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CHOOSMATHS Grant Recipient: Liya Zhao

Liya Zhao

The University of Queensland

It was an excellent experience in AMIS Melbourne! AMSI provides me everything, best friends, delicious food, beautiful scenery and extraordinary professors. I had one of my best four weeks in my life. I learnt Statistics Machine Learning in AMSI. We had two lecturers and one lovely tutor who really teach me a lot. I don’t have much background of statistics so the course is a little bit had for me. But the professors and tutors are always patient to answer my questions. The best part of it is the every week BBQ. I can talk with people and professor that study the relatively same area at the same enjoy the foods. I had a lot of it. But I never worried about it because I can even have free gym membership of Monash University.

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 study Financial Mathematics. It’s basically about applying math models on the financial market such as deciding the option price and calculating the risk of some assets.

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?

The grant provided me accommodation for free which meant that I could live comfortably with other students attending the AMSI Summer School. There were study rooms, free food and even game rooms. I met a lot of friends there and we discussed our assignment and events together. If I lived away from them, I would never so fully enjoyed the AMSI Summer School.

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?

CHOOSEMATHS women’s night give me more confidence to study math and show me the importance for women becoming mathematicians. And now I know more female like me who are really into math.

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

I study Statistics Machine Learning in AMSI. I don’t have much background on statistics. I think I might apply some machine learning methods and statistics theories on my project.

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

AMSI offered me an excellent way to meet people who study the same area and really gave me more confidence on what am I learning. That’s the most valuable part for me.

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?

If I could I’d love to work with industry. I also think it is important for researchers. Applying the research work with the real work experience is an exciting thing! And working experience can also give research inspiration on their research area. And I am so happy to know the career flexibility for women.

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?

Sadly, the number of women who study math is nearly half of the number of men. CHOOSEMATHS encourages more women to study math and becoming a research on math.

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?

Of course I want to become a mathematician and will encourage people around me who have interest in math. The tutor of my course is right now a PHD student who studies in Monash University giving me many suggestions on becoming a PHD student. Professor Cui is always very nice and patient to answer my questions.

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

I probably will work as a researcher in math or do some relation work with math.

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

CHOOSEMATHS is excellent!