Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe, professor of geological sciences and engineering

When I came to the United States from South America for my master’s degree at Missouri S&T, I did not know anyone in the whole country, except my adviser, Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe, and her family.

(Photo by B.A. Rupert)

I knew nothing about American culture or even what a real winter was. I arrived in Rolla on Jan. 4, 1994, during a very rough winter. Dr. Oboh took me to her house until she found a place for me to live, gave me all the basic household items I needed, and helped me with the basic needs for living in the United States (opening a bank account, getting a driver’s license, arranging for utilities, etc.). One day I told her I needed to buy dishes because I had to eat out of my pots. She was horrified and immediately went to her home and came back with a set of dishes, cups and basic kitchen supplies. Her help made a tremendous difference in my academic life because I felt so supported, despite living so far away from home.
Dr. Oboh taught me that academic life is not just about doing research; it is also about people. In her classes she always stressed the importance of making contacts with industry and applying our research to real-world problems. I had been working in palynofacies, the study of organic material preserved in sedimentary rocks. One day Dr. Oboh told me that what I did had applications for the oil industry. Then she introduced me to people from Mobil and in no time she had me working for them during the summer, using palynofacies applied to a particular problem that Mobil had in the area of my master’s thesis. After I finished my Ph.D., I worked full time for a petroleum company and saw the usefulness of the lessons Dr. Oboh taught me.
For a foreign student whose first language was not English, scientific writing was one of the most difficult tasks of graduate school. Dr. Oboh would take all the time in the world to correct my papers and manuscripts. I have great memories about her and about my time as a graduate student at Missouri S&T. Dr. Oboh has always been open-minded and willing to learn new things. She made staying in Rolla a great experience that changed my life. We have been in touch over the years, still doing research together, and I have sent my own students to pursue master’s and Ph.D. degrees with her at Missouri S&T.

In March 2009, Missouri S&T geology and geophysics seniors Cassandra Browne (left) and Kristen Arneson (center) accompanied Francisca Oboh-Ikuenobe to Egypt to study fossils from the Abu Roash Formation, about nine miles north of the pyramids in Giza. The fossils date back to the Cretaceous Period.

 

Dr. Oboh truly made a difference in my life and I will always be grateful to her.
Carlos Jaramillo, MS GGph’95, is a staff scientist and paleontologist at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute in Panama. He and fellow researchers recently discovered the fossilized remains of a super-sized snake skeleton while on an excavation in Colombia.

Around the Puck

“Forged in Gold: Missouri S&T’s First 150 Years”

In the 1870s, Rolla seemed an unlikely location for a new college. There were only about 1,400 residents in a community with more saloons than houses of worship. There were no paved streets, sewers or water mains. To visitors, there seemed to be as many dogs, hogs, horses, ducks and geese as humans walking the dusty streets.

[Read More...]

By the numbers: Fall/Winter 2019

[Read More...]

Bringing clean water to South America

Assessing water quality, surveying mountaintop locations and building systems to catch rainwater — that’s how members of S&T’s chapter of Engineers Without Borders spent their summer break.

[Read More...]

Geothermal goals exceeded

After five years of operation, Missouri S&T’s geothermal energy system continues to outperform expectations. S&T facilities operations staff originally predicted the geothermal system would reduce campus water usage by over 10% — roughly 10 million gallons per year. The system, which went online in May 2014, cut actual water usage by 18 million to 20 […]

[Read More...]

What happens in Vegas…may appear in print

In his latest volume of Las Vegas lore, historian Larry Gragg says it was deliberate publicity strategies that changed the perception of Sin City from a regional tourist destination where one could legally gamble and access legalized prostitution just outside the city limits, to a family vacation spot filled with entertainment options and surrounded by […]

[Read More...]

Comments

  1. She is the first professor I had known here.She is just wounderful lady.

  2. Wow! Dr. Oboh, that is just who you are!
    I am always proud of you 🙂