Students Given a Glimpse of How Mathematics Can Lead to a Career in Healthcare Research

Published on: 31st January 2018

Through the spring term of 2018 Swansea University is hosting a Mathematics Masterclass series for Girls. The series of Saturday sessions run from January to March and are aimed at year 10 female pupils who have a keen interest in mathematics. Through a variety of topics, the pupils are given a taste of the nature of mathematical thinking by research staff based at the university with an aim to encourage even more girls to pursue scientific studies and careers.

As part of an on-going programme of public engagement for the Farr Institute at Swansea University, a team of female analysts from Farr and the Office of National Statistics (ONS) conducted a master class session; ‘the Spread of Disease’. The session, which was first run at last year’s event, focused on how mathematics is used to measure the frequency and spread of diseases by using probabilities associated with the risk of infection.

The Spread of Disease session attracted more than 35 pupils, all of which engaged in the extremely interactive feel of the session. Pupils were offered the opportunity to explore how hygiene can affect the spread of diseases, to do this we used mathematics and glitter!

They used a simplistic dice game to calculate and demonstrate the statistics relating to the spread of the common cold.

By the end of the session all the pupils were aware of how important mathematics for exploring patient and healthcare data – to identify trends in disease and treatments. It highlighted that if you love mathematics and have an inquisitive mind -then there is a job for you in health informatics.

Jiao Song, Analyst at Farr Swansea University commented, “This is the second year that we have been involved in the Programme; last year was such a success that we were super keen to be involved again this year. Our workshop is very interactive and looks to encourage lots of discussion – so that the students are not afraid to ask questions. Giving students a glimpse of how maths can lead to a future career in healthcare research is very rewarding – as many of the students were unaware that studying maths could lead to a career in this healthcare research.”

Enquiries to Sarah Toomey, Communications Officer, Farr Institute CIPHER, s.toomey@swansea.ac.uk

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