For a 15-year-old Nigerian teenager, Faith Odunsi, conquering the world at her age is an achievement that would not fade away soon as she has succeeded in putting herself on the map after winning the Global Open Mathematics Competition. It certainly did not come easy as she beat other contestants from Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia, and the United States to emerge winner with 40 points, while the runner-up pulled 10 points.
The Ogun State-born Faith Odunsi won $1000 in the competition, after she scored 66 points in both the first and second rounds, before progressing to the quarter and semi-finals where she scored 40 points, leaving her runner-up 10 points behind.
Speaking on her victory at the competition, Odunsi, who is in her final year at Ambassadors School, Ota, Ogun State, said she has taken part in many competitions. According to her, she got her love for mathematics from her father, who is a medical doctor and mother, a banker and businesswoman.
“I have also taken part in Kangourou Sans Frontieres, South African Mathematics Olympiad, American Mathematics Competition, and Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad. For the National Olympiad, I was made the Queen of Mathematics from JSS3 to SS2.
“For the South African Mathematics Olympiad, I got medals. I got a silver medal in the Pan-African Mathematics Olympiad in 2019. I was also made an ambassador of my school.”
Similarly, in 2019, she set a record in the Cowbellpedia Competition answering 19 questions in seconds.
Her school, the Ambassadors School invests in its students who take part in competitions. For instance, the school holds extra classes for all participants preparing for competitions. Students are generally trained to solve mathematical questions mentally with little or no errors.
On her future ambition, the young achiever said she would like to pursue a degree in Computer Engineering abroad because she believed that there will be enough structures in place there to enhance learning experience.
While many young girls tend to shy away from mathematics, hers is different as she said mathematics is her favorite subject, although she has interest in Information and Communications Technology (ICT).
She said mathematics is all about getting the concept and applying the formula when solving other questions. According to her, “It is about using your brains and basic logical reasoning.”
Odunsi is still a teenager who loves to do other things aside from studying and winning competitions, stating that academic work, by no means, affects her social skills as she is into sports as well.
A lecturer with the Department of Sociology, University of Ibadan, Dr. Oludayo Tade, while speaking with Rulers’ World on the feat recorded by Odunsi, said the little girl through dint of hard work, apart from bringing glory to herself, has proved good things can come out of Nigeria despite the bad image few Nigerians have brought to the country.
He called on governments at all levels to invest more in public education for the country to compete with other nations of the world, lamenting that Odunsi being celebrated is a student of private school.
He said, “The little girl in her own little way has helped to showcase the talents that abound in our country and her achievement is nothing but a big plus for Nigeria. However a lesson that needs to be learnt from her feat is that it is important for our governments, be it local, state of federal, to invest more in public education. No nation can afford to toy with the education of its citizens since it is only through education that any country can compete globally.”