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2012 REU Program Participant Profiles: Olatomiwa Lasebikan

Olatomiwa Lasebikan photo.

Major: Computer Science
School: Fisk Univ.
Hometown: Lagos, Nigeria
REU Research Project: Modeling the evolution of sexual imprinting

What is the purpose of your research?
When species search for their mates, they try to choose those with the best traits and fitness in order to ensure that their offspring live. As a result, they imprint on chose mates that look like their father, mother or any other adult figure in the population. Our research tries to predict who they would imprint on in a given population.

Be ready to realize the use of your knowledge and be pushed out of your comfort zone in order to get a perfect blend of two completely contrasting areas of life: biology and mathematics.
– Olatomiwa Lasebikan, REU participant

What does the research ultimately accomplish? What contributions to science and/or humanity does the research ultimately make?
In the long run, the research could help us understand how and why sexual imprinting occurs, which is an important aspect of understanding speciation (the formation of new species) and thus evolution.

What were your favorite parts of the REU program?
My most favorite part has been the experience of seeing skills gained in the classroom from one field, being applied in another field, and yielding very practical results that help us to understand nature better.

What new experiences did you gain that have helped you today?
Experience outside the classroom has been great. It's been nice seeing practical application of skills, gaining great team work skills and building my sense of responsibility.

Would you recommend our program to others?
Definitely. It's been a great chance to see the usefulness of skills acquired. Furthermore the interactions with teammates and mentors help to realize and understand the goal of teamwork and has provided an amazing experience.

What advice would you give to someone who's interested in about participating in the program?
Be ready to realize the use of your knowledge and be pushed out of your comfort zone in order to get a perfect blend of two completely contrasting areas of life: biology and mathematics.


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