduating from high school in Basseterre, St. Kitts, Josiah enrolled at Tabor College in Hillsboro, Kansas on a track and field scholarship, but never felt quite at home. He elected to transfer after one semester to a different liberal arts college in Kansas, McPherson College. There he worked 60-hour weeks, on top of being a student-athlete, to pay for school. It was at a track meet when Josiah met Ed Fye ’82, head track and field coach at Doane. Josiah connected with Fye, and after much thought and prayer, transferred to Doane in the Fall of 2015.
Josiah became a biochemistry major at Doane and never said no to an opportunity. Under research advisor Dr. Tessa Durham Brooks, Josiah won multiple awards presenting research at regional and national conferences. He shadowed multiple doctors at Crete Area Medical Center. He also volunteered at Bryan West Hospital in Lincoln on Saturdays during the 2016-17 academic year, with Wilma Jackson, director of multicultural services at Doane, generously giving him a ride each way every week.
All of his hard work, dedication, and perseverance paid off in April, when Josiah beat the odds. He received the news he had strived for his entire life. He had been accepted into medical school.
“I found out the news when I was at a track meet,” Josiah says, with a big smile. “I clicked to open the email, saw the subject line that I had been accepted, and sprinted over to Coach Fye and jumped on him, celebrating the news. It was an indescribable feeling.”
Josiah had been accepted into Kansas City University Medicine and Biosciences (KCUMB), one of 162 students admitted into their 2018 class on the Joplin campus. Josiah had interviewed at KCUMB and Howard University after his initial applications were advanced to the interview round at those schools. As an international student admitted into medical school in the United States, Josiah now becomes among the elite 0.01 percent of international students to accomplish this feat.
“I kept the faith and knew that this was something I’ve wanted to do since I was 7 years old,” Josiah said. “I trusted God and knew that if this was the path for me, he would open the doors.”
“I was honestly surprised by how unsurprised I was when Josiah told me,” said Dr. Durham Brooks. “He’s been one of the most focused, single-minded students in pursuit of medical school that I’ve worked with.”
Jackson believes Josiah is just the third minority student from Doane to be accepted into medical school in the last 17 years, but was also not surprised to hear the news.
“I was so excited for him,” she says. “I know how hard he’s worked -- all the weekends and nights he has spent in the lab, he’s always been very focused and dedicated. I’m just overjoyed for him.”
Josiah will be the first person to tell you this would not be possible without so many individuals helping him along the way -- whether that’s family, friends, faculty, coaches, or administrators -- Josiah is forever grateful for the loving and supportive Doane community.
“I couldn’t see this happening at any other place,” he says. “Everyone has taken so much investment into my life like it was their own life. Being at Doane has allowed me to see what service looks like.”
And service is exactly what Josiah hopes to do with a medical degree. He is interested in cardiovascular or trauma surgery and has a long-term goal of becoming a missionary doctor, serving others across the world.
“I want to live a life of helping people through medicine. You might never know the impact you have on someone. This is a dream come true.”