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Lion Profiles: Bunmi Fariyike (SEAS ’20)

Meet Bunmi. Bunmi, a first-year in Columbia Engineering, is originally from a suburb about 30 minutes outside of Atlanta, Georgia. We sat down with him to learn more about his interests in Biomedical Engineering and some of his goals while at Columbia.

What are you current passions? How do you think you’ll pursue them on campus?

I really got into Spanish in 8th grade. I want to minor in Spanish and my roommate is from Spain so I want to pursue it and practice. The language is incredibly useful especially in the Atlanta area. It came naturally to me and I love it.

I am also definitely interested in research. I want to keep trying to do that on campus once I learn how to balance my school and research. In high school, we had senior projects to help you explore careers. Since I was interested in medicine, I did a psychological study in my high school to study the factors correlated with intelligence. I used my high school as the sample size and looked at factors like race and GPA. I learned race and bilingualism didn’t play a significant factor. The main things were income and extracurricular activities. When you have more money you can do more things. Part of the project is a product, presentation, and a paper. So I wanted to see how we could improve underperforming schools. It came down to private or public funding of summer programs and extracurricular activities.

Of everything you’ve worked on, volunteered for, and studied, what are you most proud of?

I was a part of my church leadership group. It was a good way to give back to the community in a non-academic, scientific way. It was humbling to be a mentor and I’d want to do that here even if its not from a religious connotation. On campus, I want to join Peer Health Exchange and tutor program, Engineering without Borders and definitely Matriculate. I’d like to get into the city and help in low-income programs.

What are you interested in studying here? Why?

I want to study Biomedical Engineering (on the pre-med track) and Spanish. For the longest time, my friends loved Grey’s Anatomy. I originally refused to watch it, but when I did, I loved it. I love the idea of devoting your life to other people’s lives. I originally wanted to be a pilot. In 7th grade, we once did a dissection of a chicken and no one else could figure out how to do it. When I could, my teacher recommended I be a surgeon. That got me thinking maybe I should do that and pursue it. Even though its a big sacrifice, I still want to do it and help people.

In high school, I took Physics C. Even though it was super hard, it was cool to see how practical it was. BME adds another perspective to being a doctor. I hope it gives me a different perspective to being a surgeon and what I want to do.

What are you most nervous/anxious about (in regards to college, Columbia, NYC, etc)?

It’s going to be a big jump to high school. NYC is a lot more diverse. I grew up near Atlanta and thought I knew city life, but when I laded here it was NYC times 10. I don’t want to get bogged down studying or going off campus to much. I want to learn everything I need to know and learn while exploring.

I want to get into all five boroughs eventually. I want to try all the ethnic cuisine here that I never have had in Atlanta. I want to try a lot of new things.

My sister’s very very into Broadway and I want to see more shows and get into the art scene more.

What are you most excited about (in regards to college, Columbia, NYC, etc)?

I want to structure myself in new ways. Being around so many different people (international, LGBTQ, etc.) and learning all these new backgrounds. I’m excited to pursue higher education and physics and get out of my comfort zone for the first time in my life. It’ll be nice to just try something. Things are always happening here in NYC and people are open-minded compared to more conservative, traditional Atlanta. All things even, I definitely love New York a lot more than Atlanta…

Any goals you have in mind? 

I hope to be a neurosurgeon at a teaching hospital in 10-13 years. I definitely want to get into global outreach (whether with Doctors without Borders or on my own). I want to be in research wherever I am. I want to do things that helps others, not that just things that make money. I don’t have a career goal, but I want to know what is the best I can give.

Throughout the semester, we’ll be featuring interviews from new students. To recommend someone for an interview or to become an interviewer for The Lion, email
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