August 2019

Postgraduate Meeting

Unfortunately, the postgraduate meeting for this month was cancelled due to Caitlin being ill. However, another meeting will be scheduled at the start of September.

Porirua Revision Sessions

Each year SMS provides tutors to Porirua College for Mathematics and Statistics. This school is one of the lower decile schools in the Wellington region And has struggled historically with achievement in the maths and stats components of their NCEA exams. This year we have been lucky enough to have four tutors volunteering - Malcolm Jones, Virginia Listanti, Aleksa Vujicic and Jessica Silva. This has meant we can expand the topics covered from purely mathematics and statistics through to some physics topics. Hopefully we will be able to attract more students to the programme with this development.

Thank you to those ibnvolved so far, if you are interested in supporting the programme further - please get in touch with Caitlin.

Casio & VUW Senior Maths Competition

On August 16th, Victoria University of Wellington hosted the Casio & VUW Senior Maths Competition. This competition brought top maths and stats students from around the country to sit their final exam. These students were chosen after sitting their preliminary exam in schools, and the top grades from around the country and in each region were chosen to participate in the final. We had a total of 14 students attending the final and three winners.

1st Place: Ethan Ng (Burnside High School)

2nd Place: Nicholas Patel (Wellington College)

3rd Place: William Han (Macleans College)

This competition was a labour of love from various volunteers, some of which were working under time pressure to power out the marking in the limited time frame. Caitlin would like to extend a special thank you to everyone who helped out on the day - some of the marking was pretty cryptic and you all did a wonderful job. The students had a wonderful time checking out the campus, and the capital city. None of this would have been possible without everyones support.

Open Day

On Friday 23rd August, Victoria University of Wellington was inundated with potential students checking out what we have to offer in the upcoming year. We had lots of brilliant feedback on the activity around our booth. Students were engaging with us right from the get go when the booth opened at 8am. Students loved the rubiks challenge, nim and the maths challenges we had on the wall and whiteboards.

Caitlin was on her feet all day chatting to everyone and noticed that there was a marked interest in Data Science - which is great given we have only had this major on offer for one year so far. Without all of your support it would have not been possible to promote our work and share our passions.

Thank you to Aleksa, Virginia, Malcolm, and Sebastian for coming on down and getting into the nitty gritty of the day.

Strategic Research Grants

Do you have a conference you would like to attend? The Faculty Strategic Research Grant round is now open. This grant is designed to supplement registration, accomodation and travel costs that may be associated with attending these events. Usually we encourage students to present their work at these events if possible, but grants are assessed on a case by case basis. PhD students are allowed to have 2 grants during their time studying with us and Masters students can have 1.

So far we have had several applications for the New Zealand Statistics Association Conference down at Otago, but we are open to a variety of applications. The School encourages you to use these applications for overseas conferences if possible. We also encourage you to enquire with your supervisor about additional sources of funding for any events you are interested in. Feel free to send any questions to Caitlin or Ginny if you would like more information on how to apply.

Upcoming Events

Postgrad Talks - Thursday 12th September, 11am-1pm AM101

These sessions are designed to allow postgraduates to present their work in a relaxed environment of non-expert peers. Research can be at any stage, as long you are prepared to have discussion and feedback on your project. This is a great opportunity to practice academic speaking, trade ideas, explore feedback and generally share ideas while making connections in the postgraduate community.

If you would like to present, sign up here.

Alternatively, if you are not ready to present and would just like to explore the postgraduate community at VUW - feel free to pop along to provide feedback and just have a chat with your peers. Food will be provided.

Award Opportunities

PGSA Research Excellence Awards

Nominations for the PGSA Research Excellence Awards are now open. Any student studying at Masters or PhD level and past the proposal stage can nominate themselves or be nominated for an award (valued at $1500). PGSA is looking for students that demonstrate:
  • Academic rigour and excellence, originality, or creativity
  • Advancemeant of knowledge in their field or a significant contribution to knowledge
  • Clear communication, in a way that an educated but non-expert audience can understand
  • An impact within the scholarly, economic or wider stakeholder communities
There are a total of 10 awards to be won - one for each Faculty and one from any Faculty that promotes Maori involvement and engagement.

Applications will close on the 27th September at 5pm - apply here.

The award ceremony will be held in Hunter Lounge on the 27th November.

Prime Minister’s Science Prizes

There are five prizes available, with three of particular interest to postgraduates and alumni:
  • The Prime Minister’s Science Prize: The prize is for a transformative scientific discovery or achievement which has had significant economic, health, social or environmental impact on New Zealand or the International community within the last 5 years. The prize is worth $500 000, with $100 000 going to the individual or team involved in the project and the rest to support ongoing research in their area.
  • The Prime Minister’s MacDiarmid Emerging Scientist: This prize is for an emerginf scientist who has had their PhD or equivalent conferred within the last 8 years. The prize is worth $200 000; with $50 000 going towards the scientist and the rest towards funding their ongoing research.
  • The Prime Minister’s Science Communicator: This prize is targeted at both practising scientists who can demonstrate an interest, passion and aptitude for scientific communication and public engagement; and to people who have developed expertise in public engagement and communication of complex scientific and technological information to the public. $55 000 will be used to support the reciptient in carrying out their programme of activities or professional development to further their understanding of media communication. $20 000 will be made available to the recipient with no expectations.
Applications close on the 10th October - if you are interested in applying, check out the page here.

Scholarship Opportunities

The Sir Hugh Kawharu Masters Scholarship for Innovation in Science

This scholarship is aimed at supporting masters level study by Maori students in the Sciences. This scholarship is administered by the Royal Society Te Aparangi and provides $10 000 towards masters level study in the sciences.

Applications close 7th October 2019. Check out this link here to find out how to apply.

Research Assistant at the Centre for Labour, Employment and Work (CLEW)

We are looking for a part time research assistant to assist with the development and management of a survey on work and wellbeing and subsequent quantitative data analysis and other tasks. The position will begin in September 2019.

We are looking for someone with skills in:

  • Online survey design and analysis
  • Data management and presentation – e.g., with MS Excel
  • Quantitative data analysis with software for structural equation modelling (e.g., Mplus, AMOS, the lavaan R package, SAS PROC CALIS, the SEM Builder in Stata, LISREL)
  • Good project and relationship management
  • Writing reports on survey results for non-academic audiences.

This position would ideally suit a post-graduate student with an interest in how workplaces operate, worker experiences, employee voice, management practices and employee wellbeing, and with a background in survey research and quantitative analysis. Our preference is to have the same person available for the duration of the project, which is scheduled to be completed in September 2020, but may extend longer.The hours worked can be flexible and will vary across different stages of the project.

If you are interested, please send a CV with a letter of application by 3 September to