Broughton High School, Heriot-Watt University (Undergraduate), University of Strathclyde (PhD)
8 x Standard Grades at Credit. Higher: Maths, French, Chemistry, English, Art. Advanced Higher: Mathematics. First Class BSC Hons in Mathematics. PhD in Mathematics.
I dropped out of Edinburgh University when I was 18 and went on to become an assistant manager of a shoe shop for one year. I quickly realised that this wasn't the job for me! I re-enrolled at university the following year and I've never left since! I went straight from my undergraduate degree to study for a PhD. I then had two successive post-doctoral research positions before being awarded a research fellowship in 2018. I was then made a permanent member of academic staff in 2019.
University of Strathclyde
I'm a mathematician that loves hiking and travelling.
I live in Glasgow with my husband. I enjoy hiking, dancing, reading and yoga. I love to travel and recently returned from a month in Patagonia and Easter Island. I was recently selected to participate in Homeward Bound, a year long leadership program which aims to address the gender imbalance in leadership roles in STEMM fields. The program will culminate in a three week Antarctic voyage with 80 other women from STEMM backgrounds and I can’t wait!
How I Use Maths In My Job:
As an applied mathematician, I am interested in using mathematics to model physical phenomena. My main area of interest is understanding how sound waves travel and change shape. To study waves I need to use aspects of:
- Algebra and functions
- Geometry and measurments
- Exponentials and logarithms
- Numerical methods
- Data presentation and interpretation
- Statistical distributions
- Quantities and units in mechanics
- Forces and Newton’s law
My work focusses on developing imaging algorithms. By sending waves into solid objects we can analyse how they scatter and reconstruct pictures of the object's interior. I work on problems in medical imaging, seismology and structural engineering.
I’m a lecturer of mathematics. This involves both teaching university level mathematics and carrying out mathematical research. As an applied mathematician I use maths to solve practical challenges faced by engineers, seismologists and doctors. My specific area of expertise is the development of ultrasonic imaging algorithms. For example, in medical imaging, we can use ultrasound to create pictures of the brain, foetuses and tumours. In engineering, we can use ultrasound to look inside engines and propeller blades and locate any structural defects. My job is to use mathematics to model how ultrasound waves interact with different materials and use this knowledge to improve the quality of the images we can produce.
My Typical Day
Every day is different for me as I am often travelling to give talks at international conferences! Some activities I do most days, whether at home or abroad, include, reading and replying to emails, writing about my research so it can be published in journals, reading about new mathematical and engineering research, carrying out data analysis, computer programming, building and solving mathematical models, learning new mathematical techniques, preparing for classes, lecturing and supervising students.
One nice thing about my job are that the hours are flexible. So sometimes I start work at 730am, at other times 10am. Sometimes I finish at 4pm and other days it can be 11pm. However, I usually start my day by checking and replying to emails. I then draw up a list of must do tasks for the day. Tasks that frequently appear on my list include: writing up my research for publication in scientific journals, reading about new mathematical and engineering research, carrying out data analysis, computer programming, building and solving mathematical models (either by hand or using computer programs), studying new mathematical techniques, writing grant proposals to request funding for research projects, preparing for classes, lecturing and supervising students. One nice thing about research is that there is always something new to learn so there’s no time to get bored! However, I think the best thing about my job are the opportunities for travel. I have given talks at international conferences across the world, including in Japan, Hawaii and even Siberia!
How would you describe yourself in 3 words?
Caring, hard-working, approachable
What or who inspired you to follow your career?
My love of puzzles and problem solving
What's your favourite use for maths in everyday life?
Watching the darts!
What did you think about Maths when you were in school?
I've always enjoyed maths.
What did you want to be after you left school?
Were you ever in trouble at school?
Not often :-)
If you weren't doing this job, what would you choose instead?
I'd like to go back and study to be an archeologist.
Who is your favourite singer or band?
It changes every day - today I'm listening to The Cranberries
What's your favourite food?
What is the most fun thing you've done?
Kayaking in Hawaii
If you had 3 wishes for yourself what would they be? - be honest!
To always be happy and healthy, to see the world and to retire early!
Tell us a joke.
An exponential function was sitting by himself at a party. Someone asked him "Why aren't you joining in the fun?" To which he replied, "I can't, eveytime I try to integrate, nothing happens"