“You can be good by yourself, but you’re great when you surround yourself with people who want you to be greater,” says Michael Bamimore, a Camden College of Arts and Sciences biology major slated to graduate in May. Michael is a student full of determination and charisma and he likes to owe it all to his support system consisting of God, family, friends, and teachers. “If it wasn’t for them, I would have given up on myself and not have reached this point of success in my life,” he says.
This August, Michael will be attending the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (PCOM). As a first-generation medical student, he will be studying to be a surgeon but intends to go in with an open mind toward his concentration. What attracts him to the school is their osteopathic philosophy, which relies on the interrelation of both structure and function of the human body. The medical students also learn to care for a patient’s health by focusing on their physical, mental, and social health to influence them to live a better lifestyle. “13,000 students applied to the program and I was fortunate to be one of 260 students that were accepted,” he says.
Michael’s passion for helping others transpires from his experience in Nigeria, where he was born and raised. In Nigeria, he “witnessed many people suffer and die from illnesses such as dysentery and cholera, simple bacterial diseases that can be prevented with proper vaccinations.” After his medical training, Michael plans on returning to his home country to “revolutionize the healthcare system. If you do not have money to pay your hospital expenses, your conditions cannot be treated or even stabilized. Being a doctor for those that are unfortunate in Nigeria will be my way of giving back to the community that has helped nurture me in to the man I am today, especially my family,” he says.
Michael’s father and mother, Emmanuel and Juliana Bamimore, had both left Nigeria when he was young to find work opportunities to support their family; in the fields of civil engineering and nursing, respectively. Michael and his younger brother, Daniel Bamimore, who has recently been accepted into the Mechanical/Aerospace Engineering program at the Rutgers University School of Engineering, were left in the care of their grandparents in Nigeria. Michael’s father came to the U.S. when Michael was two; Michael did not see his father again until he was ten years old. When Michael was six, his mother moved to the United Kingdom, where she still lives, but makes frequent trips to see her family. When Michael turned thirteen, he and his brother Daniel moved to the U.S. with their father. Michael immediately enrolled into high school.
Michael is a graduate of Bellville High School in Belleville, NJ. “Initially, my time there was tough. Being from Nigeria, it was a total culture shock,” he says. His teachers helped him by being available whenever he seemed to be in a struggle. Michael Bardt, who taught business, and Elizabeth Ramirez, Michael’s science teacher, had advised and influenced Michael’s academic goals. “Mr. Bardt gave me advice toward my dream of becoming a surgeon and helped me understand the concept of diligence and hard work. By applying this towards my academics, I was able to get in to Ms. Ramirez’s AP Biology class. Her constant dedication allowed me to further foster and deepen my knowledge of biology, which later came in handy when I took the Medical College Admission Test (MCAT).”
After graduating high school, Michael started his biology degree at Fairleigh Dickinson University, but he felt it did not suit his academic needs. “My performance was unacceptable and I was considering changing my major. My GPA was very bad, so out of the four schools I applied to for transfer, Rutgers–Camden was the only one to give me a second chance,” he says. He had intended to stay for one semester, but after seeing a great improvement in his grade point average (GPA) and the friends he made, he decided to stay. Michael did not only improve in his academics, but he started to involve himself in student organizations on campus.
Michael is a member of Phi Mu Delta, a fraternity that focuses on brotherhood and community service. “My brothers offer me a lot of support towards my studies and social life. Their dedication to their work makes it is easy for me to stay focused and find time to have fun,” he says. Fraternity became an important aspect in his college life, including his relationships with professors and alumni.
“I was able to work close with professors like Dr. Eric Klein, Assistant Professor of Biology; Dr. David Salas-de la Cruz, Assistant Professor of Chemistry; and Mr. Paul Moré, Lecturer of Mathematics, in class, and also outside the classroom with research projects. They gave me the resources I needed to be successful in my academic career,” Michael says. Through his connections with them, he was able to meet successful Rutgers–Camden alumni, such as Dr. Donald C. Tilton, CCAS ‘65. Dr. Tilton is a retired diagnostic radiologist and graduate of PCOM. “His…advice and motivation during my application period taught me to never give up or sell myself short,” he says.
Until he enters PCOM, he is completing his last semester at Rutgers–Camden for graduation, spending time with his frat brothers and friends, and tutoring students at the Rutgers–Camden Learning Center. “My students inspire me as much as I try to do for them. We come from different backgrounds and we learn a lot from one another. It seems every aspect of my life has involved a collective initiative. Be open to those around you, have confidence in yourself, and help others. That is the key to a successful life,” he says.
Written by Courtney Daniels