In AMSI scholarship recipient
AMSI grant recipient profile: Charlotte Patterson

Charlotte Patterson

Queensland University of Technology

I am a PhD student at Queensland University of Technology, studying the effects of changing connectivity on the biodiversity of terrestrial Antarctica. My background is in ecology, and I’m interested in the application of spatial ecological models to inform invasive species management and conservation planning.

Can you give me a quick rundown about the type of mathematics you are studying and its potential impacts for the broader community?

I am using predictive models to understand how connectivity will change across terrestrial Antarctica in the future. Given where organisms are now, where do we expect them to be in the future with the effects of global climate change? I build models that take information about where organisms are now, what environmental conditions suit them best, and how far they might be likely to disperse, and combine this knowledge to quantify how connected land areas are across the ice.

How did you get into mathematics/statistics/data science? Was there someone or something that inspired you to this field?

During my ecology degree, I began to see the power and the potential of using data science and statistical models well. I was drawn to the stimulating and challenging world of coding and modelling.

You received a Travel Grant to attend AMSI Summer School 2023. How important was this in terms of your ability to attend, fully participate in the program and meet others studying in similar fields?

I would not have been able to attend the summer school without a travel grant, so it was very helpful for getting me there. Being able to be fully immersed in the programme was really beneficial, particularly living in the building with other attendees. It allowed me to really focus on getting the most out of the opportunity, including studying and working on problems with others and being able to ask lots of questions to the lecturer.

What was the most valuable part of the program for you?

I have already applied some of the things that I learnt from the course into my PhD work. The most valuable thing for me was the course, getting a solid foundation in a field that I had been trying to learn by myself.

In the long-term, what do you think are the benefits of having attended Summer School?

I think one of the main benefits will be knowledge of new methods that are out there and available for use. Knowing some key places to find more resources, and having a greater confidence when applying some of the new methods that I’ve learnt. I will keep adding to the notes that I made in this course. It’s a really solid foundation to keep learning from.

Summer School included a special Careers Day program which aims to help give students an idea of the kinds of career paths available to maths graduates in industry and private sector research areas. Were you previously aware of the types of industry opportunities available to mathematical science graduates?

I gained an appreciation of the diversity of work available for mathematical science backgrounds.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying for Summer School in 2024? Should they apply and why?

If you can, make the time to apply for and attend the Summer School. It was a really positive and worthwhile experience!

Where do you want the mathematical sciences to take you? Where do you see yourself in five, ten years’ time?

I see myself working on applied conservation projects, either in a science or government role, bringing expertise in predictive modelling, statistics, and coding.