Mathematician and TV Host

Lily Serna graduated from the University of Technology Sydney with a double degree in mathematics and finance and a bachelor of international studies. A mathematician and data analyst at enterprise software company, Atlassian, she is best known for her long-running role as resident Numbers Expert on SBS’s Letters and Numbers.

One of my earliest maths memories is counting in the car with Grandad when I was about five. When we reached 100 I was overwhelmed about what could possibly come next. I couldn’t fathom anything bigger. I remember being told that no matter what number I could think of there would always be something bigger. I didn’t know it at the time, but that was when I first grasped the concept of infinity.

When I was at school I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Maths was something I was really interested in, so when it came time to choose I thought I would see where it would lead (unexpected places evidently).

I certainly didn’t expect to be on television; it isn’t a natural progression for a maths graduate. I feel very lucky to have landed the resident Numbers Expert role on SBS’s Letters and Numbers. It has been an incredible platform to both share the wonderful world of maths with the wider public and challenge the stereotype of what it means to study the subject.

I am always seeking new challenges. One of my current roles is as a Data Analyst at Software Company Atlassian specialising in building mathematical and statistical models. At the moment my focus is design and analysis of experiments. We change the experience of a product slightly and test if people appreciated the change or preferred the original mode.

I believe you should pursue what genuinely interests you not what you think you should be doing. Whatever your passion, chances are it will lead to something you never expected. Don’t worry if you haven’t worked out what it is yet, my advice is to try everything until you do.

Lily Serna is an ambassador for the Choose Maths Careers Awareness Campaign

choosemaths.org.au

Mathematician and TV Host
CHOOSEMATHS is a joint initiative of the Australian Mathematical Science Institute and the BHP Billiton Foundation.
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