Dr. Joyce Zhang is a senior lecturer in the School of Mathematics & Statistics. She applies mathematics, modelling and optimisation to solve problems that arise in real life. In her own words, "I help decision makers to make decisions, operating and managing their systems."
Joyce says she just likes doing the same things as other people. She likes shopping and watching tv. "I do like eating foods from different countries, and I cook, although not very often."
What was your relationship with maths and stats like in school?
At high school I was good at maths, but I never thought about studying mathematics or statistics. I liked cars and I thought that I would join a famous car company and design a car, so at university I studied mechanical engineering. Later I ended up liking operations research because that’s what helps car manufacturers make decisions.
Tell us about a role model you had throughout your journey to become a mathematician/statistician.
I had very supportive and experienced PhD advisors who gave me a lot of license to pursue my own intellectual interests.
What is a mathematical/statistical memory that sticks with you?
I attended a workshop once and I was the only female inside. Now whenever I go, I can see a lots of females. And I think that's really, really important.
That memory actually helps me to treasure where I'm now.
What is the best thing about working in maths and stats?
We get to work inside with a cup of coffee and a computer. We can stay warm and dry when others get cold and wet.
What is the worst thing about working in maths and stats?
The worst thing is when you get stuck. In other jobs when you leave work you can stop. But if you’re working on maths equations or research problems your brain's always functioning. Even when you’ve left your computer, you can be dreaming and still be thinking about it.
If you were no longer allowed to be an academic, what would you do instead?
I’d really like to be an interior decorator, but I’d need to study to do that. With my current skills, I think I could be a traffic engineer or a consultant.