Welcome to my NMAIST - VLP home page


Department of Mathematical Sciences
George Mason University
4400 University Drive, MS: 3F2
Science and Tech I
Fairfax, VA 22030
Phone: (703) 993-9787
Fax: (703) 993-1491

| VLP | Research | Outreach | Videos |

2011 Volunteer Lecturer Program

With a desire to bring an end to the knowledge deficit in Sub-Saharan Africa in comparison to the rest of the world prompted former President Nelson Mandel to propose the establishment of African Institutes of Science and Technology (AISTs) and this AIST concept was then developed by World Bank Institute with the focus of developing local Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) capacity to harness the resources of nature, including human capital, for the sustainable socio-economic devleopment of Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Nelson Mandela African Institute of Science and Technology in Arusha (NM AIST-Arusha) is one in a network of AISTs, which is an sutonomous regional institution that caters for the Eastern African region of Sub-Saharan Africa. This institute has been established with a mission to train and develop the next generation of African scientists, engineers and technologists, who will impact on Africa's development through the application of science, engineering and technology. For more details about the institution visit NM AIST-Arusha .

As a part of the Volunteer Lecturer Program sponsored by the Developing Countries Strategy Group of the International Mathematics Union (IMU) , in cooperation with International Center for Pure and Applied Mathematics (CIMPA) and the U.S. National Committee for Mathematics , I had the opportunity to tbe first visiting professor at NM AIST-Arusha from August 8, 2011 to September 2011. During this time, I was able to develop two new graduate classes in their catalog MCSE6103 (Computational Methods for Scientists and Engineers I) and MCSE6102 (Differential Equations). The content and structure I have helped develop for these classes correspond to the special 5-week modular form of coursework that NM AIST-Arusha offers. As a part of the course development, I created complete course packets including detailed syllabi, day by day schedule including classwork, homework and projects. Powerpoint lectures for every topic in the course was created and a detailed instructor's guide in the form of a textbook (130 pages) was created. websites for each of the classes MCSE6103 and MCSE6102 were also created for easy access of the content and delivery for the students.

Research Interactions

I also had the opportunity to visit several leading scientists and directors of prominent programs who visited NM AIST-Arusha to build partnerships. These included Prof. Leif Abrahamsson, Mathematics Program Director International Science Programme , Peter Singer, Chief Executive Officer, Grand Challenges Canada along with delegates from the African Capacity Building Foundation as well as members form the East African Universities Mathematics Programme . I was invited to make a presentation to these delegates on "Applications of Mathematics to Science and Engineering".

I also had the opportunity to interact with faculty on a regular basis from all various schools and departments at NM AIST-Arusha including Mathematics, Computational and Communcation Science and Engineering; Life Sciences and Bioengineering; Materials Science and Engineering and; Water Resources and Environmental Science and Engineering. Having directed students on a variety of projects at all levels in the last decade on these areas, I was able to share my work with them and discuss potential collaborations that we can build from both our experise. In this regard, I was able to help out creating proposals and hope to engage in interdisciplinary collabortive research opportunities in the near future.

K-12 Outreach Activities

During my VLP, I was able to visit three secondary (high schools) that included the Orkeeswa Secondary School, Maasai Girls School and Ilboru Secondary School and a Maasai Primary School to give lectures to over 700 students. I was very happy to have impacted so many of the next generation African Scientists by engaging them on problem solving and critical thinking. The Maasai Girls School that I visited and lectured at is a school for Maasai girls who are often deprived of schooling in a male-dominated society and it was nice to learn that President Bush had visited the same school during his trip to Arusha, Tanzania in Feb 2008.

I am hoping to help these school set up afterschool mathematics clubs and connect them with faculty at NM AIST-Arusha to constantly motivate them to pursue mathematics, science and engineering. Also, I had an opportunity to share with the highschool teachers about possible resources that they can use to motivate the students to think of careers in STEM.

Classroom Videos

Attached below are classroom engagement with students captured for the handshake problem (which generated a rich discussion of Guass Formula, Permuations and Combinations, Arithmetic progression, Finite Differences, Geometric interpretation via graph theory ideas, Creating multiple representation for the solutions strategies and connecting them etc. and the pizza topping selection problem (which introduced permuations and combinations and connected to Pascals Triangle). The focus in the discussion on enhancing their habits of mind while solving problems including abstracting from simple problems, doing and undoing, become efficienct in obtaining solutions and finally connecting the multiple representations. I also had a chance to visit the math club of one of the schools and worked with students to encourage them to pursue mathematics as a foundation for STEM to research and solve bigger real-world problems including disease dynamics, biomathematics, applications in defense etc. I am confident many of these young students are going to contribute to the big changes in their continent one day through STEM! Enjoy some of the videos below (click on the titles).