Professor Oghenetega Ighedo has continued to inspire many Nigerians with her outstanding achievements after becoming the first black woman to obtain a PhD in Pure Mathematics from the University of South Africa (UNISA) since its establishment 149 years ago.
The Nigerian woman also holds a Master of Science (MSc) in Pure Mathematics from the University of Ibadan and a Bachelor of Science (BSc) in Industrial Mathematics from Delta State University, Abraka.
Professor Ighedo currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mathematical Sciences at UNISA.
The scholar’s inspiration
Speaking about her inspiration, Professor Ighedo said she was inspired by her mother who happens to be a retired Mathematics teacher.
In her words: “I was inspired by my mother – a retired maths teacher. I saw the way she was going about teaching it and when I grew older, I thought the way she did maths was interesting and I wanted to see if I could do it like her.”
“My decision to study pure mathematics was also motivated by the fact that not only are there few black pure mathematicians but there are fewer black women who are pure mathematicians.”
“Do not be deterred”
The scholar advised young women not to let challenges deter them from pursuing their dreams.
In her words: “I encourage young women not to let adversity and challenges deter them. When I started my PhD, I was already married, I had two children and was expecting my third child. In spite of being a mother and a wife, I was able to complete my PhD within three years.”