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From Nigerian Pharmacist to Law Student, Salis Pursues His Dream with Passion

Wale Salis ’19

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When Wale Salis ’19 left Nigeria for the United States, he was a trained pharmacist—five years at a college of pharmacy and a year as an intern. And his sights were firmly set on living in New York.

“I thought, instead of spending another couple of years pursuing a pharmacy career in the United States, this was a good moment to pursue my dream: becoming a lawyer,” he recalled. “I didn’t always see myself as a pharmacist, but I have imagined myself on many occasions as a lawyer.”

A U.S. citizen, Salis lived in Brooklyn and applied to several schools, deciding on Albany Law without visiting. “I looked around Albany online using Google street view; it seemed really nice, but it’s a lot nicer in real life than it looks online. It has offered me even more than I expected.”

During his time in Nigeria, Salis was heavily involved with the international youth-leadership organization AIESEC. There he represented the Nigerian delegation at numerous international conferences held in countries like Egypt and Greece. “After attending a conference during the turbulent period of the second Egyptian Revolution, I became even more determined to study and defend the rule of law. I understood that as a lawyer, I could make a huge impact on society.”

“I thought, instead of spending another couple of years pursuing a pharmacy career in the United States, this was a good moment to pursue my dream."

Salis is pursuing two degrees simultaneously—his J.D. and an M.B.A. from the University at Albany. What typically takes 3.5 years he plans to complete in three years by taking summer- and winter-break courses. This year he is completing his M.B.A. after interning at the Claims Bureau of the Office of the New York State Attorney General.

Transitioning successfully from Nigeria to Brooklyn to Albany takes a certain person. “I’ve been very happy in Albany,” he noted. “Everyone has been very welcoming and they have gone a long way to provide tangible resources I need to become a successful student and lawyer. For that, I am really grateful.”

Looking forward, Salis has a wide vision for his career path. “Considering my diverse academic background, I’m looking forward to operating in multiple industries and approaching my legal practice from a business and corporate perspective.” With his pharmacy background, Salis serves on the Albany Law Journal of Science and Technology and sees his training in science as a valuable asset for when he starts his career.

“It feels great to be pursuing my dream of studying the law,” Salis said. “To me, the countries that succeed are countries with a sound legal system. Everyone needs to be equipped with at least a working knowledge of their rights and responsibilities in today’s world.” 

Wale Salis