Supervisor Nurtures Brilliant Crop of Mathematicians
Senior Lecturer in Mathematics at UKZN, Dr Oluwatosin Mewomo, has reason to celebrate – he supervised no less than nine postgraduate students who were awarded their degrees at this month’s Graduation ceremony.
Mewomo’s brilliant crop included two Honours students, six Masters students – two cum laude and four summa cum laude – and one PhD student in the College of Agriculture, Engineering and Science.
‘Tosin has indeed been the most amazing supervisor!’ said Dean and Head of the School of Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science, Professor Delia North. ‘Though he came to UKZN with an impressive record of awards as a young scholar with great potential, he has achieved outstanding results, beyond our wildest expectations. This remarkable young academic Mathematician continues to impress and trail blaze as a supervisor in a discipline that is notorious for not attracting many postgraduate students.’
All six of Mewomo’s MSc graduates have been accepted for PhD studies and will continue under his supervision.
His young star mathematicians include:
• Dr Ferdinard Ogbuisi (PhD), who won a top award in the College’s 2016 Postgraduate Research Day and has already published six publications from his PhD thesis with a further five submitted
• Mr Chinedu Izuchukwu (MSc summa cum laude), who was awarded the prestigious S2A3 Medal for the best Masters dissertation across all the sciences and applied sciences at UKZN
• Mr Lateef Jolaoso (MSc summa cum laude)
• Mr Hammed Abass (MSc summa cum laude)
• Mr Peter Olanipekun (MSc summa cum laude)
• Mr Akindele Mebawondu (MSc cum laude)
• Mr Ugochukwu Adiele (MSc cum laude)
• Mr Ndumiso Ngwekazi (BScHons)
• Mr Thabo Buthelezi (BScHons).
The students’ areas of specialisation focus either on nonlinear analysis, in particular fixed point theory and its applications; or Banach algebras, in particular notions of amenability in Banach algebras. Both of these topics are areas of research interest for Mewomo.
He explained his winning formula for student supervision: ‘I show, guide, expose, challenge, motivate and involve my graduate students in order for them to learn, plan and organise their works, develop their research skills and capabilities and succeed in their research works,’ he said.
‘My supervision approach promotes the involvement of students, deep learning of necessary background and skills in the field and research independence.
‘Since the relationship between myself and the students is critical to the success of their training, development of their research skills and the timely and successful completion of their study, I always develop and maintain positive relationships with them. I see them as mature students that I can relate to as friends, colleagues and collaborators.’
Mewomo said he was delighted with his students’ successes: ‘I feel happy and fulfilled and it is an encouragement for me to do more and to supervise and mentor more graduate students.’ His wish is to see his young protégés become established and leading researchers in their fields of study in their own right.
A citizen of Nigeria and graduate of the Federal University of Agriculture in Nigeria, Mewomo joined UKZN in 2015. With 15 years of teaching and research experience under his belt, he has graduated 20 MSc and PhD students to date.
Academic Leader for Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at UKZN, Dr Sudan Hansraj said the Discipline of Mathematics took great pride in the exceptional achievement of Mewomo. ‘He has displayed tireless dedication to his students and has reaped rich academic rewards. His contribution will go a long way to the worldwide effort to generate new academics in the fundamental sciences.’
‘Tosin is focused, knows what he wants and he is thorough,’ said Academic Leader of Research in the School, Professor Henry Mwambi. ‘I am convinced that the sky is the limit for Tosin and I sincerely wish him the very best!’
Words by: Sally Frost
Photograph by: Abhi Indrarajan