In AMSI scholarship recipient
AMSI grant recipient profile: Thomas Steele

Thomas Steele

Queensland University of Technology

I am studying my Honours in mathematics at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). I studied previously a degree in physics with minors in electrical engineering. Studying mathematics has been so exciting and doing the AMSI summer school was an excellent way to begin my honours.

1. Can you give me a quick rundown about the type of mathematics you are studying and its potential impacts for the broader community (think how you would explain your work and studies to others who don’t study maths)

I am studying the application of inference algorithms on non-Markovian models. Non-Markovian processes are very common, a few examples are epidemiological study, some biochemical reaction networks, and anomalous diffusion models. My honours aims to use what I have learned to apply inference techniques to anomalous diffusion models of brain MRI imaging to hopefully increase the resolution of MRI imaging.

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

I wanted to learn more about computational modelling, and Monte-Carlo methods. I did a summer research project at QUT under my now honours supervisor Dr David Warne. He has inspired me immensely and taught me an incredible amount.

3. You received a Travel Grant to attend AMSI Summer School 2024. How important was this in terms of your ability to attend, fully participate in the program and meet others studying in similar fields? Do you think it was an advantage to attend the program in-person?

After three years of university, it is safe to say I don’t have the money lying around to run off for a month to learn math in a different city. The travel grant enabled me to do this and it was one of the most extraordinary experiences of my life. Being able to meet like-minded people from across Australia and disciplines of mathematics made the experience. Attending in person was one of the best things that has happened to me.

4. What was the most valuable part of the program for you?

Being able to meet and interact with peers, as well as being exposed to career opportunities and new ideas.

5. In the long-term, what do you think are the benefits of having attended Summer School?

I have learned an incredible amount which will jump-start my honours. As well having already completed a unit I have some breathing room to pick and choose classes which I think will best suit my needs and goals.

6. 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. Do you feel better equipped to explore career options in the mathematical sciences after attending AMSI Summer School?

Absolutely. Knowing what is out there is oddly difficult. Most google searches say high school teacher or lecturer. Having greater exposure to opportunities will allow me to make a more informed decision when it comes to deciding what I want to do.

7. What advice would you give to someone who is considering applying for Summer School in 2025? Should they apply and why?

Absolutely should apply. There is no place where you can learn more and have more fun.

8. What are your current career ambitions in the mathematical sciences sector?

I want to pursue a PhD and all of what I have learned to make a difference.

9. How did connecting with the community at AMSI Summer School support your experience?

Meeting people who approach problems with a completely different angle and mindset helped me to grow and learn what I need to learn. I think having a broad exposure to mathematics is absolutely invaluable.

10. Any other feedback/comments you would like to provide on the AMSI Travel Grant or AMSI Summer School 2024?

I hope this runs forever so that more people can have the amazing experience I did.