In CHOOSEMATHS grant winner profiles



Youstina is a mature aged student. She had initially pursued mathematics in the actuarial field. After completing 2 actuarial exams and working within the field, she decided to make a change, looking for a new challenge. Youstina then worked in a small business where she eventually became director for several years. At this point, she realised that her passion for mathematics far outweighed the choices she had made in her professional career and hence her return to university to pursue a career in the subject.

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 studying fluid dynamics in maths. Fluids can be applied in a variety of ways from small scales like optical fibres that were studied in Extensional flows at AMSI to large scales like oceans and atmosphere.

In terms of impact, the potential is limitless since mathematics provides a method to scientifically study the physical aspects to a great level of detail (albeit not without error) in which we are able to provide practical explanations and solutions were applicable.

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?

Without the grant, I was likely not able to attend due to financial constraints and the absence of other alternatives.

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?

I have found this experience to be very nurturing and encouraging. I appreciate the motivation behind it and have benefitted greatly from the networking aspects of the event having made contacts at several universities around Australia. Given that postgrad Maths is itself quite small, finding mature aged females is even harder so networking across Australia has been of a great benefit in terms of encouragement and meeting others of similar situations.

In what ways has the experience impacted your maths studies? Has it influenced the direction of your research?

Yes, the experience furthered my interest and direction in fluid dynamics.

What was the most valuable part of AMSI Summer School 2018 for you in terms of furthering your career in mathematical sciences?

The networking and meeting similar professional backgrounds pursuing the same outcome helped me greatly in affirming my pursuit.

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?

This was a great experience for women looking at working with industry. I am not personally pursuing that, however, hearing everyone else’s feedback, it was highly beneficial for them.

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?

From what I have observed, the core of the issue with maths stems from high school, where on average, the high school teacher’s grasp of the mathematics subject is superficial and trite. On paper, all requirement are being fulfilled, however, this students do not have the opportunity to adopt the passion for the subject or the art of its application and relevance in everyday life.

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?

Yes, I am lucky to have several family members in the field, who not only encouraged but also inspired me to pursue the subject. I also had a natural inclination to do well at school in mathematics with much less effort than other subjects which further helped me choose maths at university.

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

I see myself doing research at university.

Any other feedback/comments you would like to provide on the CHOOSEMATHS grant or AMSI Summer School 2018?

I love the initiative and I hope it continues to help and inspire.