June 2021

New Students - Rudeep Gaur

This month we have just one new starter - Rudeep Gaur has joined us from Canterbury and will be working with Matt Visser. Rudeep will be up in CO540, and we are sure everyone will make him feel welcome once he has settled in.

Data Visualization access extended

SAGE Research Methods Data Visualization has been extended to the 31st August. This tool can help you present your data to make an impact when telling your research story. There are also a variety of tools and guidance on selecting charts, creating charts, components and principles of data visualization design. For more information, please check out the Library's information page on the trial.

Publication: Harini Dissanayake

Harini Dissanayake has recently had a publication accepted for Kotuitui: New Zealand Journal of Social Sciences Online. Her paper titled "Family Violence in the News: An Analysis of media reporting of Family Violence in Aotearoa New Zealand", will be published in due course.

Kotuitui is open access on Taylor & Francis online, but you will also be able to access the article through our Library page in due course.

Postgraduate Expo - Thursday 29th July

In the last week of July, VUW had its first Postgraduate Study Expo. Thanks to the help of Daniel Wrench, Phoebe McDougall, Malcolm Jones, Ellen Hammatt, and Shonaugh Wright for popping down. It is really helpful to have some graduates available to share their experiences and passion for our subjects.

Upcoming Events

Research Seminar: Probabilistic Programming with Bogdan State - Monday 16th August 2pm, CO350

Bogdan has been helping us out as a tutor for DATA301 last year and this year. He is a Stanford graduate, worked as a data scientist at Facebook for 7 years, and now runs a Wellington-based data science startup (https://scie.nz/about/).

He will be talking about probabilistic programming

"We propose the use of probabilistic programming techniques to model and tackle the malicious user identification problem in a recommendation algorithm. Probabilistic programming provides numerous advantages over other techniques, including but not limited to providing an interpretable latent representation of how malicious users acted under a structured model, as well as allowing for the quantification of damage caused by malicious users, based on counterfactual simulation. We show experiments in malicious user identification and uncertainty quantification using a model of regular and malicious users interacting with a simple recommendation algorithm, and provide a novel simulation-based measure for quantifying the effects of a user or group of users on its dynamics."

Open Day - Friday 20th August

Open day is our biggest event of the year on campus. Prospective students come from around the country to find out about our qualifications and what we have to offer. The School of Mathematics and Statistics will have a booth throughout the day down with the Faculty of Engineering.

If you would like to volunteer on the booth, please get in touch with Alec Roger and let him know your availability. We will have a bunch of activities and games on the booth. Students may ask some questions but there will be academics there to help out with the qualification related questions.

PGSA Research Excellence Awards

A gentle reminder that applications for this year's Research Excellence Awards are now open!

Postgraduate research students (Masters Research or PhD) may nominate themselves for an award, valued at $1500. The awards recognise research by VUW postgraduates that:
  • Displays academic rigour, excellence, originality, or creativity
  • Advances knowledge in the field or significantly contributes to knowledge
  • Is communicated clearly, in a way that an educated but non-expert audience can understand
  • Has a demonstrated impact within the scholarly, economic, or wider stakeholder communities
There are up to ten awards to be won, with one award offered for each faculty and one (from any faculty) for research that promotes Māori knowledge and development.

The $1500 prize is in recognition of academic excellence, not a grant for further study. As long as you have passed the proposal stage and are currently enrolled at VUW, all postgraduate research students are eligible to apply for an award.

Applicants are required to provide evidence of scholarly research (written or otherwise) in support of their application. Full information on the application and decision-making process can be found on our website.

Prizes will be announced at the Victorias Awards, scheduled to take place on 18 November.

Applications for the Research Excellence Awards close at 11.59 pm, Tuesday, 31 August, so take a look at all the information and apply now.

Upcoming Conferences

New Zealand Mathematics And Statistics Postgraduate Conference 2021: 15th November to 17th November

NZMASP is a conference dedicated to postgraduate students researching Mathematics and Statistics. This year the conference will be hosted at the University of Waikato campus in Tauranga - after last years event being online, this is the first in person postgraduate conference for our field since 2019.

Registration is $80, but includes accommodation and food. You may also submit an abstract to present as part of the conference. Registrations close 8th October.

Please let Caitlin and your supervisor know if you are interested in attending. The School would like to support you, but we need toknow who is interested!

For more information on the conference, please visit the website.

Upcoming Events

Food For Thought: Hunter Common Room, 8:30am Thursday, 26th August

Food for thought is a social breakfast for environmentally minded PhD students and academic staff to discuss their ideas and sustainability projects. please RSVP to Andrea Marsden if you are interested.

Green Impact: Green up your office in a morning: 9am-11:30am, Tuesday 24th August

Green Impact is an annual online challenge that aims to make our lives more sustainable. In this iteration, the challenge aims to make our office spaces more sustainable. In groups of 2 or more, take a morning to work through some online challenges and games to help make your office more sustainable. From 9am-9:45am there will be a toolkit help session. Then the rest of the timeslot will be the Green Impact Games, finishing at 11:30am. Email Andrea Marsden to sign up.


Avoco Teriarty Scholarship

With around 800 grower suppliers, Avoco is New Zealand’s largest and leading avocado export group responsible for more than 60% of the industry’s national crop, exporting this superfood to customers in Australia and countries across the Asian market arena. To learn more about Avoco, visit our website www.avoco.co.nz or check us out on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AvocoNZ.

Our challenge is your opportunity

The ability to reliably and consistently deliver premium quality fruit to consumers is critical to Avoco’s continued success in the international market place. With avocados being a product of nature, there are always challenges in meeting this objective from one season to the next. Research & Development is a key focus area for Avoco so we are keen to see more graduates working in this space. Examples of areas needing to be better understood and/or addressed by the avocado industry include;
  • Alternate or irregular crop bearing
  • Crop estimation techniques
  • Post-harvest quality issues
  • Pest & disease control (consumer & environment friendly options)
  • Shipping technologies to improve fruit out-turn and / or extend shelf life
This scholarship is for $5000 towards tuition fees, summer holiday work in your field and mentoring and support from the Avoco team. If this sounds like something you are interested in, please send your Resume, a summary of tertiary studies and results to date, along with a letter of application by email to Avoco Quality and Export Systems Manager Danni van der Heijden at danni@avoco.co.nz no later than Friday 22 October 2021.

Your application should cover;
  • Comment on how your studies will benefit Avoco and / or the avocado industry
  • Examples of your leadership skills, any community service roles, and / or sporting and cultural activities and achievements
  • A vision of what you ideally see yourself doing career-wise