Faculty Member and Recent Knox Alumnus Team Up on Election Research
November 02, 2018
by Tyler Price '19
A Knox College faculty member and a 2017 alumnus recently had a joint research paper published that delved into the 2015 Nigerian presidential election. The research by Uduak-Obong I. Ekanem '17 and Assistant Professor of Mathematics Ole Forsberg was published in the undergraduate science journal PURSUE earlier this year.
Forsberg, who joined Knox College's mathematics department in 2016, came to Knox with an expansive background in election statistics. “My research deals with using statistical techniques to test for unfairness of elections. Uduak had just become a statistics minor the fall I joined the faculty at Knox College. He had heard about my research and thought it would be very interesting to apply some techniques to his home country of Nigeria."
Forsberg stressed the importance of Uduak’s involvement in the project.
“I study elections across the globe. Being a generalist, it is difficult for me to know the inner workings of every election," said Forsberg. “Having grown up there, Uduak was very aware of the many reasons Nigerians have trouble trusting their democratic institutions. Claims of fraud, experiences of election day violence, and coups d'état were common there.”
“Having Uduak on the team sharing his experiences and knowledge of the Nigerian electoral system provided me with valuable insight into their process.”
Ultimately, their work, “An Analysis of the 2015 Nigerian Presidential Election,” turned up no conclusive evidence of election tampering via the study's specific parameter of vote invalidation.
Ekanem, who majored in biochemistry, is now a graduate student at Johns Hopkins University. At Knox, he completed the Honors project “Using Site-Directed Mutagenesis to Enhance the Hydrogel Properties of the GBH1 Biopolymer.” Ekanem was also a member of International Club, Pre-Health Club, Student Government, president of Harambee Club and Phi Gamma Delta fraternity.