Student Spotlight May 2016

Otome Elisha Okoromoba

 

 

Elisha attended Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile Ife in Nigeria where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Chemistry in 2005.  After sometime in the industry, he returned to school and attended Tennessee State University earning a Master of Science degree in Chemistry in 2010.  His Master’s thesis, under the supervision of Prof. C. Okoro, was titled “Synthesis and structure activity relationship of trifluorinated enaminones as potential anticancer agents.”  In January of 2011, Elisha began his PhD degree in Chemistry at the University of Louisville working with Prof. G. B. Hammond in developing and applying novel fluorination reagents.  He plans to graduate this month.

 

 

 

Interview:

1. What brought you to the University of Louisville?

While driving to Chicago from Nashville during my Master’s program, I stopped in Louisville for an hour or so.  In this short time, I fell in love with the city and considered it my ideal city to live in and pursue a PhD degree.

2. Specific areas of research (how you chose this research, why it interested you):

My area of study is synthetic organic chemistry. I love to think and organic chemistry has always been quite fascinating to me.

3. Awards, honors, publications:

While in college in Nigeria, I was awarded the Friendliest Graduating Student by the Student Chemical Society of Nigeria OAU chapter. During my PhD program here in Louisville, I was awarded the McSweeney Fellowship between August of 2011 and May of 2015.

I have had a couple of publications as follows:
* Preparation of Fluorinated Tetrahydropyrans and Piperidines using a New Nucleophilic Fluorination Reagent DMPU/HF: Okoromoba, O.E.; Hammond, G.B.; Xu, B.; Org. Lett. 2015, 17(16), 3975
* Designer HF-Based Fluorination Reagent: Highly Regioselective Synthesis of Fluoroalkenes and gem-Difluoromethylene Compounds from Alkynes. Okoromoba, O.E.; Han, J.; Hammond, G.B.; Xu, B., J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2014, 136 (41), 14381
* Synthesis and anticonvulsant activity of fluorinated cyclic enaminones: Apraku, J. O., Okoromoba, O.E., Faadeyi, F. Okoro, C.; Lett. Drug Des. Discov. 2013, 10, 1024
* Tandem Henry/oxa-Michael Route to the 1, 3-Disubstituted-1, 3-Dihydrobenzo[c]furan System Luzzio F. A and Okoromoba O.E., Tetrahedron Lett. 2011, 52, 6530.

4. Long term goals/aspirations?

I believe this degree will help me pursue my long term aspiration of working in academia and research. I want to solve problems and I believe a PhD degree is the starting point. I intend to contribute to policy making in government and also write a book in chemistry as my independent career unfolds.

5. What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?

I am most proud of obtaining this PhD degree, it’s been quite a journey.

6. What has been your favorite part of the graduate school experience at UofL?

My favorite part of graduate school experience has been the people who have shaped my life here at UofL.

7. What do you feel is the greatest challenge that graduate students face and how have you dealt with this challenge?

As an international student, I think the greatest challenge is the cultural difference. Adjusting to the food and way of life has been a big issue with me. But I am getting by, I think I have come a long way.

8. Family Life:

Family is everything and my lady, the queen of my heart, has been not just a friend but the woman I am most proud of to call my own.


Fun Facts
A talent you have always wanted: I love poetry and love writing poems but I also wish I could play the guitar and that is a talent I have always wanted.
Favorite book: Mastery by Robert Greene
Favorite quote: "“When the present is good, the past will not be remembered” by Otome Elisha
Favorite Vacation Destination: Nigeria
If you weren’t in graduate school, what would you be doing now? Writing books.