Mentoring at ACEMS

The ACEMS Mentoring Program continued successfully in 2019. Once again, we asked our members via a survey what they thought of the initiative and 100% of respondees agreed that the program was a success, with 85% wishing to continue with their current mentoring arrangement.

One-on-one mentoring relationships

For the formal one-on-one component of the program, 26 members participated in the next round of mentoring match-ups, all of which were next-level-up mentoring; all but two match-ups were also cross-nodal. For the first time we invited ACEMS Alumni to participate in the mentoring program, which resulted in a match-up between an ACEMS alumni member and a PhD student.

Even as a mid-career researcher there is so much to learn about being successful in academia. Scott's advice on a variety of issues has been invaluable to me, particularly the tricky art that is grant writing.”

AI Chris Drovandi (QUT)

Navigating through any career-path is not straightforward. I've benefited from the ACEMS mentor/mentee relationship with Chris by needing to look back and thinking through my own thought processes and decisions at relevant earlier points in my career, and assessing how I see them now from a more experienced viewpoint. Discussing these with Chris has hopefully been helpful for him to perhaps avoid making some of the mistakes that I did. In addition, it has been personally useful for understanding where I find myself now, career wise, and where I might go myself in the future!

CI Scott Sisson (UNSW)

I’ve really enjoyed being part of the ACEMS mentoring program. My mentor Giang Nguyen has been a great support, I’m very grateful for the invaluable advice and practical tips she’s given me that I’ve been able to incorporate into my working style to help me get the most out of my days. This has also been a great opportunity to make connections across the different ACEMS nodes that wouldn’t have been possible without the program.

PhD student Raiha Browning (QUT)

Mentoring Podcasts

This year also saw the launch of the second season of the ACEMS podcast “The Random Sample”. As with 2018, a number of shows discussed topics with a mentoring angle, including:

Episode 17: A Day Can Make a Difference

Guest: Dr Rachael Quill and Dr Melissa Humphries from ACEMS at The University of Adelaide, and Dr Amie Albrecht from The University of South Australia

Host: Tim Macuga, ACEMS Media and Communications Officer

In this episode, we talked to three of the women behind the biggest Australian 2019 Women in Maths Day event, what they did, why it was so important, did anything come of it, and what's ahead when it comes to the issue of gender equity in mathematics.

Episode 19: Playing the Game of Maths

Guest: Anthony Harradine from Prince Alfred College in Adelaide, and Dr Anita Ponsaing, ACEMS’ Outreach Officer

Host: Prof Nigel Bean, ACEMS Deputy Director and Chief Investigator, The University of Adelaide

In this episode, we discussed ACEMS' flagship outreach program, MathsCraft, which is designed to supplement what is already being taught in school mathematics classrooms. MathsCraft allows kids to experience things like the creativity of maths, collaboration, having ideas, exploring those ideas, and coming up with new ideas and questions.

Episode 20: Talking Stats & Stories

Guest: Prof John Bailer, Chair of Statistics at Miami (Ohio) University, President of the International Statistical Institute, and co-host of the “Stats + Stories” podcast

Host: Prof Louise Ryan, ACEMS Chief Investigator at UTS

In this episode, we met the co-creator of the "Stats and Stories" podcast. It explored the challenges, opportunities and importance of communicating statistics, especially in this data-driven world that we live in.


Mentoring seminars and workshops

ACEMS continued the ACEMS seminar series throughout 2019. Once again there was a mix of technical ‘how to’ workshops as well as mentoring-focused professional and career development seminars. They were delivered at a variety of nodes, whilst also being streamed live and made available on the ACEMS YouTube channel. A full list of the seminars is below.

This year we also introduced a new category of talks, the Equity and Diversity workshops, enlisting the experience of workplace behaviour change consultants, En Masse. They designed and delivered three highly interactive seminars throughout the year: two were live streamed online across the seven nodes and the third was delivered at the ACEMS annual retreat. More details about these three workshops can be found in the Equity and Diversity section of this report.

2019 Seminars/Workshops

Topic Presenter(s) Location
What’s happening in the Data Science market and what’s all the hype about? Virginia Wheway, Thiess QUT
Submission Strategies and responding to referee comments Peter Taylor, ACEMS Director UoM
Grabbing your audience's attention Kate Saunders, former PhD student and now Associate Investigator UoM
E+D workshop: Respect and equality at work Mark Dean, facilitator from En Masse QUT
Subsampling MCMC: Bayesian inference for large data problems Matias Quiroz, former Research Fellow and now Associate Investigator UNSW
An Introduction to the Visualisation Ecosystem in R Ursula Laa and Stuart Lee, Research Fellow and PhD student respectively Monash
E+D workshop: Understanding unconscious bias Mark Dean, facilitator from En Masse UoM
E+D workshop: The Challenge of Perfectionism Mark Dean, facilitator from En Masse 2019 ACEMS Retreat in Adelaide
KPZ universality in stochastic particle models from first principles Jan de Gier, Chief Investigator UoM