CHOOSEMATHS CAREERS AMBASSADORS

Mathematics is essential to an increasing number of jobs and growing industries, and it is imperative that students are made aware of what these jobs are, and the kind of skills that they employ.

The following profiles highlight mathematically capable professionals from across Australia, who have all undertaken careers in which an understanding of mathematics is absolutely essential.

We hope these profiles give an understanding of our ambassadors’ various backgrounds, the type of work they perform, and their inspiration along their journey. More importantly, we hope to educate students about the vast amount of jobs which require a mathematical skill base, and encourage them to pursue their studies by giving them inspiring role models to look up to.

LILY SERNA
LILY SERNA
MATHEMATICIAN & DATA ANALYST: ATLASSIAN
LILY SERNA
It’s not exactly a natural progression to go from studying a maths degree to a nightly television program, but Letters and Numbers has given me the amazing opportunity to share the wonderful world of maths with the wider community.
People often have a perception of what a mathematician should be. I like to challenge that stereotype.
LYNDAL HENDEN
LYNDAL HENDEN
PhD STUDENT: WALTER AND ELIZA HALL INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL RESEARCH
LYNDAL HENDEN
When I was young I wanted to become a meteorologist so I went to university to study maths. While there I discovered a world of new things that interested me, particularly medical data.
Applying mathematical knowledge to real‑life medical data means that I am able to help people.
JANINE STEWART
JANINE STEWART
SENIOR MATHEMATICS TEACHER AND YEAR 12 PATRON
DR. JANINE STEWART
Mathematics is the common component of humanity’s shared culture, a universal language that empowers us to become problem solvers in a world fraught with problems such as climate change, food security and health care.
Mathematics can tackle these. Ultimately though, maths is just a really fun thing to do.
KYLIE HOLLINS
KYLIE HOLLINS
SUPERINTENDENT, INTEGRATED PRODUCTION AND REMOTE OPERATIONS: BHP BILLITON
DR. KYLIE HOLLINS
I was a marine scientist for several years and saw first-hand some of the problems that have an effect on the environment.
Now I use mathematics to try and solve some of these problems.
Cutting edge technologies allow us to operate activities on our mine sites by remote control. Site operators mine the iron ore and my team digitally mines the data to find ways to improve processes.
KARLIE NOON
KARLIE NOON
ASTROPHYSICS MASTERS STUDENT: ANU
KARLIE NOON
I was the first Indigenous student to complete a double degree in Maths and Physics in NSW, but my life wasn’t always smooth sailing. Leaving school early I returned to couch-surf my way through Year 12 and at uni fell in love with astronomy.
Recently I was awarded a scholarship to work in CSIRO’s Astronomy and Space Science team, a dream come true. I always wanted to stick it to the people who judged or bullied me because I was overweight, poor and different. Well, I guess I have.
ALLY WATSON
ALLY WATSON
.NET DEVELOPER: DEEPEND & CO‑FOUNDER: CODE LIKE A GIRL
ALLY WATSON
I always had aspirations of going to art school, as it turns out, my creative side and strength in design helped me to succeed in programming instead.
Nowadays I use my knowledge to empower young girls around the country to pursue a career in coding. Tech is not just for guys and now, more than ever, we need to arm our kids with digital literacy, mathematics and coding skills for the future.
BEN WATERHOUSE
BEN WATERHOUSE
OWNER: MODEL SOLUTIONS
DR. BEN WATERHOUSE
My company uses data every day to answer questions about the use of pharmaceutical drugs.
Interpreting the data is a way for us to solve problems. Sometimes it helps a new treatment get launched, or it assures us that a drug is being used the way it was intended and sometimes it helps explain the changes in treatment for a particular disease.
CHARLES GRAY
CHARLES GRAY
PhD STUDENT: LA TROBE UNIVERSITY.
CHARLES GRAY
After almost 20 years in the music industry, I finally went back to uni to study maths after being talked out of it numerous times.
Some people find it a strange combination, but it’s really not as far-fetched as it may seem. Music is mathematical and in retrospect this may be why I was drawn to it in the first place.
CASSIE PENNICUIK
CASSIE PENNICUIK
PROGRAM MANAGER: CFA
CASSIE PENNICUIK
Like many Victorians I grew up ‘fire ready’: recognising the risks and always being prepared.
My job involves risk analysis and management, complex budget management, logic and problem solving for some of the Country Fire Authority’s largest projects, all focussed on improving our service delivery to the community. Maths allows us to optimise our response times, which can help to save lives.
SASKIA FREYTAG
SASKIA FREYTAG
POST DOC. RESEARCHER: WALTER AND ELIZA HALL INSTITUTE OF MEDICAL RESEARCH
DR. SASKIA FREYTAG
I grew up in Germany and spent weekends conducting experiments with my dad and investigating the theories behind them.
Nowadays I don’t do quite the same types of experiments, but I still love searching for answers and making sense of complex problems.
The human brain is one of the final frontiers in science and I use data and mathematical models to explore areas we never thought possible.
LEE TURNLEY
LEE TURNLEY
COMPOSITE RESEARCH ENGINEER: BOEING RESEARCH AND TECHNOLOGY AUSTRALIA
LEE TURNLEY
Numbers play a huge role in my work. There is a theory and set of equations behind most of what I do.
For me, mathematics provides tools to help build cutting edge technologies that make lighter, stronger materials that improve fuel economy. Put simply, numbers represent the future of air transport.
KARIN DITCHFIELD
KARIN DITCHFIELD
SPECIALIST IN THE PORTFOLIO STRATEGY AND DEVELOPMENT TEAM: BHP BILLITON
KARIN DITCHFIELD
When I was young, we moved around a lot. It was always difficult to adapt to a new culture and learn a new language, however mathematics is the same no matter where you are in the world.
Today I’m dealing with data every day, but it’s not the numbers that excite me, it’s the opportunities they present. Critical thinking, problem solving and strategic decision making help me to build our company’s portfolio of mining assets.
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