Name: Vanessa Styles
Job Title: Applied Maths Lecturer
Organisation: The University of Sussex
Number of years in current position: 2
Qualifications: BSc in Mathematics (first class, Sussex), D. Phil. In Applied Mathematics (Sussex).
My time as a mathematics lecturer is divided between teaching and research. Part of my time involves direct interaction with students; this can take the form of giving lectures or tutorials, or it can involve talking to students on a one to one basis. I also spend time writing exam papers or updating existing lecture notes and problem sheets. The remainder of my time is spent doing research, which involves writing papers for publication in journals, writing presentations to give at conferences and writing proposals for grants.
I very much enjoy the teaching aspects of my job as it is very satisfying to impart your knowledge to the students, especially when you see somebody understand something they have originally had difficulties with. I also find the research very interesting and rewarding although at times it can be frustrating.
I have always enjoyed studying mathematics and have found that the more I learn the more interesting it becomes. After completing my D. Phil. I wanted to continue doing research, so I took post doctorial research positions at Oxford Brookes University and the University of Sussex. Then I spent some time doing research at the University of Regensburg in Germany before returning to Sussex to take up a position as a lecturer.
I consider good communication/teaching skills and a high dedication to mathematics to be main requirements for my job. I would advice anybody considering my career path to think very carefully when they choose their PhD topic and supervisor as they play a large part in determining the direction that your research takes.