Scoil Carmel; Scoil Treasa; Firhouse Community College; Trinity College Dublin
Irish state examinations (Junior and Leaving Certificates); BA Mathematics; PhD Statistics
I have worked in shops (in a small shop and in a department store) and in a cafe; I have also worked in a public library; for a market research company all before coming to the UK to work as a statistician.
Senior Lecturer in Statistics
I work in the Applied Statistics Group which is in the Engineering Design and Mathematics department at the University of the West of England, Bristol (UWE).
The CHRISTMAS LECTURE related to my work:
Statistician and juggler who lives in Bristol
I’ve lived in Bristol for 10 years, but I am originally from Ireland.
In my spare time, I occasionally juggle and help to run juggling and circus festivals. I have never knowingly refused a cup of tea.
pronouns are she/her.
How I Use Maths In My Job:
I work with statistics and probability on a daily basis. This also means that I use algebra – to help understand the theory and then fractions, decimals and percentages to explain my results to others!
I use statistics to help others understand their work. I work primarily on collaborative projects - such as working on looking at different aspects of water usage around the world. This includes understanding the patterns of water usage by university students living on campus to looking at how having poor or unreliable water supply affects peoples daily lives around the world. Other projects I work on include medical ones - for example, working with doctors to help them make sure that feeding tubes in hospitals are put in the correct place.
I work primarily on collaborative projects – such as working on looking at different aspects of water usage around the world. This includes understanding the patterns of water usage by university students living on campus to looking at how having poor or unreliable water supply affects peoples daily lives around the world.
Other projects I work on include medical ones – for example, working with doctors to help them make sure that feeding tubes in hospitals are put in the correct place.
I also work on projects where research teams are coming up with new machines to help screen or diagnose cancer in less invasive, more cost effective ways.
My Typical Day
No two days are the same for me at work. It depends on how much I am teaching that day; if I am teaching then I want to double check my materials! I will lots of meetings, sometimes with students, or other mathematicians and statisticians, sometimes with other researchers. I get a lot of emails during the day that need to be answered. My start and finishing times are relatively flexible, depending on the days schedule I will arrive sometime between 08:30 and 10:00 and leave after 17:00.
During teaching semester, my schedule is controlled by when and where I am teaching. My other meetings fit around this. As a lot of the time, I am providing advice to others, not that much time is spent “doing statistics”, instead it is getting to understand what others are doing and why they are taking certain approaches.
When I am working on a longer term project, a lot of my time is spent programming. The techniques will usually work on any good computer, but figuring out new statistical methods (or a new application of an existing method) can take a lot of trial and error. You never really know if it will work until you try.
My favourite CHRISTMAS LECTURES memory is:
Finding out the best way to cut through a crowd (I think that this was in 1997, "The Magical Maze" series)
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Enthusiastic; Resourceful; Inquisitive
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
Primary school teacher who encouraged me to find different ways to solve maths problems
What's your favourite use for maths in everyday life?
Fact checking what people claim - as statistics are too often used to disguise the truth.
What did you think about Maths when you were in school?
I liked the sense of a problem being answered. When writing English essays, I never felt that I was finished.
What did you want to be after you left school?
Epidemiologist (or Barrister when I was in primary school)
Were you ever in trouble at school?
No, but I went to a deprived school, so the standards were a little different at the time.
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Hozier (currently, but it changes depending on my mood).
What's your favourite food?
Cake (pretty much any type)
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Having an access all areas pass at Glastonbury - strangely this was part of my job as a statistician!
Tell us a joke.
What's the difference between a well dressed man on a unicycle and a poorly dressed man on a bike? Attire!