The AMSI Summer School is one of the key events in the calendar of the Australian mathematical sciences community, because of its focus on mentoring and engaging with the new cohort of emerging mathematical talent in Australia and its role in public engagement and outreach. It provides a platform to further the education of the most talented young mathematicians in the country, and an opportunity for talented lecturers to pass on their specialised knowledge to a new audience.
Increasingly, the AMSI Summer School is attracting interest from both domestic and international markets, with over 120 Australian enrolments, and 4 international students attending the Summer School in 2016 event.
Ms Leonie Walsh, the Lead Scientist of the Victorian State Government officially opened the 14th annual event. Ms Walsh and Geoff Prince (AMSI Director) both spoke of the importance of STEM and the need for students to seek a wide skill set in order to fully engage in employment. Each lecturer was then invited to give a brief 3 minute, one slide summary of their subject offering, which was favourably received by students, and also gave Ms Walsh and other members of the public an engaging overview of modern mathematical areas.
This year’s Public Lecture was very successful, with over 200 members of the general public attending Margaret Wertheim’s talk on “Corals, Carbon and the Cosmos: The Story of Hyperbolic Space”, which also attracted some focused media attention.
Students gain valuable knowledge from the specialised subjects offered, and they are exposed to some of the best young lecturing talent we have in Australia. They also made friendships and started to build professional networks, which will aid them in future careers during the four weeks at Summer School. The careers afternoon was well attended and it remains an important mentoring activity for students seeking input into future career paths. The school ended with the Conference Dinner, where the students proved that they had talents in dance above and beyond their mathematical abilities.
The foundation of a successful Summer School begins with an appealing program which the 2016 Summer School had. Ultimately the success of the AMSI Summer School was the result of the hard work, commitment, enthusiasm of talented lectures, committee members, AMSI and RMIT.