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Scotch Students Excelling in Maths

News

26 July 2019

Scotch Students Excelling in Maths

Scotch Students Excelling in Maths

Recently I, along with nine other Year 9 girls, went to the AMSI ChooseMaths day that was held at the University of Adelaide. The day was structured with a variety of guest speakers and interactive workshops. It was a girls-only event (with the exception of Mr Hay) and eight schools attended.

The day started off with some mind-boggling statistics about girls in mathematics, delivered to us by one of the managers of AMSI (Australian Mathematical Science institute). The aim of this ChooseMaths event was to encourage us to get involved in STEM and to increase the number of females involved in mathematics from the classroom to the workforce.  We were then shown some of many pathways mathematics and STEM can lead to, from bioinformatics to becoming football game analyst. 

This was followed by a guest speaker who attended the University of Adelaide herself. Saranzaya (Saka) Magsarjav is currently working as a research assistant in Applied Mathematics at the University of Adelaide after receiving her Honours. Saka spoke to us about her current project which involves using special search filters to monitor happiness online through social media platforms such as twitter then graph it using statistics. She also spoke to us about how mathematics has broadened her horizons and allowed her to research things that interested her like human psychology. The next speaker Caitlin Gray who is PhD student in data science. Caitlin spoke to us about decision making and career pressure. She also talked about her high school journey and her view on young girls getting involved in STEM. Personally, I found Caitlin’s story quite relatable as I’m still undecided about what I want to be when I’m older and it was interesting to hear some of her advice about finding your way into the workforce and taking the right subjects for you. 

We then split off into four groups and went to our first interactive workshop, ‘The Human Galton Board’. Through this fun little game, which involved following a simple dice rolling pattern, we (the Scotch girls) joined with the girls of St Dominic’s Priory College and explored how the binomial distribution transforms when the pathways change.  

After a short break for morning tea we then regrouped outside for our campus tour. After the tour, we headed to our second interactive workshop titled ‘Into the 4th Dimension’. In this activity, we used a new learning tool, Zometool, to build 2D and 3D and even 4D models exploring concepts such as symmetry and dimensions. I think this activity was a favourite among the girls even though it was a little fidgety at times. After a group photo and some pizza (another highlight among the girls), we had one more workshop before we went back to the lecture theatre to listen to a few more speakers. In the last activity, we broke off into groups and given two ropes which were then tied in a knot using only twists and rotations. Each group was asked to find a mathematical algorithm that would enable us to undo the knot with only the same 2 movements and without going backwards. 

Emily Hackett-Jones, an applied mathematician, was our next speaker. She spoke about her many changes in careers and some of the diverse fields STEM has led her too including string theory, mathematical biology and digital marketing. Currently she is working in a cancer research lab with a focus on bioinformatics that is a field that combines biology, statistics and computer science. The last speaker, Michelle Richardson, is currently working in defence and described herself as a massive nerd passionate about encouraging women to take an interest in STEM. Michelle gave us some tips and advice about the work force as she has had careers in banking and finance as well as law before undertaking a software engineering degree as a mature-aged student.

After a short Q&A session it was time to head back to Scotch. I think I speak for all of us when I say that this event was a blast and we all took away so much from meeting all these amazing women. Before this ChooseMaths event, I would have never even considered looking into maths as my potential future but after hearing about all the diversity of STEM pathways and more specifically where mathematics can lead you to, and how necessary it is in the workforce it is something I will definitely keep in mind.

- Melissa Murphy, Year 9 

 

HSMC Presentation Night

Congratulations to our award winners for their performance the South Australian Hamann School Mathematics Competition for Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) Prizes held earlier this year in Term 1.

Distinctions were achieved by Junting (J.T.) Xie (Intermediate Division) and Henry Twelftee (Primary Division). 

Sebastian Lee’s performance in the Primary Division was exceptional with his award of Fifth Prize (equal). This is the finest performance achieved to date by a Scotch student in this difficult state-wide competition.

Our students were presented with their certificates and prizes last Wednesday evening at the MASA Presentation Night held at Pembroke School. They will be further recognised at an upcoming assembly next term.

Olga Kumar
Head of Mathematics

In the final edition for 2019, we hear from Dr Newton, each of our campuses, plus special photo galleries from the twitter.com/i/web/status/1