Fox student strives to help others overcome adversity he faced
|To outside observers, Abioye Oyeyemi seems to have it all — a B.B.A. in international business and economics, experience as the captain of the Temple football team, and a goal, stemming from his own challenges, to become an immigration lawyer.
“I want to help educate other families on the immigration process so they don’t have the negative experience I did,” Oyeyemi said.
Oyeyemi certainly had to overcome many obstacles before reaching graduation. Growing up in Nigeria, Oyeyemi, his brother and his sister were left alone with relatives after their mother died of cancer. When Oyeyemi was 7, his father, living in the United States, sent for the three siblings. The family lived together in Minnesota until 2003, when Oyeyemi’s father returned to Nigeria.
After his father left, Oyeyemi faced difficulties at school. “At one point, I didn’t think I was going to finish high school. I was frustrated with the education system and even dropped out for a while,” Oyeyemi said.
He eventually earned his high school diploma and spent two years in junior college before arriving at Temple. His first semester at Temple was difficult as he struggled financially; with neither of his parents present, Oyeyemi wasn’t eligible for financial aid.
Photo by Joseph V. Labolito/Temple University
“Eventually I was able to file for independent status, but my first two months at Temple were very stressful, but I knew that things could only get easier as time progressed,” Oyeyemi said.
At Temple, he found a friend in Fox School instructor Nicole Desilvis. “She was the first professor to really reach out to me and show me how to take advantage of Temple resources,” he said.
Oyeyemi also found strength through football. He first played the American sport at age 10, and he was instantly hooked. He joined the Temple team in spring 2006 as a walk-on.
“The demands of being on the team provide me with great structure. Football gives me something to look forward to every day,” said Oyeyemi, who made a name for himself by eventually becoming team captain and winning numerous awards.
Just as he mastered football, Oyeyemi clearly has the determination to overcome new challenges. Currently, in preparation for his law school dream, he’s studying for the LSAT. Ultimately, he wants to return to Nigeria to practice law and be close to his family.
—Written by Rachel Knorr