In AMSI scholarship recipient
AMSI scholarship recipient profile:Kevin Lam

Kevin Lam

University of New South Wales

Kevin Lam received his Bachelors degree in Commerce and Mathematics in 2015 after completing Honours in Quantitative Risk at the School of Mathematics and Statistics in UNSW. He then worked in industry in a range of roles including financial reporting, credit risk, retail and loyalty analytics, while completing coursework in mathematics, statistics, and machine learning. After his masters, He aims to complete a PhD with a focus on Statistical Machine Learning.

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 currently studying components of mathematical statistics to better understand principles behind algorithmic learning and statistical models. There is a wide range of useful applications such as geophysics and water management where there is a need for flexible statistical models to characterise the environment and account for uncertainty of measurements.

How did you get into mathematics/statistics/data science? Was there someone or something that inspired you to this field?I was drawn to the ability of statistical models giving us a simplified but useful representation of any quantifiable and potentially complex problem. Being able to then draw insights from your models to give a logically sound solution to the problem is something I found invaluable.

You received a scholarship to attend AMSI Summer School 2022. How important was this in terms of your ability to attend, fully participate in the program and meet others studying in similar fields?

The Summer School was run both virtually and physically, receiving a scholarship alleviated my financial constraints which allowed me to turn my attention to the interesting topics that were discussed in the Summer School. Hosting local event hubs in each state and having a student-run Discord server were great ideas and made the Summer School a lot more interactive.

The purpose of Summer School is to give students an opportunity to develop their mathematical skills, meet like-minded people and network with potential employers. What was the most valuable part of the program for you? Was it the course content or the people you met? Do you have new ideas for your work/research or see it in a new light?

The most valuable part of the Winter School was the course content and the passionate lecturers who delivered a compact and smooth introduction to extreme value theory and Bayesian statistical methods.

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? Would you consider working with industry? Do you feel better equipped to explore career options in the mathematical sciences after attending AMSI Summer School?

While I was aware of certain types of industry opportunities for maths graduates, I was not aware of how maths skills were applied for some roles, so the Careers Day program was great in clarifying this and exploring more career options. I would consider working with industry wherever there are interesting math problems!

AMSI Summer School was held as a virtual event. What was the biggest positive from your point of view holding it in this format and/or the biggest challenge?

The biggest benefit of holding the Summer School as a virtual event is that it has made it a lot more accessible to students across different states. The biggest challenge would be retaining the social aspect of the Summer School but using a mix of local event hubs and Discord servers certainly kept this aspect going.

What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying for Summer School in 2023? Should they apply and why?

I strongly recommend applying as the Summer School gives you a broad overview of modern statistics which would typically not be covered as part of university studies, and a chance to meet other students with different interests.

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

In five to ten years, I aim to have finished my PhD while still tackling interesting problems, be it in industry or research.

Any other feedback/comments you would like to provide on the AMSI Scholarship or AMSI Summer School 2023?

Organizers and lecturers did a great job as delivering the classes virtually. Looking forward to more upcoming AMSI events!