Makerere university’s youngest Mathematics Ph.D. holder now holds the teaching
profession in high regard compared to any other. Nabawanda, who is basking in
glory for being the first to receive a doctorate in her immediate and distant family,
is even happier that she was awarded the PhD in Mathematics at 31-years of age,
something she had never dreamt of.
The Math Icon joined Makerere university in 2017
for her four-year program, which describes as a journey of pleasure and hard
work. "To tell you the truth, I have enjoyed my PhD season at Makerere
university. I had a lot of favor from lecturers. They were very supportive,”
Nabawanda told URN.
Nabawanda, who can easily
be mistaken for an undergraduate because of her medium size, joyful expression, and free and humble spirit, traces her roots to Kayunga district where she was
raised. The scholar started her academic journey at St. Bruno Kanjuki
R/C primary school where she scored 10 Aggregates in her Primary Leaving
Examinations-PLE. This was her first academic victory as she was the best
candidate at her school.
She moved to Kanjuki
Secondary School for her senior and six where she scored 19 aggregates and 18 points
at the Advanced level. The 18points earned her a government scholarship at Mbarara
University of Science and Education where she was admitted for a Bachelor of
Education in 2010.
Nabawanda was disappointed with the
admission to a course she thought was inferior to her dream of pursuing
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A number of family
friends advised Nabawanda’s father to give her a chance to at least study nursing,
she settled for education after the passing of her father, who was the sole
provider. He passed on in the second semester of the first year.
Shortly after her
graduation, Nabawanda immediately enrolled for her masters in Ghana where she
won a scholarship from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences
specifically targeting female students.
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The master's program, which ran from 2014 to 2015
was an opportunity presented to her by a lecturer who felt she could do better
as a lecturer and not a Secondary School teacher, according to Nabawanda.
Upon her return to Uganda, she went back to Mbarara University of Science and
Technology as an alumnus where she was hired as a part-time lecturer of
Mathematics to date.
It is upon her return that another scholarship
opportunity under the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency-SIDA
at Makerere immediately presented itself to which she was an eligible candidate.
She successfully competed and started her program at Makerere University.
Professor John Mango, a
Mathematics lecturer at Makerere University who was the coordinator of the
scholarship program noted that besides the graduand being the youngest in the
department, Nabawanda stood out among all students with her great performance. In fact, she shocked her supervisors when her research paper was published in the
journal Integers of Sequences, which is a very highly placed academic
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He noted that her
performance won her favor and external supervisors offered to supervise her
work throughout the course. One of the lecturers Paul Vaderlind from
Sweden exclaimed, saying that Nabawanda was rated at the same competence as his
students in Sweden on the same program, which was intriguing to him.
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Nabawanda’s brother Ivan Kisekka noted that they were
very challenged together with his siblings to learn that their sister would
become a professor at such a young age.
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According to Nabawanda,
during her Ph.D. program, several people including some of her lecturers still held
an assumption that women should not go so far academically.
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Moving forward, Nabawanda hopes to become a full-time Mathematics lecturer at Mbarara University of Science and Technology as
well as settle in marriage.