Author Dr. Deji Ayoade: I Am Living Proof Of The American Dream

An Interview With Jake Frankel

Authority Magazine Editorial Staff
Authority Magazine
Published in
21 min readApr 14, 2023


You need to ask yourself these questions before someone else asks you. While you do not owe the answers to anyone, you owe them to yourself — because they will drive you once the struggle begins.

Is the American Dream still alive? If you speak to many of the immigrants we spoke to, who came to this country with nothing but grit, resilience, and a dream, they will tell you that it certainly is still alive.

As a part of our series about immigrant success stories, I had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. ‘Deji Ayoade.

Dr. ‘Deji Ayoade (ah-yo-AH-day) is the first African immigrant to become a nuclear missile operator in the United States Air Force and serve in three U.S. military branches. He is a memoir author and poet who strives to touch the lives of his readers through heartfelt storytelling. In addition to his memoir and companion poetry book, he is the author of Selah! Selah! (Pause and Think): Poetry.

Enduring a childhood of impoverishment and loss, storytelling was his safe haven, becoming his way of envisioning a future. Moreover, the power of the written word served as reassurance that he and his loved ones would one day leave all the hardship in Nigeria behind.

Besides being a writer, ‘Deji Ayoade has been a veterinary surgeon, combat medic, nuclear weapon system SME, senior program analyst, and U.S. Space Force Department of Defense Civilian at the Pentagon. He is also the founder of Solani, an educational nonprofit providing scholarships to medical students and international students studying in the U.S.

His incredible journey is a reminder that no matter where you come from, you have the power to shape your destiny. His new book is Underground: A Memoir of Hope, Faith, and the American Dream. Learn more at

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Can you tell us the story of how you grew up?

I was born in 1980 when Nigeria had made significant reconstruction progress following a civil war and had…