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Students discover how maths can add up to a multitude of career choices

13th June 2019

A special mathematics event which included inspirational speakers and problem-based workshops helped more than 130 female high school students discover how studying maths can lead to a wide variety of future career choices.

The Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute - AMSI Choose Maths Day is an annual event that aims to empower students, particularly girls and women, to pursue careers in mathematics. The event is supported by a number of universities including QUT.

Dr Julia Collins, Women in Maths Network Coordinator at AMSI, says that the jobs landscape has rapidly changed in the last decade and mathematics is essential to a growing number of jobs.

“It is critical we foster an understanding of the value and impact of mathematics and equip students to embrace these opportunities now and into the future.”

The event included inspirational speakers Ellie Foxcroft (Biarri), Fay Dart (Real Serious Games) and Jacinta Holloway (QUT), who shared different career journeys from school to university study into their careers.

Students took part in a selection of hands-on workshops that used mathematics to develop solutions to a number of problem-based scenarios including create a renewable city and re-settlement of a post-apocalyptic Earth.

Students playing Sats and Stats board game
Students playing Sats and Stats at AMSI Choose Maths Day: a board game that uses science and mathematics in the exploration, and re-settlement of post-apocalyptic Earth

Year 9 and 10 students attended the event seeking “to understand a deeper meaning to maths” and for help in “deciding whether a career in maths is for me”.

The event had a positive influence on students.

“I will think of maths in a different light from now on when doing my maths homework or in maths class” a year 9 student stated.

“I definitely want to take up maths because I have found out that it can open so many more doors than I thought.” a year 10 student stated.

Around 70% of the students attending the event indicated that the Choose Maths event had influenced the level of maths they wished to take in year 11/12.

Mathematics can lead to a satisfying career with seven out of 10 jobs named as the "Best Jobs Globally" in both 2017 and 2018 being maths related careers (www.careercast.com).

The AMSI Choose Maths Day is an initiative of the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute supported by BHP Foundation. AMSI delivers a range of initiatives that support mathematics education. For more information visit https://schools.amsi.org.au/