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MLK scholar on the front lines of community service

Tomilade “Tomi” Aigbokhan was born and raised in Nigeria. She came to the United States in 2012 to join her husband, Vitalese, who is a logistics specialist in the U.S. Navy.

Aigbokhan is the 2021 recipient of Tidewater Community College’s Martin Luther King Jr. student scholarship, which will be presented during a virtual ceremony on Feb. 26.

A nursing student, Aigbokhan’s passion for helping people started at a young age as she witnessed civil unrest and the blight of AIDS and HIV in her country.

After university in Nigeria, she volunteered full-time with a nonprofit group dedicated to helping men, women and children with HIV and AIDS, as well as orphans and those with disabilities. She was also a trainer for the National Reproductive Health, HIV/AIDS Prevention and Care Project, helping young people make good decisions about their personal practices.

Aigbokhan considered a career as a physician but chose nursing because of the hands-on care involved. She plans to earn her Associate of Science in Nursing and then continue for a master’s in public health.

“I have a sister who is a nurse and she has been my inspiration,” she said.

“I’ve enjoyed my studies at the community college because of the resources including the library, laboratories, simulators and even the faculty support,” Aigbokhan said. “Everything is spelled out in the syllabus, so if you manage your time and do the work, you can be successful.”

A woman of faith, Aigbokhan lives by a scripture found in the gospel of Matthew that says, “Blessed are the peacemakers for they shall be called the children of God.”

She continues her volunteer service and lives by the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. She currently works with Peninsula Rescue Mission; Mercy Drops Dream Center in Portsmouth; The Community Feed at TCC in MacArthur Center; and in one of Sentara’s COVID vaccine clinics.

“I enjoy getting to know those we are serving, offering an ear and friendship, and even praying with them.”

Aigbokhan would like to ultimately work in public health, giving back to the community.