Where are you from?
I am from Nigeria. I grew up in a small town called Makurdi, which is also the capital town of Benue State, an agriculture-centric state in the middle belt region of the country.
Please describe an experience (or 2) that helped you discover/ cultivate your interest in the mathematical sciences.
I discovered that I loved mathematics when I was in 7th grade. During the first term of 7th grade, I struggled with three subjects, Mathematics, Christian Religious Knowledge, and French. For some reasons, only the bad performance in mathematics bothered me. After a test in which I a scored 65% (which was actually a B by the grading scheme we used then), I went to my teacher Mr Mohamed and ask him “how do I get a 100%?”. He saw how visibly frustrated I was and asked ask for my paper. I handed it to him and he proceeded to to point out all the mistakes I made. He then looked at me in the face and said “You’re actually a mathematician. You’re more gifted than the students that got A’s, but you’re very careless. Your wrong answers are all from silly mistakes.” I took this to heart. The next term I got a 98% and this was the beginning of my love for mathematics.
What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your career in the mathematical sciences?
Two accomplishments come to mind: 1. graduating with a double bachelors degrees in mathematics and computer science in 2004. 2. Being appointed 21/22 MLK Visiting Professor at MIT
What is/are your most proud accomplishment(s) in regards to your personal life?
Being able to balance an anxiety-driven academic career with a small budding music career.
Please share some words of wisdom/inspiration.
Don’t worry if you don’t finish today’s to-do list, just add the remainder to tomorrow’s list.