Published on December 6, 2022 by Diamond Nunnally  
Kwadwo Research Group Content
Kwadwo Antwi-Fordjour instructing his student research group (2022).

Two Samford alumni who participated in Math Professor Kwadwo Antwi-Fordjour's student research group, which focuses on applying predator-prey math models to real-world scenarios, were recently published in the American Institute of Mathematical Science (AIMS) Mathematics. Stephanie Gilley ’20, a math and physics alumna, and Hannah Thompson ’21, a biology alumna, worked closely with Kwadwo and Rana Parshad, an associate professor from Iowa State University, to make it happen.  

"I am very excited that my students are published authors in a good peer-reviewed journal," Antwi-Fordjour said. "I am proud of all their hard work in making this research a success."  

"I am incredibly honored and grateful to have been a part of this research group,” Gilley said. “Professors Antwi and Parshad, and Hannah Thompson are all wonderfully talented individuals, and I learned a lot from them throughout the experience."  

Antwi-Fordjour was helping Gilley with her senior thesis in 2020 when he approached her with the research topic for the paper.  

"The research topic was in a similar vein to the research we had worked on for my thesis, and professor Antwi-Fordjour reached out to me to see if I would be interested in working on a few of the research questions," Gilley said.  

The group's research paper focused on the impact fear of predators (animals) has on the stability of populations over time. They applied predator-prey math models to prey populations operating without an authority figure, and the results were groundbreaking.  

"For the first time in literature involving mathematical modeling of fear, we saw that fear can cause a stable population to go extinct in specific period of time (Finite Time). We later called this Fear-Driven Finite-Time Extinction," Antwi-Fordjour said.   

According to Fordjour, populations going extinct is alarming, so they included several recommendations policymakers can implement in the paper to help mitigate the situation.  

"I begin my research with students by introducing the basic concepts of the proposed project with sufficient literature review,” Antwi-Fordjour said. "I make sure students understand the process of model development. I ask a lot of questions during our meetings to direct students to think beyond the classroom experience." 

Antwi-Fordjour continues by saying he encourages students to think critically and above all else, pray and mentor them with God’s love. 

"Professor Antwi was a wonderful research advisor," Gilley said. "His depth of knowledge in the field was astounding, and he was incredibly patient throughout our time working together. He certainly spearheaded the publication process, and I have learned quite a bit watching him navigate the academic journal world!"  

Gilley is currently attending graduate school for Applied Mathematics at North Carolina State University. She focuses on mathematical modeling and will be graduating with a master’s in the spring. Following that, she'll begin working at the SAS Institute, a leading global software development company based in Cary, North Carolina.  

"I graduated from Samford University feeling confident in my abilities to ask questions, read contemporary mathematical research and engage with mathematics at a high level," Gilley said. "Not only did Antwi-Fordjour guide me in the world of research, but he was also my mentor in the art of effective communication. Being able to communicate clearly is the biggest task for any research project." 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.