Folake Akinpelu AKINPELU

Country of birth: 
Country of studies: 
Country of residence: 

My dream is to become a notable Mathematician


  • 1991 : B. Sc. Mathematics
  • 1997 : M. Sc. Mathematics
  • 2004 : PhD Mathematics

Professional experience
1993 to date Teaching at Ladoke Akintola University of Technology.


Your story with mathematics
Can you tell us something about your story? How did you discover for mathematics? When have you decided to be a mathematician and why?

I love Mathematics right from my secondary school day. During my secondary school days my classmates asked me to solve problems for them. When I got admission into university and had two options between Physics and Mathematics, I choose Mathematics because of the interest I had for Mathematics.

Has anyone influenced your decision to become a mathematician and how?
Yes, one of my Ghanaian Mathematics teacher and my mother because of her words of encouragement.

Has anyone supported you in your choice and during your career?
Yes, My mother and some of my friends.

Were there any specific factors that helped you succeed?
Access to mathematics Materials and tools to work with.

Was it easy for you to enter your field and what challenges did you encounter on the way?
Yes, there are some areas in mathematics whereby I lacked qualify lecturer to teach the course.

What is the funniest thing that has happened to you while working in mathematics?
The funniest thing that happened to me was at a time I tried to solve a problem and I missed a step at the beginning thinking that I have gotten a solution to discover at the end the solution is wrong.

Career and Family
Do you come from an academic family?
No, I don’t come from an academic family but my choice of career was seenas a thing of pride to the family.

Is it hard to manage both career and private life? How do you manage both?
Yes it is hard to manage both career and private; I try to strike the balance.

Do you have kids? Tell us about balancing family life with work life?
Yes, when am with my family I forget about my work life and face my work in the office so that nothing will hinder one another.

Women and Mathematics
What were the biggest obstacles you had to overcome? Did you ever have the impression that it would be easier/harder if you were male? What kind of prejudices, if any, did you have to face? How did that make you feel? Were you able to overcome these? Do you have anything else that you’d like to tell us about?
The biggest obstacle I had to overcome is to believe that I have the potential and I should not be intimidated. Initially, I have the impression that it would be easier if I am a man in the sense that nothing distracts him because woman must take of her home and combine with her career. The prejudice I had to face is that the same criteria are used for both the male and female it makes me to put in extra effort. Yes the same criteria should not be used when it comes for promotion.

Tell us about the organizations for women mathematicians that you are a part of? How has this helped your career?

  • Nigeria Women in Mathematics
  • West African women in Mathematics
  • African Women in Mathematics Association

These organizations has enabled me to know how to alleviate fear in the heart of the students (female)

Do you consider it necessary to organize special programs like Girl’s Day promoting mathematics for girls in schools? What else, do you think, could further be done to support woman with mathematics as their career?
Yes, we must encourage them at the secondary school level by giving them scholarship to university level.

Teaching mathematics, especially to non-mathematicians, can be a challenge. What is your strategy to catch and keep the attention of your audience?
By using play way method, by allowing the students to express themselves and not scolding.

How would you explain your research to a layman (non-specialist)?
My area of research is into analytical dynamics where road construction and bridges are been discussed. To a layman the materials needed for construction must be considered both in quantity and quality, frequency, the critical velocity, the stiffness, the shape axial and the compressive forces of the structure.

Can you tell us about the applications of your research, if any?
Construction of buildings, bridges and roads.

What are your biggest achievements, and what your biggest failures?
I have ninety-three (93) citations, nine hundred and ninety-five (995) read and eight (8) recommendations of some of my publications.

Do you have a dream?
Yes, my dream is to become a notable Mathematician.

Which advice would you give to young girls who want to engage a career in mathematics?
They should not have phobia for Mathematics. Mathematics is no longer x and y, it is very interesting and applicable to real life problems.