In September, the NSW Branch hosted four industry speakers and approximately 50 students at the Courtyard Cafe at the University of Sydney. Despite some drizzles on the day, the event was well-attended and had a vibrant atmosphere. This event was partially sponsored by the Sydney University Postgraduate Representative Association (SUPRA).
The event began with an acknowledgement of the country by our Young Statistician Representative, Yidi Yan. The President of SUPRA, Yuning Zhang, and the Vice President of NSW Branch Dr Thomas Fung, introduced the audience to their respective organisations and encouraged the students to stay in touch with some upcoming events which will offer great benefits to the students. I had the pleasure of introducing each of our four great panellists.
The first panellist was Rachel Ragell from Lion. Rachel presented two case studies in her talk, one on greenhouse gas emission reduction and the other on beer demand forecast in the post-COVID recovery. These case studies allowed the audience to get a glimpse into how statistics can be applied to widely different industry projects. Rachel ended her talk with some valuable career interview tips for the students.
The second panellist was Dr Stanislaus (Stani) Stadlmann from QBE Insurance. Stani presented his career journey which began in Gottingen, Germany but ultimately brought him to Australia. Through his own experience, Stani shared with us how he planned his career in statistics and data science and reminded us of the importance of finding our own passions and empathy for others.
The third panellist was Dr Nancy Briggs from UNSW Stats Central consulting unit. Even though UNSW is an academic institution, Nancy had previously worked in various industries and loved talking to people about their statistical challenges. Statisticians often have the luxury of working on many different projects and Nancy is certainly one of them! She has done work on projects in psychology, image object detection and cancer therapies. These projects highlight the importance of statistics as a powerful tool in scientific discoveries.
Our last panellist was Dr Earo Wang from Canva. She connected with the audience immediately because the company is well-known in the student community as the go-to tool for visual design. Earo introduced her role at Canva as a data analyst working on website utilisation forecaster. Such a role seemed perfect for Earo as her doctoral training was in the area of time series forecasting.
After each of our panellists have introduced themselves, the event proceeded with a networking session so the eager students can have the opportunity to chat with our panellists. The session is well-supported by a catering of pizzas and beers and as far as I can tell, everyone at the event had a great time and got important career-related questions answered.
Councillor of the SSA NSW Branch