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Scholar of virtual reality in education to teach computer science at Willamette

by Jennifer Johnson,

Friday Agbo

Willamette University is pleased to announce our newest assistant professor of computer science, Friday (Fred) Agbo, a Nigerian educator and researcher at the University of Eastern Finland in Joensuu. 

An innovative computer scientist, software developer and educational technologist, Agbo currently supervises and teaches graduate students through his university’s edTech research group. His academic areas of focus include computer science education, software engineering, game-based learning, virtual and augmented reality technology, and he has co-designed virtual reality mini-games with students as part of his doctoral research.

On the verge of completing his PhD in computer science at Eastern Finland, Agbo will officially join Willamette on Aug. 1. 

Over the past decade, Agbo has been involved in several teaching, research and collaborative projects, some of which have committed to improving the lives of his community and beyond.

An aggregation tool he developed in Nigeria better facilitated microfinance loans for low-income residents and cooperatives for a state social investment program, while his Lokoja-based startup, Agfri Technologies, created a large-scale financial management application currently in use by three federal and state agencies. In 2020, he contributed to the development of an educational platform through Eastern Finland University, the Smart Ecosystem for Learning and Inclusion, that supports the academic progress of students with disabilities via analytic dashboards and the use of blockchain technology. Eight other South American universities have been testing the platform. 

Agbo earned his M.S. in computer science at the University of Ilorin, Nigeria, in 2017 and his B.S. in computer science at the University of Jos, Nigeria, in 2013. 

As a young researcher, his career goal is to “teach and mentor students while conducting high-quality research in institutions that harness talent from academia, companies, and the public sector with the purpose of preparing students to solve real-world problems,” he said. 

Agbo’s professional background as a computer programmer, software developer and systems analyst, as well as his capability for international collaboration, complement Willamette’s growing data science program. He’s excited about the synergy of the faculty, the enthusiasm of students and the new possibilities created by the university’s merger with the Pacific Northwest College of Art

“I’m fascinated by Willamette’s motto, and I look forward to developing strong teaching and scholarship that is student-centered, will impact the community and contribute to building Willamette’s studies in data, computer, and information science,” he said.

About Computing & Data Science

The School of Computing and Data Science prepares students for their future careers. Willamette offers undergraduate, graduate, accelerated and certificate programs at both Salem and Portland campuses where students are taught by faculty who are leaders in their fields. The residential undergraduate program is full time, while the graduate program is designed for working professionals and recent college graduates looking for a head start on their career.

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