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Doane Stuart

Our Fearless (Female) Leader, Olakunsi ’21

As March ends, and the celebration of Women’s History Month comes to a close, we wanted to take time to celebrate one of the many strong women of our senior class. As President of Student Government, Olakunsi Peters is a shining example of a strong, female leader. When we asked Olakunsi about her role, she said she felt supported, motivated, and encouraged by the student body, noting that Doane Stuart and its community have always been inclusive and supportive. A student at Doane Stuart since middle school, it is difficult to imagine the school without her. 

When she isn’t serving as our fearless student leader, Olakunsi is a basketball player (a sport she loves to play with her family and watch on TV), but she has also been involved in just about everything on campus.  She has been a member of the Mock Trial team since the 9th grade (and co-captain this year), a member of Student Government since 7th grade (Vice President in 11th and President now!).  This year, she applied to participate in S.H.I.P. (Senior Honors Interdisciplinary Project). Students accepted into this program start working on self-chosen, interdisciplinary projects over the summer between junior and senior year. Olakunsi’s SHIP project has consisted of working with Dr. Wells and others in the pharmaceutical industry to research the cost of pharmaceuticals for patients. Olakunsi is deeply interested in this field as she wants to become a physician and work as an advocate for her patients to be sure everyone can have access to needed healthcare. 

Next year, Olakunsi will attend Brown University, which accepted her to its highly selective Program in Liberal Medical Education (PLME).  Though just a senior in high school, Olakunsi already has a guaranteed place in Brown’s medical school. This program offers an eight-year BS/MD for students who are committed to a career in medicine and who also want a broad liberal arts education.  

What inspired her to pursue the medical field? Her curiosity, as well as her inspiration from her classes at Doane Stuart. She recalls a science class learning about how the brain interprets information and how cool she thought it was that the very second of learning that information, her brain was doing exactly what she was being taught it was doing. Can’t get much more meta than that! Olakunsi is also relieved, and grateful, to know she’ll have Dr. Wells in her corner as she navigates the college experience, saying that he is always willing to help and never once in any of his classes did she “look at the time,” because she was constantly engaged and learning.

We asked Olakunsi if she had planned to take a break this summer, and while she answered yes, her plans don’t necessarily seem restful. Not only is she going to learn to drive, but she is also going to be participating in the Next Generation Summer Program at Albany Medical College. This 8-week summer program in the Department of Neuroscience and Experimental Therapeutics (DNET) focuses on introducing students to conducting clinical research, virtual brain modeling, and creating their own research projects.

Asked what she’ll miss the most about DS, Olakunsi answered, “the community.” While this  year may have been different, with Covid restrictions, and new rules for the hallways, and gathering, DS worked very hard to make “everyone comfortable and still feel together.” 

What will we miss most about Olakunsi? Everything.

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