Names: Ifeolu ‘Iffy’ Akinnola
Graduating Class: Class of 2023, MSTP/Integrative Biology & Physiology (G4) Student
Undergraduate school attended and major: University of Maryland, Baltimore County (Baltimore, Maryland); B.S. in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology
Languages you speak? English
Favorite activities to do in the Twin Cities?
I usually enjoy trying new restaurants and breweries with friends in the Twin Cities. I love the summers here since I can go to multiple block parties, hit up the State Fair, and enjoy the area around Minnehaha Falls. I’ve also gotten the chance to visit Duluth, Lutsen, and Grand Marais a few times since I moved out here.
Why did you choose the University of Minnesota Medical School and what do you like about it?
Born and raised on the East Coast, Minnesota felt quite foreign to me. But, in my pursuit of a career as a physician scientist, I happily accepted an offer to join the U of MN MD/PhD Program. I saw both the medical and graduate schools as environments where students could receive quality training and help improve the quality of the university with the full support of faculty and staff.
What would you change (areas of development) about the University of Minnesota Medical School?
Since I came to the U in the summer of 2015, I’ve seen the medical school listen and address students’ concerns about the lack of diversity amongst students and faculty, health inequities in minority & LGBTQ communities, and the need for student mental health support. While these issues are not unique to Minnesota, reform has been long overdue. I can’t go without commending the progress that I’ve seen in our Medical School over the last 5 years and I look forward to seeing even more positive change in these areas before I leave.
Have you participated in any student organizations? If so, why did you select those organizations and what has been your experience?
As an MD/PhD student, I’ve worked with my peers to create a mentoring program to help advise undergrad students who are also interested in careers in clinical research. In addition, I’ve served as a summer coordinator for the U of MN Life Science Summer Undergraduate Research Program (LSSURP). I enjoy being able to share both my positive and negative experiences with those interested in similar careers as myself. It feels great to give a helping hand as well as take a moment to see how far I’ve come.