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FEATURE ARTICLE / March 2022
Mathematics Prodigy Earns Ph.D. Before Age 16!
Mathematics Prodigy Earns Ph.D. Before Age 16!

By Jade Curtis, BlackDoctor

Esther Okade is not an average 16-year-old. While other teens are just finishing high school, the British Nigerian girl has already earned her Ph.D. in Financial Mathematics.

Most importantly, that’s far from all she has planned for her life. This mathematical genius has her sights on changing the world around her and if her accomplishments so far are anything to go by, she’ll do just that. 

The Early Years

According to Esther’s parents, her love of numbers was obvious from an early age. Based on her interest in learning, they started to homeschool her from the age of three. Seeing how well she caught on to the mathematical principles of addition, subtraction, and multiplication, they sent her to a private school to get a more targeted education.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t for her and she left her very first day in tears. Since they weren’t required to have her in school until she turned five, Esther went back to being homeschooled. 

That’s when her mother decided to use her background in engineering to try something new. She jokingly said she could teach Esther the basics of algebra and was pretty flabbergasted when her then four-year-old absorbed the information easily. At that point, Esther’s mother thought she might have a mathematical prodigy on her hands. 

Esther’s Growing Love Of Mathematics

Though she did well in other subjects, Mathematics was always her first love. When she was only six years old, Esther took the GCSE O’ Level exam at Ounsdale High School and received a grade of C.

Unsatisfied with this grade, she retook the exam a year later and received the A that she was aiming for. Having shown acuity in the subject, Esther was ready to tackle university but her mother encouraged her to take a little more time to mature. 

That advice led to her taking the next step in qualifying for a university-level degree program. In 2014, she went a step further and sat her GCSE A’ Level exams where she received a B. Her educational journey was far from over at that point because she had an even greater achievement in sight. Getting Her Ph.D. 

In 2015, she enrolled at Open University, which is a distance learning school that’s based in the UK, with the intention to further her education in Mathematics. At only 10 years old, she was easily the youngest person to have enrolled in the university.

Still, she aced her exams and was placed at the top of her class in just the first three weeks. That wasn’t enough for the ambitious young lady, though. She let her parents know that she had plans to complete the entire Mathematics degree program in only two years. 

Once she had her degree, she planned to get started on her Ph.D. in Financial Mathematics without taking a break from her studies.

True to her word, Esther jumped straight into the graduate program and achieved her Ph.D. at the age of 14. That would be enough for many but while she was barely into her teen years, Esther had more plans for her life. 

What The Future Looks Like For Esther

One of the things she always told her parents was that she wanted to run a bank. Esther attributed this goal to her need to help others. By running a bank, Esther sees where she can use her love of numbers to help those who are in need of financial security and education.

Though she hasn’t gotten there yet, she’s started on that path with her Mathematics-based books. The ‘Yummy Yummy Algebra’ Mathematics workbooks were designed for children and start at a beginner’s level. 

These books are meant to introduce children to Algebra in a simple way and she intends to add to the series over time. She still has a bank firmly set in her sights though. 

It’s not every day that a teenager earns a Ph.D., let alone in such a tough field. Fortunately, Esher Okade plans to use her brilliance to make the world a better place for those who need it while helping other children to acquire their own love of Mathematics. 

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