In AMSI scholarship recipient

Laurance Davies

Queensland University of  Technology

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 Bayesian Statistics and Computational Methods. This field has direct applications in modelling and inference, in particular I am completing a geophysics project on model selection which effectively integrates over the inference of individual models with respect to data to arrive at a discriminating statistic that can be used to particular detect electrical effects in the ground.

How did you get into mathematics/statistics/data science? Was there someone or something that inspired you to this field?

I have had an interest in mathematics since high school. A recent career development in the field of data science and geosciences had led me to discover applications and methods which I had not encountered in my studies, which prompted further study at the postgraduate level.

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 scholarship has enabled me to attend the summer school course material without impacting my finances so that I can spend more time on the course material and on my PhD without further distractions. It has been instrumental in my attendance.

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 program has been the course content. I relished in the opportunity to learn applications for mathematics and statistics that I had not had the chance to use before. Although this doesn’t directly affect my current research, it may certainly influence future research priojects.

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?

I would certainly consider working with industry given an appropriate opportunity. I have always been connected to direct applications and consider that avenue as my primary focus.

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?

One of the biggest positives has been the recorded lectures so that I can review course material without bothering the lecturers. One of the biggest challenges has been balancing my PhD studies with the course content which is not quite solidified by being a virtual event, requiring extra time management.

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

I highly recommend the Summer School for 2023 if there is a course that is of interest or even the opportunity to network with academics and industry. The atmosphere of the summer school overall is positive and encouraging.

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

I hope to still be working in the mathematical sciences in five or ten years time. It is a passion of mine. The project or the job title at that time is somewhat flexible, I am happy to go where I am needed.

Any other comments you would like to provide ?

To the organisers: Please keep up the good work, your efforts are very much appreciated!