The Mfano Africa – Oxford Mathematics Virtual Mentorship Programme works with promising pre-PhD students based in sub-Saharan Africa who wish to pursue graduate study within the mathematical sciences.
The programme runs over eight weeks and during this time the Mfano students receive career development training and build independent research skills through working with their mentors on a short research project. At the end of the programme the students give a presentation on their project to their fellow students and mentors.
In the summer of 2022, postdoctoral researcher Sarah Hayes took part in the Mfano Programme and acted as a mentor to Pride Duve, a mathematics graduate from Zimbabwe. Pride had a keen interest in infectious disease modelling and was particularly interested in exploring parameter estimation methods. His research project focussed on comparing two different parameter estimation methods within the framework of a deterministic compartmental model for COVID-19.
It was a real pleasure to mentor Pride, who was a committed and diligent student and exhibited a passion for his research. Sarah said, "I encourage anyone that is considering volunteering to be a mentor to do so, as it is a rewarding experience and may be an important stepping stone for the next generation of researchers."
The Mfano - Africa mentorship program gave me the opportunity to research one of my areas of interest. Working with experts in the field made me enjoy the program and understand the concepts as well. I would highly recommend anyone interested in a pre-PhD training course to consider this program.
Pride Duve, mathematics graduate from Zimbabwe
Calls for mentors for the next Mfano programme are likely to be made in early 2023. We encourage anyone considering volunteering to be a mentor to do so, as it is a rewarding experience and may be an important stepping stone for the next generation of researchers.