The University of Sydney
My name is Hanyi Yang. I am studying master of economics in The University of Sydney. I have limited prior knowledge of mathematics before the AMSI summer school, as I did not take any maths subject when I was a medical student during undergraduate study. However, maths plays such an important role in economic study, so I believe I need more exposure to the quantitative world. Since having a solid grasp of statistics is essential for econometrics’ study, I decided to take Statistical Machine Learning course in AMSI summer school. Throughout the summer course, we were assigned 2 programming tasks, one on Staistical Inference and another on Monte Carlo Method. Both of them were challenging and drove me to work hard on the topics. After the summer school study, I am no longer afraid of overwhelmingly-looked mathematical questions, and am more confident about the future study in economics. More importantly, I realize that it is never too late to study maths.
Can you give me a quick overview of the type of mathematics you are studying and its potential impacts for the broader community
I am doing master’s in economics. This includes a very large amount of econometrics’ study which use mathematics and statistics to analyze economic data and then reveal the causal relationships in economics and in the society.
You received a CHOOSEMATHS Grant to assist your attendance at AMSI Summer School 2018. How important was this in terms of your ability to attend and fully participate in the sessions throughout the program?
It was very lucky for me to get the CHOOSEMATHS Grant. The AMSI officers encouraged us to apply for the grant, and were kind and patient about the questions we had for grant application. The grant definitely helped me a lot in the summer school study. We were able to focus more on the study since they nailed all the problems (food, accommodation) for us during the program.
How important are initiatives such as the CHOOSEMATHS Grants in terms of fostering the participation and achievement of women in mathematics, particularly in terms of access to networking opportunities and further training opportunities?
They are very important as they give female mathematician confidence about their career, and that they can also do well in quantitative area, or even better. A more balanced male and female participation rate in mathematical sciences indicates a fairer environment of workplace. This to some extent boosts the progress of society of a country.
In what ways has the experience impacted your maths studies? Has it influenced the direction of your research?
The study of Statistical Machine Learning during the summer enables me to strengthen the knowledge of statistics and understand its usage in a different area(computer sciences) from my degree, which is changeling but enjoyable. The content I learnt in summer school also gives me more confidence to further study econometrics in my degree.
What was the most valuable part of AMSI Summer School 2018 for you in terms of furthering your career in mathematical sciences?
I get to know the students who are in love with maths and involve in vibrant maths community. I am now more motivated and have more aspiration to study maths-related subjects.
A presentation on the AMSI Intern program was included as part of the Careers Afternoon. One of the aims of the AMSI Intern program is to maximise employability and help prepare research graduates to drive industry/private sector research. Are you hoping to work with industry? How important is this experience for researchers? Particularly in terms of offering career flexibility for women?
I would love to work with industry if I have the chance. The presentation gave us a lot of valuable information. In my view, industrial experience is essential for researchers. They can understand how the academic theories has pragmatic use, familiarize with the cutting edge technique in the area, and build their network in industry.
The CHOOSEMATHS Grants are part of a broader program being delivered by AMSI Schools with support from BHP Billiton to turn the tide on Australia’s maths deficit and strengthen maths education and participation of women across the discipline. What do you see as the big challenges facing maths in Australia, particularly for women?
There are some disadvantages for women when they search for jobs. Some employers may think that men are more capable than women. The pay rate for women is usually lower for the same level of job positions. But the situation is improving because of the effort made by the government and institutions such as AMSI.
Did you always want to pursue a career in maths? Were you encouraged to study these subjects at school? Do any particular mentors come to mind? Any outstanding teachers?
I always want to work in economics’ area, which is quite strongly related to maths. We were all encouraged to study maths at school it is a very basic and important subject. Everyone needs it in real life.
Where do you see yourself in five, ten years time?
Within five years’ time, I would like to work in industry to gain some practical experience. After five years, my goal is to pursue a position in academia, e.g. become a teacher to spread the knowledge to children.
Any other feedback/comments you would like to provide on the CHOOSEMATHS grant or AMSI Summer School 2018?
The summer school coordinators and teachers are all very nice and considerate. Many thanks to AMSI and Monash University.