A Jackson State University post-doctoral fellow, Dr. Olamide Crown, has earned a fellowship from the American Association of University Women (AAUW) that will allow her to continue researching cardiovascular disease.
It’s a huge opportunity for Crown because “I grew up in a society where female education is not important and considered a waste of time,” she said. Crown earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in biochemistry from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (FUTA) in Nigeria.
She applied with AAUW “because of the opportunities granted to non-U.S. citizens that help them acquire skills and training in the USA.”
According to AAUW, it is one of the world’s oldest leading supporters of graduate women’s education.
How to measure real success
Since childhood, African native Crown has been motivated by a quote attributed to Dr. Ben Carson, a noted former neurosurgeon who now serves as the U.S. secretary of Housing and Urban Development: “Success is determined not by whether or not you face obstacles, but by your reaction to them. And, if you look at these obstacles as a containing fence they become your excuse for failure. If you look at them as a hurdle, each one strengthens you for the next.”
Meanwhile, Crown said the AAUW opportunity is significant because “I’m going to be a fellow of an internationally recognized body that is known for its excellent contributions in helping females build their careers in the world and to create a change for the young ladies in my community.”
The title of her research is “The Effect of the Medicinal Plant, Parinari curatellifolia(from Nigeria), on Rho Kinase Activities in Human Microvascular Endothelial Cells.” It may sound a bit obscure, but the title merely suggests that she’ll be spending time researching matters of the heart.
“I’m very passionate about the well-being of the human race, with a strong determination to contribute positively to improving life in my immediate society and the world at large.” — Olamide Crown, a JSU post-doctoral fellow[/pullquote]Specifically, she’s exploring the molecular nature of plants and their power to fight cardiovascular diseases. “Nigeria is blessed with numerous plants in which the efficacy has been proven ethnomedically, and some scientifically.”
High stakes: cardiovascular disease
Furthermore, Crown said her research is important because the World Health Organization (WHO) is reporting this year that out of the 29 percent death toll from non-communicable diseases, 11 percent is caused by cardiovascular diseases.
She said AAUW will provide funding opportunities that will give her a chance to reverse those grim statistics.
In fact, in 130 years of providing funding, AAUW has awarded more than $115 million in fellowships, grants and awards to 13,000 recipients from more than 145 countries, according to the organization. For the 2019–20 academic year, AAUW reportedly awarded more than $4 million in fellowships and grants to roughly 260 scholars, research projects and programs promoting education and equity for women and girls.
Kim Churches, chief executive officer of AAUW, said, “We are honored to provide the resources they need to excel in their academic work – and to ultimately make a difference in the world.”
At JSU, Crown said there is no formal partnership between the urban HBCU and FUTA. However, she’s exploring ways to develop a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the assistance of Dr. Victor Ogungbe, a JSU professor in the Department of Chemistry that is housed in the College of Science, Engineering and Technology.
Crown describes herself as woman dedicated to her research. “I’m very passionate about the well-being of the human race, with a strong determination to contribute positively to improving life in my immediate society and the world at large.”
Ultimately, she desires to become a professor of biochemistry (cardiovascular toxicology/pharmacology). “I believe with hard work and a resilient mind I will one day develop patented drugs from medicinal plants used in the management of cardiovascular-related disease.” She predicts that at least two of her future drugs will undergo clinical trials.
To the women of the world, Crown has this advice: “Believe you can do it. Challenges and limitations are not barriers; they elevate you. With your faith, you can break through barriers and soar higher than your expectations. Believe. Hardwork. Resilience. Diligence. (BeHaRD).