Following the path you love

School of Mathematical Sciences PhD candidate Louise Campbell chose to study STEM after a love of maths and biology in high school.

When returning to university she knew exactly what she wanted to study: something that incorporated that love of mathematics, and biology.

These passions saw her choose a Bachelor of Mathematical and Computer Science, as it gave opportunities to incorporate courses in biology, genetics and ecology.

Her PhD studies are in the field of forensic statistics. Louise says her focus is on using machine learning techniques to develop a recommender system for triaging crime scene exhibits.

Again combining her love for both mathematics and biology. And so we begin to see a pattern!

We’re shining a spotlight on Louise, her career and achievements in the lead up to International Women’s Day.

What do you love about what you do?

One of my favourite things about research in this field is learning about all of the exciting, innovative and challenging projects that my peers, colleagues and industry leaders are working on.  I love that I have the opportunity to create something new and exciting that can make positive changes in the field of forensics and have an impact on people’s lives.

I love that having a STEM degree opens so many doors and allows you to work in almost any field you want whilst applying your knowledge to complex problems.

Do you have advice for your younger self?

Study whatever you love. If you love maths in high school, do a maths degree. Even if you don’t know where the degree will take you career wise, study it at uni, meet like-minded people and opportunities will open up to you in your chosen field. Don’t be afraid to take elective subjects that seem really interesting even if they are outside your faculty. If you do what you love, it won’t feel like work!

If you could attend a personal or professional training opportunity, what would it be?

I would like to attend professional development from women mentors but also learn from them so I can mentor other women in the future. Gender equity and diversity is really important and we need to see more of this in STEM. I would like to see more women mentors in the faculty to allow younger females the opportunity to see themselves in teaching and research roles.

Name an achievement that makes you feel proud?

I received a first-class honours in Statistics (Phylogenetics) and gave the valedictory speech at my graduation ceremony in 2021.

I achieved all of this as a returning mature age student and a single mum, whilst also working several jobs. I am really proud of that.

How do you unwind in your spare time?

I have a nine-year-old son who loves his athletics and soccer, so I am often at his meets / games, or down at the local oval so he can practice.

I love to play tennis - getting out to do some exercise in the fresh air whilst socialising with my team mates is a lot of fun. I also enjoy reading and spending time with friends.


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