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Q&A with Calum Rickard - 20Twenties 2021 recipient

Monday 24 January 2022 12:29pm

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Calum Rickard

Calum Rickard, BSc (Hons): For contribution to the mathematics, triathlon and student communities.

Calum won a Fulbright New Zealand Science and Innovation Graduate Award in 2015 and completed a PhD at the University of Southern California (USC) in 2021. While at USC, he published three papers in his research area of partial differential equations. In addition, he was awarded a USC Graduate Research Award in 2021 and a USC Graduate Teaching Award in 2020.

Involved in many community service and leadership roles, Calum was President of the Mathematics Graduate Student Association at USC from 2016 to 2018. He was a Founding Member and Vice President of the Association of International Graduate Students at USC, and was USC Triathlon President 2018-2019, in addition to being a Triathlon Nationals Team Member and Executive Board Member from 2016-2020. Calum has also been a USC Teaching Assistant Mentor and has served on panels for a USC Mathematics Graduate student Open House and as a graduate member of the USC Undergraduate Math Club.

What was your reaction to receiving the award, and what does it mean to you?

I was honoured to be selected as an award recipient. As an alumnus who has been living overseas for a while, and having been graduated from Otago for even longer, it has been an excellent means by which to stay connected to New Zealand and the University.

What have you done since graduation and what are you doing now?

Since graduating, I completed my PhD in Applied Mathematics at the University of Southern California and I have now started my postdoctoral career at the University of California, Davis where I am an Arthur J. Krener Assistant Professor of Mathematics.

What inspires and motivates you to work in the areas you are involved with?

I am highly motivated in my research to apply the framework of mathematical analysis to address important questions concerning partial differential equations arising from engineering and fluid mechanics. Beyond my research, helping my students achieve their goals through my teaching drives me to be the best possible educator I can be.

What were the highlights of your time at Otago, and has it helped you in your career and following your interests?

The Department of Mathematics and Statistics at Otago gave me a very solid foundation in mathematics, which helped me succeed in graduate school. My mentors in the department were highly instrumental in motivating me to follow my passion for mathematics through an academic career.