St. Marys College Naas and UCD
Junior Cert, Leaving Cert, BSc in Applied and Computational Mathematics
I have worked in a deli, in a cafe as a waitress, teaching maths by giving grinds, working in the maths support centre and tutoring college modules
University College Dublin (UCD)
I am funded by MaREI and SFI
I live with some friends from college in Dublin. I love to go bouldering (rock climbing) and I make the worlds best brownies!
While I do love my job, it is a complete accident that I study in this area in the first place. I didn’t get the right grades to get into my first choice university course and ended up studying mathematics. Fast forward a few years and I’m still studying maths (although I’ve managed to make it more practical than I thought possible).
In my free time I like to boulder, basically rock climb without a harness. It’s a great way to keep fit and get stronger, plus there’s lots of problem solving involved. I also enjoy going to the cinema. Getting popcorn and a drink is a must!
My pronouns are
How I Use Maths In My Job:
My area of research is called Fluid Mechanics. It uses a lot of calculus which is an area of maths that basically describes how things change relative to each other. As I design and run experiments I also need to use a lot of geometry and measurement to design and plan the experiments. Then, when I have my data collected, I use statistics to analyze what I have collected and to discover trends and patterns in the data.
I design and run experiments to better understand how rain and wind effect the size of waves and how waves break. All of my experiments happen on the west coast of Ireland.
I want to know how and why rain and wind change the size of water waves. I also want to know how they change the breaking that happens. Breaking is normally described as the white white part on the tops of waves, you see it a lot at Irish beaches. To do this I design experiments, I use weather stations, data buoys and cameras to collect my data. Much of my work is done on Inishmaan and just off its coast.
Once my data is collected I put it on my computer and use statistics to understand what is happening at sea. There are lots of methods available and I spend time comparing which is best and most relevant.
Every day on the job I learn something new, whether that be how to code something or how to safely harness myself so I can work near a cliff edge in the field.
My Typical Day
Either at my desk reading and using code to analyse data or else hiking across rocky ground setting up experiments.
Most days I am in the office, I try to head in for about 8:45am, although no one would mind if I arrived in at lunch time. My job is all about what results I produce, not how many hours I work. I could be reading papers, coding or writing up results depending on the day. I have lunch with some others on my team and it’s nice to talk about things other than work. After lunch it’s back to the desk to start the next task. During term time I also tutor some classes and work in the maths support center. In the maths support center students can come and look for free help in all areas of mathematics. I find it’s a great way of getting to know people across the university.
If I am on the field I drive to Connemara airport for 8:30am (this usually means a 5am start, not fun). After getting the 6 minute flight I have a day of work on Inishmaan where I could be fixing a weather station, installing housing for cameras, or designing my next experiment. Rain gear is advised but sun cream is also crucial! I normally stay overnight and get the plane back at 5pm the next day after another day of work.
What I'd do with the prize money
I'd love to go to some schools and show students that mathematicians are sociable people and can study really interesting, useful topics.
In interviews before I have been told how I am not like what they expected a mathematician to be. I believe the stereotype can sometimes put people off studying maths. I would hope that by visiting schools I can show students and teachers the mathematicians can be fun, sociable people who have interests outside of numbers. I believe it is extremely important to increase diversity in STEM, especially in maths where it is lacking.
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Outdoor loving mathematician
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
The people at Met Eireann
What's your favourite use for maths in everyday life?
Counting how many days left until the weekend/ my next holiday.
What did you think about Maths when you were in school?
I just loved getting my teeth into a good problem and knowing you solved it because the answer came out nice!
What did you want to be after you left school?
I honestly did not know - my guidance councellor was not my biggest fan
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Other than talking too much in class not really
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I would probably like to work in an engineering firm
Who is your favourite singer or band?
Anything Indie/ classic rock, although Taylor Swift is always a good shout
What's your favourite food?
Pepperoni pizza and garlic dip
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Inter-railing across eastern Europe
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
That I could sing. An all expenses paid world holiday. Not to have to pay any more rent.
Tell us a joke.
Not a joke but most of the Simpsons creators have degrees in mathematics and physics and they have hidden lots of maths jokes in the series