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You’re doing what? PhD students share their stats journeys

University of Auckland Statistics students Daisy Shepherd, Louise Mcmillan, Ollie Stephenson, Andrea Havron shared their PhD journeys into careers involving statistics… 

DS: The Evolution of Daisy’s Career in Statistics: Statistics, why would someone even study that? What kind of job can I get with that?” Daisy’s 16 year-old self used to protest. Flash forward a decade later, and Daisy  is working toward her doctorate in Statistics. So what changed over those years that made her mind set switch completely? In this session, Daisy discussed her personal journey through a career in statistics that changed the former skeptic to a passionate statistician. Daisy talked about her research combining statistics with molecular evolution, attempting to explain the many exciting opportunities of statistics to her 16 year-old self. Link to resources: Slides

LM: Louise loves statistics because it allows her to dabble in several different fields. Her PhD is on statistical methods for animal population genetics, but she also separately collaborated with an ecologist who is studying the growth patterns of tree ferns. Her consulting work has mostly been investigating predictors of students’ tertiary outcomes.

OS: The wide world of stats: from crickets to cricket: Today data exists in almost every facet of life, and where there is data, is an opportunity for a statistician. The versatility of statistics has allowed Ollie to contribute to a wide range of areas of interest , including projects in ecology, education, marketing and sports. Presently, I am a PhD candidate focussing on developing new statistical models and methods with applications to the sport of cricket, an opportunity Ollie would never have thought was possible studying statistics at high school.


AH: Mapping species and communities: using statistics to improve ecosystem management. Andrea’s career has been motivated by both a passion in ecology and a love for statistics.  She enjoys applying her spatial reasoning skills to tackle questions related to species distributions, or the spatial patterns of animals found across a land or seascape. Andrea’s PhD research focuses on developing statistical models to estimate and predict these patterns and relate them to environmental variables. Her PhD thesis lies at the forefront of this new area of research, looking into three different systems: a community of soil mites, a community of surf clam off the NZ coast, and the distribution of the marbled murrelet, a seabird found around the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

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