Charles Gray is working towards a PhD in Mathematical Statistics at La Trobe University, with a focus on the big data generated by the biosciences. A former musician, and a passionate advocate for women in science, she was responsible for sourcing all of the job listings that are found in this year’s edition of MATHSADDS.
I was only in year eight, when I left home and dropped out of school. After a few years on the streets, I realised education was my gateway to the stability I craved. In the end my Year 12 results surprised even me. Asked what I’d like to do next, I responded “mathematics”. I was quickly told it was a silly idea and I wasn’t smart enough. I don’t think I am unique in this experience.
I first entered the University of Melbourne intent on helping others through social work, but ended up instead drawn to music’s mathematical axioms and a musicology degree. While I loved many things about music, and still do, surviving from gig to gig and through teaching was very uncertain.
I was inspired to return to my maths dream after watching my housemate complete her physics degree in her thirties. I remember thinking, well if she can, I can. Initially I studied Pure Mathematics but decided to transition to mathematical statistics for my PhD. I am in love with my field. On any given day, I could be working on code; deriving mathematical equations; creating interactive simulations; or discovering data visualisation.
We need role models at every level; I want to share this magical world of numbers that I’ve discovered. I want everyone to know that you that you can solve the problems of today and tomorrow while doing something endlessly fun and exquisitely beautiful.
Charles Gray is an ambassador for the Choose Maths Careers Awareness Campaign