I Enjoy Applying Mathematics – Racheal Nuwamanya.


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I met Nuwa during my employment as a tutor at AIMS in Ghana. Here is our interview about her scientific journey:

Who are we honored to have today?
My name is Racheal Nuwamanya.

What do you currently do Racheal?
I am an Economist, currently working with the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development in Uganda. At the Ministry, I am part of the economic modeling team, which builds and utilizes mathematical models to analyze the state of the economy.

How did you end up where you are?
I was born and raised in Mbarara district in the South Western part of Uganda. I went to Buganda Road Primary School, before joining Eden International School for my O’level. I then joined Valley College School for my A’level, after which I was accepted into Uganda Christian University (UCU) to pursue a Bachelor’s degree in Economics and Management.

Applying mathematics to real life problems has been my passion since the first year of my undergraduate studies and I have come to foster and achieve that through economics. However, mathematics was not always my passion in school until my sixth year of primary school. During that year, I started scoring distinctions in mathematics, unlike the previous first five years of primary. In primary six, we got a new teacher of mathematics that made studying mathematics fun and a lot easier. That fanned my latent love for mathematics into flames; I proceeded to study courses in mathematics in High School and at University, and so did most of my primary six classmates – their stars were aligned, too, in the path of mathematics.

During my undergraduate studies, I got a chance to intern for the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development where some of my duties included macroeconomic analysis; that is, analyzing the real, external, fiscal and monetary sectors of the economy.

After graduation, I joined the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development as a Volunteer Economist. My primary duties were periodically updating the macroeconomic framework and assisting the macroeconomic modeling team while I trained in macroeconomic modeling. I later got a scholarship to pursue a Master’s degree in mathematical sciences at the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Ghana.

In 2016, I graduated from AIMS and rejoined the Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development as a macro model Economist, which led to my current role.

What have you found most challenging along this journey?
My greatest challenge has, by far, been in mathematics; abstract algebra while at AIMS – I guess the greatest challenges are entangled with our biggest passions! I could barely understand what the lecturer taught in the first two weeks of the course. This failure drained me both physically and emotionally; I lost appetite for food and also lost about 5 kg (11lbs) of weight within 3 weeks, but through it all, I had a good support system. The tutors at AIMS encouraged me, as well as the course lecturer, Dr. Ulrich Kraehmer from the University of Glasgow. This experience taught me that we often times may fail, but it is important to translate that failure, with deliberation, into energy that will propel us past the bounds of the limitation/challenge at hand. The inability to translate that failure into positive energy will result into accumulated failure and discouragement.

What do you enjoy doing outside work?
Besides work, I spend time at church where I serve in the choir dance team and Discipleship team. I also like to spend time with family and friends to bond and build social capital and knowledge. I enjoy reading books on life as a subject.

Any achievements and awards?
Concerning achievements, I am glad to have been part of the Honor’s College of the Uganda Christian University. The College retained some of the best performing student leaders on campus, among whom I was, for the purpose of mentoring High School students and providing career guidance. This gave me great fulfillment knowing that I was using my experience to encourage the younger students to follow their passions and grow into competent leaders whose strengths are honed to excellence.

For awards, I received a full scholarship from AIMS Ghana to study mathematical sciences.

Quote:
It is important to translate failure, with deliberation, into positive energy to propel you past the bounds of any limitation/challenge at hand, lest the failure translates into accumulated failure and discouragement.

Thank you Nuwa for taking your time to speak to me.

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