Happy St. Patricks Day – Part II
The second and final in the series describing the experiences of new researchers to Ireland comes from Laure Ngouanfo.
I am Laure Ngouanfo, a research assistant in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, at the University of Limerick, working on a project with Chair of Statistics on Prof Cathal Walsh on a project funded by Health Research Board’s Research Leader Award programme. We will develop a Bayesian methodology within the health decision science unit. I am always delighted to discover such platforms like ECMI that promotes Mathematical sciences fields.
I spent the most part of my life doing theoretical mathematics which eventually helped me build strong analytical skills. However, I have always had the relentless urge to apply those skills into a practical field. I felt more attracted to statistics. I started learning it the hard way, at Auburn University in the United States at a graduate level. I found the course enjoyable and challenging. I am looking forward to gaining more exposure in statistical methods to tackle real-life problems and I believe to be on the right path in coming to MACSI in Limerick.
My experience has shown me the value of developing problem-solving skills. I believe these skills should be developed at an early age. For example, I came across the START (School Teaching Awareness of Randomised Trials) competition website online. Primary school students from all over Ireland are mobilised to participate in a competition to celebrate international clinical trials day, which happens every year on the 20th of May to commemorate the first ever randomised controlled trial that took place in 1747. Pupils perform activities similar to those carried out in real-life trials using scientific equipment. Programmes like this are a fantastic way to promote STEM-related careers and show children how to work in groups in a fun way.
It is amazing how developed countries involve their youth right from a tender age, exposing them to scientific ideas and methods of solving problems and how they are applied in their daily lives. It does not only build their creativity and cognitive abilities progressively, it also produces positive attitudes towards STEM-related fields. I think Governments like the one in my home country, Cameroon, should reconsider building their education systems to engage young people in STEM-related activities and encourage them to develop careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics as a workforce trained in STEM would empower countries to tackle novel problems in an ever-changing world.