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MSU Profiles

Many talents, one dream

In 2014, Jerusalem Tukura traveled from Lagos, Nigeria to the United States for the first time to begin her first year of college. Tukura selected Minot State University for its affordable tuition and small class sizes.

Moving from Lagos to Minot would be a big change for anyone; Lagos has a population of over eight million, while Minot hovers around 40,000. According to Tukura, she adjusted rather quickly.

"When I first got here I had never experienced winter before so I didn't know the proper clothes to wear," Tukura recalled of her freshman year. "I had a fall coat, and thought it was the same kind that everyone else had. By the end of that winter I realized that I was doing winter all wrong and that I had the wrong coat. The snow makes it better though. I don't think I could ever get tired of it."

The daughter of ministers, Tukura was born with a propensity for helping others. This, along with reading books written by renowned neurosurgeon Ben Carson, inspired her to pursue a career in medicine.

Tukura's dream of becoming a pediatrician was not always a straight trajectory. At the age of 12, she represented Nigeria in an international track and field competition in France. Her silver place finishes in the 400 meters and long jump caught the attention of coaches who thought she should train for the Commonwealth Games. However, Tukura ultimately decided not to pursue a future in track and field.

"My parents and coaches were disappointed, but it wasn't my calling," Tukura said.

A few years later, Tukura had a song produced that was played on the radio in Nigeria. There was some interest from recording labels, but again Tukura seemed destined for something else.

Fast forward to today, Tukura is pre-med and is pursuing her degree in psychology.

"One thing I love even more than medicine is the human mind," said Tukura. "I'm an introspective person so I've always been interested in how people think and make decisions."

Tukura assists research with the psychology and chemistry departments to supplement her classroom knowledge.

"Right now, I'm doing psychopharmacological research on how caffeine affects mood," she said, crediting psychology professors Rita Curl-Langager and Don Burke for making a significant contribution to her academic success.

Tukura is also the editor of the Red and Green, MSU's student newspaper.

"It seemed like something that could be done to expand myself," said Tukura about why she decided to take the position. "Working in it I realized I love the role of leadership. It's not about throwing out commands, it's about forming a connection with the people you work with, and having them respect you and for that to be reciprocal."

While one can get exhausted just looking at Tukura's schedule, she admits there is a secret to her success.

"Naps are how I deal with stress. I'm an advocate for naps."