On this week’s #AlumoftheWeek, we are featuring Mor Absa Loum of the 2013 cohort of AIMS Senegal who is a Lecturer and a Researcher at the Iba Der Thiam University in Thiès.
Q: Tell us a little about yourself before coming to AIMS.
Loum: Before AIMS, I had obtained a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Applied Mathematics and Computer Science at Gaston Berger University in Senegal. I heard about AIMS during my undergraduate days. One of our professors had strongly recommended that we apply for the AIMS Master’s, and I was humbly waiting for my day to get admitted.
Q: How would you describe your experience at AIMS?
Loum: At AIMS, I learned to conduct research and popularize the results through contact with many professors; this reinforced the skills I acquired at Gaston Berger University. In addition, I started to take a liking to research when I began working with Professor Damien Simon (Sorbonne University) during my Master’s thesis. I am very grateful and thank him for all his support and foresight. He introduced me to research and has accompanied and supported me since we met at AIMS.
Q: Tell us about the impact AIMS has had on you.
Loum: AIMS enabled me to grow from a student with theoretical and applied maths skills to an excellent researcher contributing to the continent’s development through scientific research. I had good training at Gaston Berger University, but at AIMS, I learned to use my math and computer skills to answer real-life problems.
Q: Which of the SDGs is most important/relevant to you? How do you plan on addressing it in your work?
Loum: Good Health and Wellbeing. As you may be aware, there are many public health problems in Africa that we must provide answers to from the epidemiology point of view. These epidemiological approaches do provide massive support and insights to the doctors. Thus, since my Master’s degree in Paris, I have been working on data to provide solutions in the epidemiology of arboviruses and the genetics of mental health.
Q: What would you describe as your post-AIMS success story?
Loum: My graduation with a Distinction at AIMS allowed me to get one of Orsay’s most prestigious Master’s scholarships (the first mathematics laboratory in Shanghai ranking). I enrolled in the Master II program in Fundamental and Applied Mathematics (probability and statistics). After graduating from the Master’s program, I obtained a PhD research fellowship in Statistics from Paris-Saclay University, co-supervised by Professors Elisabeth Gassiat and Aliou Diop (Gaston Berger University). After my PhD, I had a two-year contract as a postdoctoral researcher at the Dr Jacquemont Laboratory in Sainte-Justine Hospital (Montreal University). Since January 2021, I have been serving at the Iba Der Thiam University in Thiès as a lecturer and a researcher.
Q: What is your message to current AIMS students and young people across the continent?
Loum: Work hard and make the most of AIMS’ work environment with internationally renowned lecturers. Africa needs its sons to move forward, and that requires good training.