I met Janet during my masters at AIMS in Ghana. Here is our interview about her scientific journey:
Kindly state your name please.
My name is Fadekemi Janet Osaye.
What do you do currently?
I am a visiting Assistant Professor at Auburn University, in the United States. As part of my job, I am a course instructor for Calculus 3 for Engineers and Calculus 1 for Global Stature students, I mentor undergraduate students through programs under the Office of Special Projects and Initiatives, and I am an assistant coordinator for the US-Africa collaborative research Network in Mathematical Sciences (MASAMU), funded by the US-National Science Foundation.
What’s your story?
I was born in the capital city of Lagos, Nigeria. I attended Owoseni Primary School and later Oshodi Comprehensive High School, both in Oshodi, Lagos. My passion for mathematics made me enroll for my undergraduate studies in Industrial Mathematics at the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Ondo State, Nigeria. I did an internship in my fourth year as a Statistical Quality Control Officer at Triumphant Productions, Lagos. Between 2008 and 2010, I worked as a Mathematics and Further Mathematics Teacher at Matol High School in Lagos, from where I joined Platinum Habib Bank in Lagos as a Retail Banking Officer, until 2012. In August 2012, I joined the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences (AIMS) in Ghana for a masters in Mathematical Sciences. Upon graduation, I was retained as an academic tutor and researcher until the end of 2013.
Between 2014 and 2015, I was a graduate student at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban (South Africa), where I graduated Summa Cum Laude with a dissertation about Spanning trees, eigenvalues, special numbers, and the tree-cover ratios, asymptotes and areas of graphs. During that period, I also worked as a mathematics instructor for the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science. Upon graduation, I was accepted as a PhD student in Mathematics at the University of Johannesburg, under the project title: Distance measures in graphs. I was also a mathematics lecturer and instructor during that time. After finishing my PhD, that’s when I was invited into my current role.
What is your current research about?
I am interested in Graph Theory, Combinatorics, Network Science, and Optimization. My current research is about structural graph theory and distances in graph.
Any prestigious awards and achievements so far?
Yes I have received various awards that I am very proud of:
The African Institute for Mathematical Science (AIMS) Graduate Fellowship 2012-2013.
AIMS-Next Einstein Initiative Postgraduate Fellowship 2014.
University of KwaZulu-Natal Graduate Scholarship 2014.
South African Association for the Advancement of Science Bronze Medal (S2A3) 2015 for best Master’s Dissertation in a Scientific Domain.
Best Ph.D. Presentation, Southern Africa Mathematical Sciences Association Annual Conference 2016, University of Pretoria, 21-24 November 2016.
University of Johannesburg (UJ) Global Excellence Scholar Award December 2016 – 2018.
African Mathematics Millenium Science Initiative (AMMSI)- London Mathematical School (LMS) Conference Travel Grant 2017.
University of Johannesburg Exchange Programme Research Grant 2018.
Combinatorics Foundation Graduate Research Workshop Grant, Iowa State University, 2018.
First African Participant, Rocky Mountain-Great Plains Graduate Research Workshop in Combinatorics, Iowa State University, USA.
Kovalevskaia Award for Best Upcoming Female Mathematician in Sub-Saharan Africa in the category of Pure Mathematics.
First Black Female with Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Johannesburg, South Africa.
I have also attended and participated in different workshops and conferences all over the world. These have been wonderful experiences for me, mainly because they have sharpened my mathematics communication skills. This has in a way influenced my scientific writing skills, into publication of 8 papers in prestigious journals. For my love of mathematics, I have volunteered at various events, especially the ones that involve mentoring young people and teaching them about the beauty of mathematics.
At the moment, what is your biggest challenge?
I would say adjusting to motherhood, teaching and research. Basically, managing my time with these three things has been quite challenging.
How about your inspiration?
I have been inspired by a lot of wonderful people in life. My family have been a great source of inspiration for me in terms of dedication, hard work and perseverance. They have supported me in times that were very crucial to my life. I am particularly indebted to my teachers and supervisors both at AIMS and during my postgraduate studies.
Are you part of any scientific organisation?
I hold memberships for different academic organisations; African Women in Mathematics Association (AWMA), South African Mathematical Society (SAMS), Southern African Mathematical Sciences Association (SAMSA), Golden Key International Honour Society (GKIHS), Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM), and Operations Research Society of South Africa (ORSSA).
Something outside your work.
Whenever I am not working, I love spending time with my family, especially my children.
Anything additional, maybe a quote, word of encouragement, future steps?
Moving forward, I plan to be more involved with giving back to my society through community engagement programs and being actively involved with AIMS. I recently applied to be a NEF Ambassador for my country Nigeria, hoping to be selected.
Generally, as a word of encouragement, the only thing not achievable is what one has not set the mind to achieve. Once you can think it, you can achieve it. Being extraordinary takes just a little more effort.
Thank you Janet for taking your time to speak to me.