PhD research leads to prestigious fellowship in US.

A Nigerian graduate is celebrating after being awarded a Doctorate for his research from Robert Gordon University (RGU) and securing a prestigious teaching fellowship in the US.

Dr Nuka Nwiabu (43) from Ogoniland, Rivers State graduated from RGU’s School of Computing Science and Digital Media in December 2012 with a PhD in Software Engineering.

A former pupil of the County High School Ahoada and Government Secondary School Kaa, Nuka gained a BSc Computer Science from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Kumasi, Ghana in 2002 and an MSc Computer Science from the University of Port Harcourt in 2007. He has recently been appointed as a Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Rivers State University of Science and Technology in Port Harcourt.

During his studies at RGU, Nuka published research exploring new software systems which could help provide solutions for the oil and gas industry.

He was recognised for his work at ‘CogSIMA 2011’ in Miami, held by the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), where he won the ‘Best Paper’ accolade for his report which explored the problem of hydrate formation in deepwater operations and addressed the use of new computing technology to predict such formations.

Following his five years of study at RGU, sponsored by Nigeria’s Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Nuka was awarded the prestigious MISTI Africa Empowering the Teachers Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

‘Empowering the Teachers’ enables the outstanding young Nigerian faculty in science and engineering to collaborate with faculty at MIT in developing new curriculum and teaching methods. The program is offered by the MIT International Science and Technology Initiatives (MISTI) together with its corporate partner Total.

The Fellowship is offered to up to twelve outstanding fellows per annum from the disciplines of electrical engineering, computer science and computer engineering in African universities to spend a semester at MIT.

Nuka will teach both undergraduate and postgraduate students in MIT’s Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science for a semester from September to December 2013.

He comments:

“During my time at MIT, I will observe lectures in my field and work with other Fellows to prepare innovative curricula and approaches to teaching that I can bring back to Rivers State University and implement. We will also have the opportunity to view and collaborate on current research.

“Empowering the Teachers also supports online communications, reunions and meetings between Fellows on return to Nigeria in order to build a community of faculty devoted to sharing knowledge and expertise in science and engineering education.”

Nuka has also been appointed as the Head of the ICT unit of the Federal Government of Nigeria Hydrocarbon Pollution Restoration Project (HYPREP) which is responsible for the implementation of the United Nations report on clean-up and remediation of oil polluted environments in the country.

Commenting on his time at Robert Gordon University, Nuka added:

“My research experience at the School of Computing was very positive, I was provided with a supporting learning environment with regular meetings with supervisory staff and academics.

“My PhD has improved my academic learning and trained me how to undertake inter-disciplinary research which has given me more confidence in sharing and publishing my work in scientific journals.”