Kafayat Yusuf is an international graduate student from Nigeria. She is pursuing her master’s in biology. Since she arrived in Springfield in 2018, her ultimate goal became has been to find a new drug to heal cancer. She plans to build her career as an independent researcher to answer questions.
From Ilorin, Nigeria to Springfield, Missouri
Kafayat completed her bachelor’s degree in the University of Ilorin in Nigeria. Her undergraduate experience prepared her to pursue her graduate degree in the U.S. She believes that studying at Missouri State has provided her with many opportunities for success.
Kafayat says Springfield is very different from back home. There are fewer cars and no large supermarkets at home. Instead, they have many mini local markets, but she adopted to the cultural change in a successful way.
Creating a large international family
Missouri State has provided Kafayat the opportunity to meet people from all parts of the world. This is a huge difference than universities back home.
Local students make a majority in many universities Kafayat is familiar with back home.
Now, Kafayat feels very connected to friends who have become family from around the world. “If I want to do a tour around the globe, I already have people all over and that is very awesome,” Kafayat says.
The surest way to make dreams come true is to live them
“I see that my dreams are being achieved here at Missouri State”
Because of her GRE score and her experience, she received a teaching assistant position when she applied to the Biology Department. She has taught three different courses and keeps learning new teaching techniques. This opportunity has opened other doors for campus involvement that she never expected.
In November 2019, Kafayat participated in the university’s Three Minute Thesis Competition. She won first place for her department, then went on to win first place in the university-wide competition. In April 2020, she was scheduled to represent Missouri State in the Midwest Three Minute Thesis Competition in Wisconsin.
Through this experience, Kafayat met many faculty members who told her not to hesitate to reach out to them should she need anything. Kafayat expects to meet many faculty members from other universities at her future competitions. She is excited for the networking opportunities and the possibility that they may ask her to join their labs to complete her education and pursue a PhD.
Kafayat is also part of the College of Natural and Applied Sciences diversity committee. The goal of this committee is for faculty and students to come together to brainstorm ideas to develop the department. She works to connect the students’ concerns to the faculty of the same department. “This means the students are being heard from their professors.” Kafayat says. She feels that through these meetings she has built better relationships with faculty and can now regard them as colleagues and friends.
Searching for engagement & success everywhere
“Missouri State provides many of opportunities for getting engaged”
Kafayat is the vice president of the Graduate Student Senate. This council aims to bring together all graduate students in Missouri State and take their concerns to the Graduate College.
She is also a mentor in the Global Leaders and Mentors program (GLaM). “I had a Saudi student as a mentee and she never thought she would have a big sister here at Missouri State,” Kafayat says. Many of her mentees’ parents have called to thank her for taking care of their family.
When Kafayat arrived to Springfield, she was a student mentee in GLaM and she had two mentors helping her when she arrived. Her experience inspired her to become a mentor in the same program that helped her. As an international student, Kafayat finds the community very welcoming. She tries to pay it off through her volunteering time and effort.
“GLaM will make you feel you’re coming back home. You have a new family waiting to receive you here.” – Kafayat Yusuf