Last year, RSS fellow Julia Mortera volunteered at AIMS Cameroon as a course lecturer. Here, she recounts her experiences at the Centre, and also describes how one of its particularly talented students, has progressed since studying the course.
The AIMS volunteer
‘My motivation for volunteering with AIMS Cameroon was that I wanted to help and encourage talented African students to learn and become passionate about statistics,' says Julia, who has been teaching statistics at university level for more than 30 years. A professor of statistics at the University Roma Tre, Julia's main research interests are in forensic statistics including models for inference from DNA mixtures and kinship analysis, as well as opinion pooling and prediction markets.
Julia was invited to AIMS Cameroon to deliver part of a course on Statistical Inference at AIMS Cameroon by Jane Hutton, another RSS fellow who regularly volunteers at the centre. ‘She was extremely helpful, providing most of the course material,’ Julia remembers. ‘We overlapped for a few days at AIMS Cameroon in which she helped me get a better understanding of what was expected of me for teaching at AIMS.’
‘Teaching the course was a very fulfilling experience,’ Julia continues. ‘I found the students to be enthusiastic with an incredible drive to learn. They were extremely hard working, I would find them still preparing and discussing the topics of their assignments till the early hours of the morning and at 8am they were already in the lecture room, keen to learn more.’
Julia says that overall, her experience at AIMS Cameroon was ‘extremely rewarding’. ‘Many students still write to me to tell me what they have accomplished since qualifying at AIMS,’ she adds.
The AIMS student
Julia and Jane both taught Seth Adarkwah Yiadom on the Statistical Inference course at AIMS Cameroon.
Born in Kumasi, Ghana, Seth had his basic school education in one of the remote areas in Kumasi-Ghana in 2009 before gaining admission into one of the top high schools in Kumasi. He gained a BSc degree in Statistics at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), where he worked as a teaching assistant and received a Provost Excellence award, before embarking on a masters’ degree in Mathematical Sciences at AIMS Cameroon in October 2018.
He was an exceptionally talented student and was nominated as top student in all his statistics courses. He describes his experience at AIMS as 'second to none', and that AIMS has improved his communication and programming skills as well as exposing him to a lot of opportunities in life.
Currently a graduate teaching assistant, Seth applied and obtained a scholarship for pursuing a MSc in Statistics at Northern Arizona University, USA. His aspiration in life is to become a worldwide known statistician and researcher who can contribute in bridging the gap between academia and society through his research work.
Julia describes Seth as a ‘determined and motivated African youth who believes in using statistical research to make the society a better place to live in.’
AIMS Cameroon is currently seeking a statistics examiner; please see our Call-outs to members section (deadline 15 March).
Photograph shows Julia (centre) with two AIMS students, including Seth (right).