How an IUGB Alumna Achieved Her Doctoral Degree

Just a couple of weeks ago, IUGB Foundation staff had the honor of observing Dr. Aurelie Akossi’s doctoral dissertation defense (“Comparison of Various Discretization Algorithms for Stable Estimation of Disease Parameters and Forecasting in Epidemiology”).  Within an hour, we were congratulating Aurelie and her mother on the award of her Doctoral Degree.

Aurelie began her higher education journey at IUGB around 2009, and in 2011, transferred to Georgia State University to complete her bachelor’s degree, majoring in Mathematics with a concentration in actuarial science.  Aurelie states, “…while there, I received the opportunity to work with an undergraduate mathematics research program on mathematical music theory. This sparked my interest in mathematics research.  Then, after graduation in 2013, I was encouraged by professors to apply to the graduate program, which I did..and I began the Ph.D. program later that same year.”

IUGB Foundation: What were some of the greatest challenges that you faced when you moved to the USA?

Aurelie: The main challenge I faced when I moved to the USA was the long distance from my family, which is my chief support system. Luckily, the community of IUGB alumni made the transition more manageable from the very first day.  Former students picked us up at the airport and shared their experiences.

IUGB Foundation: What are some of the differences that you noticed between the schooling in the USA and back home in Côte d’Ivoire?

Aurelie: I found that students USA are expected to be more independent and take charge of their education. As a student, it is your job to go and look for information, programs, and opportunities.

IUGB Foundation:  What is your Ph.D. in, and why did you choose that particular field?

Aurelie: My Ph.D. is in Mathematics with a concentration in Applied Mathematics. My dissertation concerns parameter estimation and forecasting and utilizing epidemiological data.  At first, I considered doing a Ph.D. in Pure Mathematics; I was interested in Abstract Algebra.  I reconsidered, because I wanted to be able to work in Côte d’ Ivoire and contribute academically, but also practically. With a degree in applied and computational mathematics, I can work in various fields.

IUGB Foundation:  What do you plan to do now that you have obtained this Ph.D.?

Aurelie: My plan is to keep working on problems in the field of inverse problems and mathematical epidemiology. I am also interested in Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence.  I hope to contribute something meaningful to Côte d’Ivoire.

Please join us in congratulating Dr. Akossi on this immense achievement, and in wishing her well in what will surely be a lifetime of contributions to the academic, medicine and business communities-in Côte d’Ivoire-and certainly around the world.