headshot of smiling face of student Comfort Ohajunwa with curtain behind herDespite still being in high school, Comfort Ohajunwa, a rising senior at Osbourn Park High School, who also attends the Governor's School @ Innovation Park, has some impressive academic achievements under her belt. This summer, Ohajunwa is one of only 52 high school students in the country selected to attend the 38th annual Research Science Institute (RSI) held in collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Students are selected through a highly competitive process based on high school record, standardized test scores, teacher recommendations, research experience, potential for leadership, honors and awards in math and science, and a personal essay. RSI, which is taking place virtually in August, is a six-week, intensive program in which students conduct original, cutting-edge research in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields.

"The Pre-Governor's School and Governor's School programs were both great resources for me," said Ohajunwa. "Both programs have challenged me and allowed me to interact with like-minded and amazing teachers and students. In addition, they allowed me to gain some exposure to the research process, which helped develop and further my interest."

Ohajunwa has already had research published in De Gruyter's peer-reviewed journal, "Computational and Mathematical Biophysics," and has additional research under review or in preparation. She has presented her work at two international mathematics conferences (virtually) as an invited speaker. Her De Gruyter's paper, on which she is the lead author, was published in December 2020 with her advisor. It looked at how certain social behaviors contribute to the spread of COVID-19. Another one of her papers takes that research and applies it to COVID-19 dynamics in Bogotá, Columbia, in collaboration with researchers there.

Ohajunwa was among 400 national recipients from 4,288 applicants to receive an honorable mention from the 2021 National Center for Women and Information Technology Award for Aspirations in Computing. She was part of a team of three students who received an outstanding award at the worldwide mathematical modeling competition SCUDEM V. Her team addressed dispute resolution strategies, specifically examining the problem of preferential evolution of resolution methods in refugee settlements in Uganda.

At Osbourn Park High, Ohajunwa is a member of the Math Honor Society, she competes on the speech and debate team and is the original oratory captain, and she is co-editor in chief of the literary magazine. In terms of her aspirations for the future, Ohajunwa plans to continue studying mathematics and computer science, and looks forward to doing interdisciplinary research in those fields.