A total of 412 students from 32 different African countries have graduated from the AIMS Diploma Programme. Profiles of selected AIMS alumni are included below.
Originally from Nigeria, Dr Osalusi was one of the pioneer students for the AIMS programme in 2003/2004. After graduating in 2004, he acquired a PhD in Petroleum Engineering, specialising in Marine Renewable Energy, and is now registered as a Chartered Scientist and Chartered Marine Scientist with the United Kingdom Science Council. Before he left Nigeria in 2003, his interest lay in doing research in alternative sources of energy. Nigeria is one of the world’s top producing oil nations and this industry is viewed by many as the country’s lifeblood. It was the dominance of – many would say dependence on – oil which first sparked his interest in alternative sources of energy – renewable energy. “Around 80% of Nigeria’s budget comes from oil. But when I was living and studying there, not only were wells drying up but lives were also being lost due to spillage, fires and civil unrest. I began asking myself ‘What happens when the wells dry up?’ and started to nurse an interest in specialising in alternative energy sources which have a constant source of supply.”
“Coincidentally, AIMS gave me the opportunity for the first foundation training in Mathematical Modelling, methods of solving complex engineering problems embedded in higher order differential equations, which is key in making any meaningful impact in engineering science. Not only that, AIMS sponsored me further for my Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics (Fluid Mechanics) at the University of Limpopo, South Africa, and provided every support I needed even when I was in ICTP (Italy) and during my PhD studies in Petroleum Engineering in the United Kingdom. The excellent facilities at AIMS and the unparalleled quality of training with the seasoned teachers (not lecturers!), which is comparable with any other reputable research institution in the world, propelled me to be what I am today. AIMS, I am grateful!”
Dr Charles Lebon Mberi Kimpolo, from the Republic of Congo, has a passion for software development, recently joined ThoughtWorks where he works as a Consultant Developer. Thoughtworks is a global IT consultancy company which recently opened its first office in Johannesburg, South Africa. One of its core objectives is to build local capacity in the IT sector by training developers who have not had formal training before.
Charles graduated from AIMS in 2005. He completed his postgraduate studies at the University of the Witwatersrand and his doctoral studies in the school of Computational and Applied Mathematics in 2010. After completing his postgraduate studies, he worked as a short-term postdoctoral fellow doing research with the support of the MRC/Wits Rural Public Health and Health Transitions Research Unit (Agincourt), and as a Business Analyst & Researcher in the Strategic Planning Division. “I believe that the training at AIMS provided me with excellent graduate-level mathematical modelling skills that are required as basic prerequisites to quickly learn software development.”
Hind Ahmed, from Sudan, held an Honours Degree in Physics from the University of Khartoum, Sudan, before graduating from AIMS in 2006. She obtained her Master’s degree in Material Physics from the University of Cape Town. She also has a Professional Master’s in Micro/Nano Electromechanical Systems from the University of Trento in Italy and completed the prestigious Graduate Studies Program at the Singularity University at NASA AMES in California, USA.
“If I was not an AIMS student, I wouldn’t have achieved all of this. Before I came to AIMS I only wished to pursue postgraduate studies in Physics and maybe do a Master’s. After AIMS I got to know the person I want to be. My experience at AIMS developed not only my academic background but developed and changed my personal thoughts; I discovered my potential and what I am capable of. AIMS helped me to shape my purpose in life.”
Hind is currently pursuing her PhD in solar energy at Dublin Institute of Technology in Ireland. She is aiming to develop new luminescent materials to enhance the performance of the solar cells and increase their efficiency.
“I’m passionate about Africa and I believe Africa’s challenges require collective passion, vision and action. The AIMS environment is making that happen - it is where talented, like-minded Africans can share ideas, explore and scale them. I can’t wait to finish my studies and go back to share my knowledge and thoughts about Africa, as I strongly believe the solution to Africa’s challenges lies within Africans themselves.”
Lydienne Matchie from Cameroon achieved a Bachelor’s Degree in Pure Mathematics at the University of Yaounde and was selected for the AIMS program in 2008/2009.
