Olubunmi (Bunmi) Fariyike

Olubunmi (Bunmi) Fariyike is currently a senior studying Biomedical Engineering with a Minor in Hispanic Studies. His varied degree program reflects his interest in the intersection of engineering and social sciences and its role in tackling healthcare disparities. After graduation, he hopes to pursue a research-intensive Master’s program before attending medical school to pursue a combined MD/MPH, utilizing his engineering education and his fluency in Spanish and Yoruba to train as a physician scientist focused on providing innovative healthcare solutions for traditionally-underserved communities in the United States and around the world.

Bunmi Fariyike

Bunmi graduated salutatorian from Hillgrove High School in Powder Springs, Georgia where he was captain of the school’s Math Team and Vice President of its Beta Club chapter. Inspired by his interest in the intersection of the social and biological aspects of cognition, he began a research project at his high school in conjunction with a PhD student at the Georgia Institute of Technology analyzing the demographic factors most associated with students’ academic performance as measured by GPA.

Since arriving at Columbia, he has continued to nurture that interest in research and has spent over two years conducting synthetic biology research under Dr. Virginia Cornish. As the most senior undergraduate of the lab, he engineers yeast to act as environmental sensors in an environmentally-friendly, living biomaterial made from plant waste that can be shipped across the world at a fraction of the cost of current construction materials.

Bunmi has also utilized Columbia’s resources to further his global-minded, experiential approach to education. Firstly, he was fortunate to spend the spring semester of his sophomore year in Madrid, Spain where he was able to continue to enrich his abilities in the Spanish language. In the following summer, he won a global health research fellowship through ICAP at Columbia’s Mailman School of Public Health and spent two months in La Romana, Dominican Republic characterizing the most urgent sexual and reproductive health needs of adolescent men in the area by surveying participants and analyzing collected data. These experiences in particular prompted his desire and confidence to begin volunteering as a Spanish-English medical interpreter at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s Hospital last year. He is also the current Program Manager and former Treasurer of the Ghana Program of Columbia’s Engineers Without Borders chapter. In this role, he leads a team of approximately 50 students who work together to increase reliable access to potable water for more than 2,000 people in Amanfro, Ghana. He has been able to travel twice with the organization. The first trip was in Summer 2018 to oversee the construction of two boreholes in the community and the second was in Summer 2019 to lead an assessment of all of the water sources that the team has constructed.

Additionally, Bunmi has been heavily involved in recruiting future generations of Columbia Lions, serving as a Tour Captain through Columbia’s Undergraduate Recruitment Committee and helping to improve the minority pipeline into STEM fields through Columbia’s Multicultural Recruitment Committee. He also enjoys taking on gigs throughout New York City as a Distinguished Bartender in the Columbia Bartending Agency. In his free time, Bunmi enjoys mentoring younger students and furthering his abilities in other languages, principally French and his native Yoruba. He can also be found enjoying the rich cultural experiences and cuisine that New York City has to offer.