Name: Liberty Heath
Job Title: Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion Coordinator
Organisation: University of Warwick
Number of years in current position: 8 months
Qualifications: BSc (Hons) Mathematics with year abroad from the University of Hertfordshire
Briefly describe the organisation you work for. Higher Education Institution
Explain what you do on an average day at work.
At the moment I am helping to create all the data tables and graphs for an Athena Swan submission. This involves looking at lots of spreadsheets, matching data up, summarizing, and providing some analysis. I’m only 8 months into this role so a lot of the time I am asking questions on what things mean – never be afraid to ask questions, but make sure you can’t answer them yourself first by looking a bit harder!
What do you like most about your job?
It’s motivating that I work with real, live data, and that I can use this data to create statistics about the staff who work at the University of Warwick that we might not having known about before! How many disabled staff do we have? Are we providing enough support for them? Do we have a fair representation of women in senior roles? What can we do to change that? They are all great questions that take a long time to fix, and when you can see that change in the data over time it is really rewarding.
What stimulated your interest in maths, and when?
I think playing logic puzzle games at a young age really started off my interest in maths, followed by a number of great maths teachers all the way from primary up to sixth form and then again at University. I feel very lucky to have met so many talented teachers who passed their passion on to me.
What influenced your career choice?
I wanted to combine my passion for equal opportunities with something I could do to make an actual difference in this area.
My degree included a year abroad in Japan, and living there for a year really opened by eyes to how wonderfully diverse every person is and how we don’t all have to agree with each other to get along. This particular role was a new post aimed to fill a particular knowledge gap in the existing Equality, Diversity, and Inclusion team: data! It matched my personal interests to my maths background which suited me just fine.
Which skills do you consider to be essential for your job?
To be a good listener is always a very valuable skill. In terms of mathematics – be able to explain what graphs mean in really simple terms and being able to break a task/project down into manageable steps. Remember those proofs you’ve always hated?! They are actually great practice for documenting and explaining what you are doing, why you are doing it, and what you aim to achieve.
Any advice you may have for other individuals considering your career path.
I spent a lot of time looking at jobs for maths graduates and struggled because the demand is high and there’s no getting around that. I would recommend thinking more about what kind of company you want to work for and what you can see yourself walking in and doing/talking about/making decisions for etc. on a daily basis. There is no doubt that whatever career you pick you will find a way to use your maths skills in some way or another, and share that joy of numbers with the rest of your colleagues!
Also look for events where you can meet real people and get contacts in companies you are interested in. Graduate fairs are great but you will be only one of many graduates there – look for something sector specific e.g. I attended the Women in Games conference. Apart from gaining insight to the industry, I was the only maths graduate there and I spent the whole time chatting and selling myself to potential employers and got some LinkedIn connections out of it as well as a heads up when jobs would be opening up in those companies.
Your future career plans.
I aim to teach myself how to use some database software such as SQL to widen my analytical skills. I have not given up on the dream of working in the gaming industry!