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Highlighting the M in STEM

Past event - 2021
20 May Streaming from
6:30-7:30PM Eastern
6:00-7:00PM Central
4:30-5:30PM Western
Online, YouTube,
Online Your Home
MATHS. If the word itself sends chills down your spine, you may be one of a number of Australians who experience mathematics anxiety. (Yes, it’s a thing!) Our aversion to maths has led to a decline in maths literacy in Australia. Despite a rigorous push in recent years to promote STEM subjects, only science, technology, and engineering disciplines have progressed while maths has fallen by the wayside. Should we care? Why do we need maths anyway? Join host Dr. David Farmer and panelists as we debate statistics, applied mathematics, and data science to highlight the M in STEM.

Hosted by

David is a Scottish/Australian former Neuroscientist who once studied the brainstem: the area of the brain that keeps you alive. He also co-hosts the STEMology podcast and acts. He enjoys music, drinking coffee, a pint of the local ale, laughing, and trying not to feel like an imposter.

Championing maths for fun and work

Professor Asha Rao (Associate Dean of Mathematical Sciences)
Asha Rao is a trans-disciplinary researcher with interests ranging from mathematics and communication technologies, to issues such as fraud and money-laundering. The impact of her research resulted in invitations to participate in national and international bodies, including the UN Office of Drugs and Crime’s Intergovernmental meetings on Cybercrime. As the founding chair of the Women in Maths, she put in place a number of initiatives to improve gender equity within mathematical sciences.

The mathematics of going with the flow

Dr Sophie Calabretto is an applied mathematician and fluid mechanist. She is a passionate advocate for mathematics and spends a good hunk of time trying to demystify mathematics to a mass audience. Her favourite fluids are blood and gin.

Bioinformatics, Maths, Statistics

Dr Saskia Freytag (Postdoctoral Researcher)
I use statistics to figure out how the human brain works on a molecular level in health and disease. I am very privileged to work in a field that allows me to bridge my passions for design, communication, scientific discovery and mathematics.

Saskia completed her Masters in statistics at University College London. In 2014 she completed a PhD in Biostatistics in Germany. She then relocated to Melbourne to work as a post-doc at the WEHI. Currently, she works as a post-doc at the Harry Perkins Institute studying single cell omics data.

Putting the 'M' in STEM

Adrian is a statistician who has worked for 22 years in health and medical research. He is a current NHMRC Senior Research Fellow. He was the president of the Statistical Society of Australia from 2018 to 2020. His current research focuses on improving statistical practice to reduce research waste.

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