Titilayo Mabogunje’s recipe for a better society: meld medicine and arts
Titilayo Mabogunje found her niche at Yale in both quiet spaces and public stages.
A major in molecular, cellular, and developmental biology, Mabogunje spent hours working in Yale’s laboratories researching epilepsy and immunobiology. She also pursued her passion for the arts with the Yale dance group Steppin’ Out, as a spoken-word artist, and in a senior thesis production of “Macbeth.”
Mabogunje was born in England, raised in Nigeria, and schooled in South Africa. Living in a developing country spurred her interest in understanding what makes a “healthy and wealthy nation” — and helped her recognize how important the arts are for a society. “It is much easier to make an environment better when the people in it have a forward-thinking mindset and a level of positivity,” she said. “The arts foster creativity, birth innovation, and inspire ideas that can later manifest as actions.”
Underscoring the point, she said: “If we are going to change any aspect of society for the better, we need the arts.”
Mabogunje plans to become a doctor, and to practice in Nigeria and other African countries.
“All tiers of our health sector need improvement, from the one-on-one patient care to the broader health administration policies,” she said. “I am passionate about human biology, and also love interpersonal relationships that allow me to help people become healthier so they can reach their full potential.”
During her senior year, Mabogunje lived with first-year students as a counselor, or FroCo, for Grace Hopper College. Shepherding this group of individuals into the Yale community was one of many highlights of her Yale years, she said, and allowed her to pay forward the support she herself received as a first year.
“Celebrating both the great and small victories and providing comfort and advice through the hard times are important steps in building a strong community,” said Mabogunje. Seeing the growth of the first years and her FroCo team is an experience for which she will be “eternally grateful.”
“I hold dear in my heart the midnight conversations with suite mates that made time feel non-existent until we realized the sun was coming up and welcoming a new day,” she said. “These experiences have blessed me with life-long friendships I am eager to hold on to.”