Maths Mastermind: Professor Kazeem Okosun
Appreciation is a wonderful thing because it makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well, which is why we give credit to an extraordinary researcher here at Vaal University of Technology, Professor Kazeem Okosun.
With his iron persistence and resolute determination, Prof Okosun, is now officially a C2 rated researcher with the National Research Foundation (NRF), earning him broad national and international recognition.
But, gaining this achievement wasn’t just a walk in the park he said. He has been kicked to the floor a couple of times, like being referred to as 70’s writer and also encountering rejection after rejection both professionally and personally before landing a foot through the door.
Prof Okosun said he couldn’t have pulled this off without the help of his team, the co-writers and the publishers who efficiently helped create quality in his projects and of course his mentor, who encouraged him to be a mathematician instead of pursuing a career in mechanical engineering or computer sciences.
Like any other student, he was terrified of maths and thought of it as a rather abstract more than a practical subject, but ironically in the long run he obtained a PhD in Applied Mathematics and an M Tech in Computational Mathematics.
He has personally groomed quite a number of people who have grown so much as mathematicians because he believes that true leaders don’t create followers, but create more leaders. “Team work divides work, and creates multiple success, so any aspiring mathematician should firstly overcome fear and seek guidance from somebody who is already in the industry,” he said. He further said that It won’t be easy as the journey is emotionally and physically draining, but, in the end it will all be worth it because the harder the struggle the more glorious the triumph.
When the news of his nomination as an NRF rated researcher was shared on VUT’s Facebook page, the professor received hundreds of messages of affection pouring in from those who’ve crossed paths with him, especially the students he’s taught. Many say he is a wise and patient teacher with strong leadership qualities. He’s touched the lives of many and will continue to do so by transferring the knowledge he has to others.
When asked what advise he’d like to share with young and aspiring researchers he said; “Never give up, It’s probably one of the most cliché phrases you’ll hear as you are building a career, but then, in the end whatever good things we build, end up building us.”