I have been studying and have interest in mathematics since the age of seven years old. I continuously achieved many maths awards in my country, which made me even more passionate about the subject. I used to apply a Bachelor’s degree in nursing but left it out because I really wanted to go into maths-intensive. Thus, this leads me to enrol and complete a Bachelor of Science degree majoring Applied Mathematics at Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia. This is really the time that I spend 100% enjoying and loving my passion. I am currently completing my final year of a three-years degree.

I want to do something meaningful in the summer of this final year, so I applied to this AMSI Vacation Research Scholarship following the introduction of Associate Professor Tonghua Zhang. My current project is about applying mathematics to prevent harmful algal blooms that is one of worst problem in the world. This is a great opportunity for me to be able to apply formulas and analytical techniques in real life instead of just studying in the classroom like before. It also allows me to explore my interest in biotechnology, about plankton community that are a key part of the marine ecosystem.

During the project, I encountered a lot of difficulties because this was the first time I made a mathematical application. I struggled with how to formulate two models mathematically. However, thanks to my supervisor A/Prof Tonghua Zhang’s help, I have completed this report. His direction has been thorough but not restrictive – allowing me the opportunity to explore this topic independently at times, but not leaving me without guidance. Besides, this project also helps me learn how to conduct analysis and write a research study articulately and develop my technical language proficiency.

Mathematics is both basic and extensive at the same time, and I hence feel wise to study as much as possible. For this reason, after completing a bachelor’s degree course, I will intend to enrol in a master’s degree in mathematics in future. And I passionately believe that my experiences this summer will be a great basis for my future.

Ngoc Phuong Van Nguyen
Swinburne University of Technology

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