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'An institution of opportunity'

By Emilie Bourque Whittle

One soon-to-be Memorial graduate is finding opportunity a long way from home. Babatunde Yusuf was born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria. Once he completed his bachelor's degree at the University of Benin in Bedo State, Nigeria, he set his sights on a program in petroleum engineering.

While browsing online at the options available in Canada, Mr. Yusuf came across Memorial.

"Amongst the options displayed, Memorial caught my attention because they offer the program as oil and gas engineering — which means it is offered in a broader scope," said Mr. Yusuf. "That made me feel there must be something unique about the program."

He said he knew taking a program from an institution located in a province that boasts numerous petroleum resources was the best option to go with. To boot, Memorial boasts state-of-the-art research facilities in oil and gas engineering as well as experienced faculty, he says.

"I have always known since high school that I wanted to be an engineer," said Mr. Yusuf. He said he grew up aware that Nigeria has abundant petroleum resources and that this path is the one that seems most meaningful and logical to him.
On the verge of walking across the stage to pick up his master of engineering degree, Mr. Yusuf is proud of his career choice.

"I know that I have the required skill set, talent and interest in a profession where I will be working to help improve quality of life worldwide, by engineering the best and most cost-effective way to produce petroleum for mankind."
Mr. Yusuf's career is already off to a great start. After a short spell working last month as an instructor with College of the North Atlantic, he's currently working as a reservoir engineer with Nalcor Energy.

"It is my dream job and I hope to continue growing in it with the company — which is committed to the sustainable and innovative expansion of the province's onshore and offshore resources," said Mr. Yusuf. "It's my pleasure to be part of a team working towards a brighter future for Newfoundland and Labrador and its people."

During his time at Memorial, Mr. Yusuf was involved as a student leader both on and off campus in many capacities. He helped out as a volunteer in various student organizations, at fall orientation, Leadership Education and Preparation (LEAP), the Career Fair, Make Midterm Matter, MUNdays and as an English as a second language conversation partner. For these and many more volunteer efforts, Mr. Yusuf has won Volunteer Incentive Program awards in bronze, silver and gold, along with several other accolades. He was also the president of the Students' Society of Petroleum Engineers and the treasurer of the Engineering Graduate Student Society.

Beyond Memorial's community, Mr. Yusuf is an active volunteer with Canadian Blood Services, the AIDS Committee of Newfoundland and Labrador and Sharing Our Cultures, amongst other organizations. It's no surprise, then, that "get involved" is his top piece of advice to new students. For international students, said Mr. Yusuf, "enrolling in the Professional Skills Development Program (PSDP) should be prioritized. I was one of the pioneer participants and can say that it was a rewarding experience for me."

Mr. Yusuf holds the province in high regard as one of the safest and most peaceful places to live in the world. As for Memorial?

"Memorial University, in my opinion, is the heart of this province," he said. "It's an institution that not only prepares students to be scholars of tomorrow, but also create avenues to make them leaders as well. Memorial, to me, is an institution of opportunity — you get as much as you want to get from it. I am proud to have attended Memorial."

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