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Omomayowa Olawoyin

PhD student, Mathematics

Omomayowa Olawoyin

You earned your bachelor's degree in mathematics from UTA a few years ago. What first brought you to UTA?

Having lived a majority of my life in Arlington, I must admit that UTA was not on my radar for undergraduate studies. However, after touring the campus, I began to see the University as a jewel in my own backyard. The school had so much to offer, especially in terms of scholarships. I received a full ride to UTA, including housing, through the Richard Greene Scholarship. That played a major role in me choosing UTA.

Why did you come back for your PhD?

I wanted to attain the highest degree in whatever I decided to study so that I could have the option of working anywhere without having doors closed to me because I didn't have a certain degree. I specifically decided to come back to UTA because I was convinced that it was exactly where I needed to be to grow academically, professionally, and spiritually. The University is experiencing a season of growth, and I am excited to be here during this time.

By the way, congratulations on your National Science Foundation graduate fellowship!

Receiving the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program award was such a blessing. It increased my motivation to do research and confirmed that I had something important to contribute to the scientific community.

Can you tell us more about your research experiences at UTA?

My first research experience was through the UTTER [Undergraduate Training in Theoretical and Ecology Research] program. I thoroughly enjoyed UTTER because it opened my eyes to the versatility of mathematics. I also got the chance to present my research at numerous conferences, which polished my presentation skills.

I also conducted research in mathematics education through the McNair Scholars Program, investigating how teacher reactions to pivotal moments in instruction impacted the level of student discourse in elementary school mathematics classrooms.

As a graduate student, I'm doing research in mathematical biology and am developing mathematical models to describe the spread of diseases such as Zika.

To achieve what you have requires drive and determination. From where do you get those qualities?

A lot of my drive comes from remembering my past and where I came from. My parents sacrificed quite a bit to bring me and my siblings from Nigeria to America in hopes of providing us with a better education. Their sacrifices motivate me to seek out and make the most of my educational opportunities.

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