Meet the 15-year-old mathematics genius from Nigeria with seven international medals

15-year-old Fatima Adamu Maikusa. Photo credit: Fab woman Nigeria

15-year-old Fatima Adamu Maikusa, a native of Gombe State, Nigeria, and a senior secondary school student (SS3 Class) at Nigerian Tulip International School (NTIC), Kano, has set a stunning international record by winning seven medals in different mathematics competitions across the world.

Fatima is now an international symbol for her school and a role model to many girls. She started exhibiting her mathematical ingenuity when she won her first international medal at the American Mathematics Competition (AMC O8) at age nine.

The teenage genius draws inspiration from her love for the subject (mathematics), which many students dislike or deem to be so difficult. While most students rate mathematics as a difficult subject, Fatima says otherwise.

“I have really loved math since my primary school days. I think it is because it’s one of the easiest subjects and I enjoy it.”

“Definitely, if you do not know how to do something, you say it’s hard and you get frustrated and hate it. Maybe they don’t get to see the other side of it. They are seeing the difficult side.”

From age nine, Fatima has won seven international medals in mathematics competitions:

1. American Mathematics Competition (AMC 08)

2. International Eduversal Mathematics competition, Jakarta, Indonesia.

3. International Math Challenge, Bangkok Thailand

4. Kangourou Sans Frontiers – KSF Mathematics Competitions

5. Future Intelligence Students Olympiad (FISO)

6. Mathematics Without Borders, Bulgaria

7. Komodo Math Festival, Indonesia

Interestingly, while some students attend extra classes to gain more knowledge, Fatima relies only on class assignments and teachings in her school – she stated that her mathematics gift is inborn.

“No. I don’t even have extra tutors at home. It’s (mathematics) a natural thing. I don’t have any extra lessons apart from the one in school, but I have practiced more since I was in primary school, because I love maths, I frequently practice it. I have been doing it on my own.”

In an interview with Daily Trust, Fatima expressed her experience in international competitions. “Some of them were difficult but then, we passed. It was nice being on the stage, I felt like I had achieved something already. It was fun. I was kind of nervous initially, but I wanted to win those medals because I want to go to Harvard University and they said I really need to do so, as part of my requirements. I felt so happy. At some point, I saw the victory coming but to a larger extent, I wasn’t seeing myself coming out victorious. It was a surprise.”

Fatima says her parents, teachers, and all the successful people across the world are her role models. She wants to be a computer programmer and aims to study at Harvard University.

“I want to be a computer programmer at Harvard University, God willing. Yes, I love it. I want to break records and also contribute by making inventions, solve problems, especially those related to the depletion of the ozone layer, global warming, and other issues that can help ease the problems of humans.”

Fatima is thankful to her parents, teachers, and school for their positive impact on her life. “Things that helped me are the Olympiad camps I went through during my junior and senior classes. When I wanted to do programming, I improved my skills through informatics classes and also by participating in mathematics camps.”

“I want to thank my teachers and my school. They actually helped me a lot. They made me go through classes that helped me improve. Finally, to my parents, especially my father, who stood by my dream. I am going through the processes of my admission at Harvard and he is committed to it.” 

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: May 1, 2023


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