#AlumoftheWeek — Marcy Audrey Demafo Nangmo, AIMS Rwanda ‘22

The African Institute for Mathematical Science (AIMS) has over the past 20 years given opportunities to African youth of diverse backgrounds, including poor socioeconomic, displaced migrants, etc. With a particular interest in providing access to more females in a male-dominated area, the Institute reserves at least 30% slot for females across all its Centres. The Centres serving as nodes of excellence across Africa ensure that students who study at their ends receive the best training. One of the hallmarks of AIMS is the opportunities it presents to its students once they are at the Centres. These include easy access to doctoral programmes and fellowships as well as easy penetration into the world of industry. Today, we highlight one of our alum from the just-ended cohort of AIMS Rwanda. Currently studying as a PhD student at the Ilmenau Technical University, Germany, and AIMS Rwanda, the Mastercard Foundation Alumna Marcy Audrey Demafo Nangmo is our #AlumoftheWeek.

With a bachelor’s and master’s degree in Physics from Cameroon, Audrey desired to pursue a PhD back home until she met Dr. Rousseau Djouaka and Dr. Tonnang Henri Edouard. As friends of the institute and experienced academicians, they advised her to consider a master’s degree at AIMS to better her programming and writing skills. She applied to AIMS Rwanda and was accepted into the 2021/22 cohort.

“They told me once at AIMS it would be easier to find a good career opportunity than being in anywhere else and doing the same. I followed their advice and applied for the AIMS Masters in Rwanda. I should sincerely say that this has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.”

As a grooming paradise for youth in STEM across Africa, AIMS provided Audrey with the right skills and attitude that distinguish her from among peers. From the shy type with less social life, Audrey graduated from AIMS with practical public speaking skills and other social values relevant for progression in the academic space. This personality change runs from removing barriers that separate lectures and students. Addressing people by their first names only creates an atmosphere to bond freely without crossing your boundaries.

While at AIMS, Audrey attended a lecture by Prof. Abebe Geletu, which became her turning point. Africa is endowed with several natural resources, including Renewable Energy. The situation however is the optimal generation and usage of these energies. The lecture on this topic presented by Prof. Geletu moved Audrey to investigate that area further and think of ways she could use mathematical methods including optimisation, to rescue the situation. Her proposal was accepted and therefore was accepted into a PhD Fellowship at the Ilmenau Technical University, Germany, in partnership with AIMS Rwanda.

“Doing a PhD is not only a self-working experience but also an avenue to deal with collaboration, discussion with colleagues and advisors for more insights and even negative feedback. This is something that I learnt at AIMS with my classmates and lecturers.”

Audrey appreciates the opportunities presented to her at AIMS and is grateful for taking the advice of her mentors and by way of her own advice to youth in Africa hoping to pursue a carrier in STEM; she says:

“Keep your eyes well-opened on opportunities while having your crafted objective. That goal pushes you daily to do what you do.”