Since she was a child, Melissa Lee has been fascinated with various aspects of science and technology, but it was always mathematics that she enjoyed the most.
“At the end of Year 11, I was fortunate to be selected to attend the annual National Mathematics Summer School. This was a really pivotal moment in my life because it showed me mathematics was not just something you needed to have to do other things,” she says.
Melissa has completed a Master of Philosophy in the Centre for the Mathematics of Symmetry and Computation at UWA. The standard of research and rich culture at the centre was a strong influence in Melissa’s career choice and development as an aspiring mathematician.
“From the moment I took a unit in second year introducing me to pure mathematics [typically, abstract concepts], I knew it was the area for me. I deferred my engineering degree to do honours in it and haven’t looked back,”
- Melissa Lee
Melissa’s hard work and aptitude has already been rewarded. She was selected for the third prestigious Heidelberg Laureate Forum in 2015, attending the conference as one of five Australian delegates.
“It was a fantastic opportunity to engage with, learn from and be inspired by mathematicians and computer scientists who have achieved remarkable things and reached the top of their respective fields,” Melissa says.
Melissa sits on the Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics’ Equity and Diversity Committee. She is also a member of the School of Mathematics and Statistics’ Outreach Committee, Immediate Past President of the UWA Mathematics Union and volunteers on a range of Australia-wide camps for talented and/or disadvantaged students.
For those still pursuing their goals, Melissa says it’s about changing your perception.
“Realise that your dreams and aspirations are, in fact, not impossible at all. A lot of people give up on their goals because they don’t think they are good enough or they don’t have what it takes. But with enough hard work, persistence and resilience, you will succeed, even if life leads you down a different path to what you anticipated,” she says.
“Realise that your dreams and aspirations are, in fact, not impossible at all.”
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