A native of Lagos, Nigeria, Hamzat graduated from high school at age 15. After a transition year spent mastering English and preparing for college, Hamzat, who is also a British citizen, had no shortage of opportunities available to him. He chose to enroll at UB. Not only was UB close to some of Hamzat’s family in North America (he has an uncle in Toronto and a brother at Columbia University in New York City), but the university and its pharmacy school came highly recommended by one of his mother’s co-workers, who already had a daughter here studying pharmacy.
“They told us about UB and how it was such a good school with friendly people,” Hamzat said.
It has turned out to be a rewarding decision in more ways than one. At UB’s annual Celebration of Academic Excellence, he presented a poster on the effects of melatonin on methamphetamine-induced locomotor sensitization, which won two awards—a ribbon award of distinction for the poster presentation and an award for excellence in research, scholarship and creativity for the overall project.
Hamzat and members of the CLIMB UP Summer Research program at Niagara Falls.
“It’s one of the best undergrad projects I could have ever done at UB. I’m really proud of my work in the Dubocovich lab,” Hamzat said, referring to his mentor, Dr. Margarita Dubocovich, chair of the department of pharmacy and toxicology. “I’m truly grateful for the opportunity.”
Hamzat also won an Undergraduate Travel Award for the best undergrad poster presentation at the UB Pharmacology Day event, which enables him to present at the Experimental Biology 2011 event in Washington, D.C. And, he was awarded a lab internship with Dr. Dubocovich as part of the UB CLIMB UP for Summer Research program. The CLIMB program comprised two months of research, interaction with grad students and postdoctoral fellows in the School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and a social component that included trips to Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Hauptman-Woodward Institute, Darien Lake Theme Park, Niagara Falls and the Taste of Buffalo, one of the nation’s largest food festivals.
Hamzat taking the bull by the horns.
“It’s been a very good experience at UB,” Hamzat said. “I’ve accomplished things I never imagined I’d accomplish. And I have been exposed to greater educational opportunities than in Nigeria, and I’ve had the chance to meet people of much more diverse backgrounds and culture.”
Still, when his time at UB is over, Hamzat plans to head home to Nigeria.
“I want to work in a hospital as a clinical pharmacist,” he said. “Even though I enjoy research, I want the chance to be able to influence people. When you work in a hospital as a pharmacist, you have the opportunity to regulate people’s drug dosages and so on. You also get the opportunity to meet new people, and tell them your story, and positively impact their life that way.”
Last updated: May 18, 2013 3:32 am EST