Researcher, entrepreneur and role model
Ms Deborah Akinlotan graduated from AIMS South Africa with a distinction in 2012. After which she went to Stellenbosch University (SU) where she completed a Master’s in Mathematics in 2014. At SU, she mathematically modelled the dynamics of HIV-related malignancies and particularly investigated the incidence of HIV-related lymphomas in the Western Cape of South Africa.
Deborah recently moved to Australia and is currently pursuing a PhD in Applied Mathematics at Queensland University of Technology. Her research interests include the modelling of infectious diseases and she is currently working on a Chlamydia Trachomatis project.
She is also an entrepreneur, having begun her own business in professional cake making and sewing. Deborah aspires to be a role model for the African youth who have no-one to look up to, particularly girls and young women. She strongly believes in giving back to the society that has invested so much in her, and encourages aspiring young women and men to continue their studies. Despite her busy schedule Deborah finds the time to offer cheap or free tutoring services to these young people. She also believes in giving back to AIMS, which she believes has empowered her and opened up a world of opportunities for her. She is now a member of the Steering Committee that is setting up the framework for the AIMS Alumni Association.
“It is a rare privilege that AIMS is giving us African students, especially females who are often seen as a minority. I honestly believe, beyond any reasonable doubt, that AIMS can someday produce the next Einstein!”
“AIMS gave me an almost entire paradigm shift as to what science actually is. I felt making good grades was it, until I started learning how to actually think and write like a scientist (mathematician), starting with the Mathematical Problem Solving course. I was exposed to a lot of scientific knowledge such as writing scientific materials with LaTeX and scientific-programming languages, which I ordinarily might not have even in 10 years to come if I had remained in my country. I always thought that it was only the male folks that can thrive with computational mathematics, but I have now become a contradiction to that ‘theory’. In addition, I made a good network of renowned academics and scholars for long-term academic purposes. Also, learning under several international and highly devoted academics, tutors and other brilliant students from several African countries added great spice to the programme. This has greatly sharpened my image of what a real academic should be. I can’t help but spread the ‘gospel of AIMS’ to my lecturers and junior colleagues. I keep telling them, as a colleague once said, that “…an admission to AIMS is a farewell to years of ignorance”.
“The current expansion of AIMS is another great achievement that gladdens my heart, as more of my country-men are now enrolled for the program. It is a rare privilege that AIMS is giving us African students, especially females who are often seen as a minority. I honestly believe, beyond any reasonable doubt, that AIMS can someday produce the next Einstein.”