This edition of #AlumoftheWeek highlights Eugene Yaw Adade Adjei of AIMS Ghana ’16. As a Mastercard Foundation Scholar, Eugene spent his years after AIMS at the Perimeter Institute pursuing his PhD and is now back at AIMS as a tutor.
Q: Tell us about your journey before AIMS.
Eugene: I obtained a BSc in Mathematics from the University of Ghana in 2014. I joined AIMS Ghana after my national service.
Q: How would you describe your time at AIMS?
Eugene: My time at AIMS was transformative. I consider myself an introvert but AIMS forced me out of my comfort zone and enabled me to be more interactive by encouraging group work and housing all the students in one building. One cannot help but open up to others at AIMS, partly due to the intense shared experiences we go through block after block and in such constant proximity with each other. By the end of the program, we were no longer strangers, and I can honestly say I became less of an introvert, though some of these traits remain.
Q: Tell us about the impact AIMS has had on you.
Eugene: AIMS taught me resilience. When things get tough, as they sometimes do, the AIMS-instilled resilience serves me well in research or otherwise. Also, the courses I took at AIMS laid the foundation for further interests afterwards; I developed an appetite for many of the beautiful courses taken at AIMS, particularly Relativity and Algebraic Topology, so much so that today they continue to influence my direction of research.
Q: What would you describe as your post-AIMS success story?
Eugene: Success stories after AIMS include my entry and completion of the Perimeter Scholars International program and my PhD program. Both were very tough for me. The resilience cultivated at AIMS helped immensely, keeping me from quitting both programs at many points during that period.
Q: Which of the SDGs is most important/relevant to you? How do you plan on addressing it in your work?
Eugene: Gender equality is what is most important to me. Discrimination of any kind is appalling, and discrimination based on gender is even more so. Historically, women and girls have been marginalised in education and the work environment; this is an injustice. Growing up in a home where the primary breadwinner was my grandmother, who specialised in curriculum development for high school biology, I learned from an early age that women are people too, just like men, and that given a chance, they too can thrive. All they need is the chance.
Q: What is your message to current AIMS students and young people across the continent?
Eugene: Never give up. It is a cliche, I know. But I must stress here that talent is not everything. Sure, talent helps, but resilience pays even in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds. It may not pay as you might expect it to, but in hindsight, you will appreciate its rewards.