Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) field of the Nigerian academia is a specialized field. It is often considered a field for men because its complexity. Today, we celebrate distinguished Nigerian women that have made outstanding achievements in various fields of Sciences.
Professor Alele-Williams is the first Nigerian female to earn a Ph.D. in Mathematics, the first female Professor of Mathematics, and the first female Vice Chancellor of a university in Nigeria.
She received her university education at the University of Ibadan, the University of Vermont and University of Chicago, respectively. She participated in African Mathematics Program in Newton, Massachusetts, under the mentorship of MIT Professor Ted Martins.
Alele-Williams was Chairman, Curriculum Review Committee in 1973 and a member of the Governing Council of UNESCO Institute of Education.
She held the position of Vice President of the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education and a Regional Vice President for Africa of the Third World Organization for Women in Science.
Alele-Williams received the National Honor of the Order of the Niger in 1987 and was a member of the Vision 2010 Committee.
Francisca Nneka Okeke
Professor Nneka Okeke gained international prominence after winning the highly respected L’Oreal-UNESCO Women in Science Award worth USD 100, 000 in 2013. The award was in recognition of her notable contributions to the understanding of daily variations of the Ion currents in the upper atmosphere.
She is a Professor at the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Okeke was the first female Head of the Department and a former Dean of the Faculty of Physical Sciences at her university.
Born in an environment where female education was discouraged, Okeke was motivated to study Physics by her mentor and father, a Mathematician.
Professor Deborah Enilo Ajakaiye is Africa’s first woman to be appointed a Professor of Physics in 1980.
Ajakaiye completed her Ph.D. in Geophysics at the Ahmadu Bello University (A.B.U.), and her Master and Bachelor’s degrees at the University of Birmingham and University of Ibadan, respectively.
She was the Dean in the Faculty of Natural Sciences at Ahmadu Bello University
Professor Ajakaiye has been recognized at local and international forums. She was awarded by the Nigerian Mining and GeoSciences Society. She was also the first black African to be named a Fellow of the Geological Society of London.
She was one of the 50 Women of Distinction awarded by the First Lady, Dame Patience Goodluck Jonathan in 2010, in celebration of Nigeria’s 50th independence anniversary.
Professor Adenike Oyinlola Osofisan is the first Nigerian female to hold a doctorate in Computer Science, and the first female Professor of Computer Science in Africa.
In addition to her specialization in Computer Science, Osofisan also excelled in Business Administration as she received the best result in the 1993 MBA class of the University of Ibadan.
As Head of the Department of Computer Science at the University of Ibadan, Osofisan began post-graduate programs in the department and her tenure recorded more staff with Ph.D. degrees.
Osofisan made history as the first woman to serve as President and Chairman of the Computer Professionals Registration Council of Nigeria between 2005 and 2009. Professor Osofisan was also the Pioneer President, Nigeria Women in Information Technology (IT).
Professor Ugbebor studied at Queen’s College, Lagos on G.B. Ollivant Scholarship for her West African School Certificate Course (WASC).
Following her brilliant performance in the Higher School Certificate Course, the Federal Government of Nigeria awarded her a scholarship to study Mathematics at the University of Ibadan, where she was the only female in a class of seven Mathematics majors.
She graduated from the University of Ibadan in 1972 and was he was given a scholarship by to undertake Postgraduate studies at the University of London where she was awarded the Postgraduate Diploma in Statistics. She embarked on her Ph.D. degree course in Mathematics at the University of London, which she completed in 1976 at the age of 25.
Professor Ugbebor returned to the University of Ibadan and joined the Department of Mathematics, where she rose to become a Professor, thus making history as the first woman to attain that position in the department at the University of Ibadan and on different occasions, served as the Acting Head, Department of Mathematics.
In 2014, Professor Ugbebor was elected the first President of Nigerian Women in Mathematics at the Inaugural Meeting of the Nigerian Women in Mathematics.