In CHOOSEMATHS grant winner profiles
CHOOSEMATHS Grant recipient profile: Monique Jordan

Monique Jordan

University of Wollongong

I grew up in Ulladulla on the south coast of NSW, I always had a strong interest in mathematics and sciences. During my HSC year I came across the Bachelor of Medical Mathematics at the University of Wollongong, not knowing what this degree would eventually lead to I enrolled into it. At the time I thought that it was great that I could continue studying both maths and sciences. During these studies through some great subjects I realised statistics was what I found most interesting, mostly because of the vast array of applications. In 2019 I completed an Honours degree majoring in statistics and in 2020 I will begin my PhD in statistics.

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

Something that has become very important to me is finding a career which has a positive impact in the world. Statistics are a major part of scientific research and contribute directly to industries which in turn impact on the broader community. My honours thesis was on imputation of physical activity data/accelerometer data, this data is used to determine whether individuals meet certain physical activity guidelines. This is an important area of research as human movement behaviours have become more sedentary, and rising obesity rates are leading to more health consequences.

What did you want to be when you grew up? If not mathematics research, what would have been?

I always enjoyed mathematics but did not know what mathematics research was growing up. I think my main interest was being a doctor or a vet, but I realised very quickly that these were not for me.

You attended AMSI BioInfoSummer, what drew you to this event? What was the most valuable part of AMSI BioInfoSummer for you in terms of furthering your career in mathematical sciences?

I find it interesting to see different applications of statistics, I was drawn to the event as I knew I would learn about many applications that I would not have seen before.

In what ways has the experience impacted your maths studies? Did this event lead to any new contacts, projects, collaborations?

It was great to meet a lot of like minded people whom attended the event, all in different phases of their careers. It was very useful to be able to ask people their thoughts on different career pathways as I was trying to make a decision about my own.

In what ways has the experience impacted your maths studies? Did this event lead to any new contacts, projects, collaborations?

It made me feel confident in the area I have decided to study and showed me even more areas of research which heavily depend on statistics. Also talking to people with PhDs or people working towards them, made me realise it was also the right pathway for me.

Where do you see yourself in five or ten years time?

I hope to have completed a PhD and be conducting research in statistics, particularly for applications in the sciences.

Did you learn about new career options available to you that you were not aware of prior to attending AMSI BioInfoSummer?

I learned about the APR Internships which I had not previously known about, a great way to get industry involvement in a PhD.

Who are your mentors? Who do you admire?

My mentors would probably be my supervisors, they always have great knowledge and advice. I admire anyone that has dedicated their careers (or part of) to research which has helped build the knowledge we have today.

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?

The Choose Maths grants provided a great opportunity for women to attend the BioInfoSummer event. This enabled participation in the events and workshops which provided great networking and training opportunities. Without these initiatives not everyone would be able to participate and have these opportunities.

The CHOOSEMATHS Grants are part of a broader program being delivered by AMSI Schools with support from BHP Foundation 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?

I think the biggest challenge for mathematics is not having enough great maths teachers throughout the whole education system. We really need more engaging, passionate and well trained teachers to encourage students and strengthen maths education.

Best piece of advice you’ve received?

Everyone is on their own journey and we shouldn’t really compare ourselves to others.

If a peer asked you if they should attend AMSI BioInfoSummer, how would you describe the conference to them?

A great week of talks, workshops and events to provide opportunities to learn, train and network for a career in bioinformatics.