Mary Adedayo, assistant professor of applied computer science

PROFile: Synergy in science

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Mary Adedayo is an assistant professor of applied computer science at the University of Winnipeg. Growing up in Ibadan, a small town two hours from Lagos, Nigeria, Adedayo gained a keen sense for understanding and analyzing the world from her family.

“I grew up with three boys who were always finicky and trying out things, and my dad was always doing the same thing (as an engineer).”

She completed her undergraduate studies at the Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta in Nigeria before receiving a full scholarship to complete a postgraduate diploma in mathematical science from the African Institute for Mathematical Sciences in Cape Town, South Africa.

While in South Africa, she also completed her master’s degree and PhD in computer science. She moved to Winnipeg with her spouse and first child in 2016.

Despite initially going into university for civil engineering, Adedayo developed a love for mathematics and computer science.

“I feel there’s a lot of synergy between mathematics and computer science,” Adedayo says. “I often hear from people that it’s almost impossible to be a computer scientist without knowing some mathematics.”

Much of Adedayo’s research revolves around digital forensics, databases and cybersecurity. She didn’t initially expect to work in this field, but her desire to see justice prevail intersected seamlessly with her research.

“I have a passion for seeing justice and making sure people are safe,” Adedayo says.

Adedayo gets the most excitement and fulfillment from teaching when she can see students’ smiles as they finally understand concepts.

“I’ve been in classes where I’ve seen students literally come to the class scared, thinking ‘I don’t even know if I can take this course,’ and then by the end of the term or even in the middle of the term, you can see their attitude change, and they think ‘I can actually do this. It’s not that hard.’”

What was the worst grade you’ve gotten in a class?

“It must be a C, because it was a lab course. My degree was mathematics and computer science, but I had to pick biology and physics, and all of those courses had labs, and I didn’t like them.”

What is something that you've learned from your students?

“I’ve understood that people are different and that you can’t necessarily use the same yardstick to look at people.”

What do you do in your spare time?

“I play with my kids, sing when I havethe time, and I like to read outside computer science when I can.”

What was your dream job as a child?

“I’ve always wanted to be in academics. I probably didn’t think of anything I would do with it, but it’s always been my dream since I was 10 years old.”

Published in Volume 78, Number 10 of The Uniter (November 16, 2023)

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