She first heard about AIMS through her elder brother, Talla Fabrice, who is also a former AIMS student (2005/2006). “After my Bachelor’s Degree, I wanted to continue in Applied Mathematics, but it was not possible back home since we did not have Applied Mathematics in our universities. I could also not think of leaving the country because of lack of finance. So when I was selected for the AIMS programme it was a dream come true for me. AIMS has been a wonderful opportunity for me.”
“From a social point of view, AIMS is just what Africa needs. A place where young African’s can meet and think about African problems using one common language (mathematical sciences.) I got to learn a lot about African culture. I also built strong relationships with students from other parts of the continent and until today we still help each other. Financially, AIMS gave me the opportunity to follow my postgraduate studies which I would not have been able to do due to lack of finance.”
Lydienne complete her Master's at AIMS while registered at Stellenbosch University. She graduated with distinction and is currently pursuing her PhD in Financial Mathematics in Freiburg University, Germany (under DAAD scholarship).“After my studies I am planning to go back to Africa, to share the knowledge I have acquired so far as for me this is one of the wonderful way of helping to build the continent.”
Zakariya Mohamed was among the first intake of AIMS graduates in August 2003. He completed his research essay on Epidemics on Scale-free networks under the supervision of Gareth Witten. After completing the AIMS Postgraduate Diploma he enrolled for a PhD in Statistics at the University of the Western Cape. During his studies, Zakariya provided consultancy services to the local universities. After completing his PhD in 2009, Zakariya returned to Sudan where he was appointed as the Head of the Department of Statistics in the Faculty of Mathematical Sciences, University of Khartoum.
Cameroonian Yves Semegni completed his PhD 3 years after leaving AIMS in 2005. His Masters programme in Pure Mathematics at Stellenbosch University was upgraded to a PhD. Yves worked as a tutor at AIMS before moving into the Biomathematics field. He is now a post-doctoral fellow at the Computational Biology Group at the University of Cape Town.
Angelina Lutambi grew up in a family with 9 children in rural Tanzania. Her parents were small-scale farmers with little formal education but they encouraged her to go to school, where she clearly had great aptitude for mathematics. Angelina had to finance her own schooling, and that of her siblings by selling cooldrinks. Her hard work paid off when she was awarded a grant to study at Dar Es Salaam University. She graduated from AIMS in June 2004 and then completed a Masters at Stellenbosch University investigating the properties of models of the spread of HIV/AIDS. She returned to Tanzania in 2007, and now works as a research scientist for the Ifakara Health Institute in Tanzania. She is also a doctoral student at the Swiss Tropical Institute, Basel University.
Daphney Singo was born on the 3rd of February 1983 in Thoyandou, South Africa. After completing the Advanced Mathematical Sciences Programme (AMSP) and the Postgraduate Diploma in Mathematical Sciences at AIMS, she went on to study towards a Master of Science in Experimental Nuclear Physics at the University of Cape Town. She was awarded a a Mandela Rhodes Scholarship. Although Daphney had originally planned to continue studying mathematics, her time at AIMS allowed her to realise her passion for nuclear physics. Daphney is now studying towards a PhD at Stellenbosch University. “I am determined to acquire all the necessary skills required to lift this great nation to greater heights; and to make it my responsibility to see that other women are motivated to acquire scientific knowledge and skills.”
After graduating from AIMS in 2004, Tendai Mugwagwa completed her Masters in Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town in 2005. She recently completed her PhD at the University of Utrecht, Netherlands where her research was on mathematical modelling and data analysis of T cell dynamics in lymphopenic conditions (understanding disease dynamics during HIV infection). She currently has a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester.
Shehu was born in Nigeria in 1980. He completed the Diploma programme in 2004 and went on to register for a Masters at UCT. He then completed the Advanced Diploma (Part III) and a PhD at Cambridge University and has now been appointed as a post-doctorate at the ICTP, Trieste, Italy.