CBA’s 2024 John Monash Scholar hopes to improve Australia’s maths literacy

For recently announced Commonwealth Bank 2024 John Monash Scholar Georgina Ryan, improving our country’s mathematical literacy is imperative to fighting Australians’ ability to unite in the face of global issues.

As part of its longstanding relationship with the General Sir John Monash Foundation, spanning almost two decades, Commonwealth Bank has sponsored its scholarship program which enables young Australians who demonstrate outstanding leadership potential to study overseas.

Georgina, an applied mathematician with a background in physics and chemistry, will use her CBA John Monash Scholarship to study a PhD in Mathematics at the University of Oxford. She said the scholarship is vital in achieving her goal of becoming a professor as well as a science communicator.

“I see myself contributing to the future of Australia, largely within those domains of educating new newer generations of people coming into mathematics, helping underrepresented groups feel more represented in mathematics and advocating for their place, through things like government policy, tangible programmes, to involve people, and try to work with the groups that already exist,” she said.

Georgina’s passion is improving levels of maths literacy in Australia because knowledge of math is required not only to solve larger world and economic problems, but for everyday life such as looking after one’s personal finances.

“Just existing in the world requires knowledge of math. So many people say they don’t use math every day, or that they don’t like math and sure, not everyone needs to be mathematician.

“But everyone needs to be able to engage with math and interact with math, because it is the foundation of our society. It models everything and how the world physically works. It governs all of our economic systems, which everyone fundamentally has to interact with.

“If you’re getting information about climate change, Covid data, if you’re getting or electoral processes – that’s all presented to you in terms of statistics and graphs and mathematical concepts you have to engage with,” she said.

At this year’s annual General Sir John Monash Foundation Oration dinner, hosted by CBA last month, Group Executive Institutional Banking and Markets Andrew Hinchliff said the bank is proud of its longstanding relationship with the Foundation.

“The scholarship program has helped foster the talents of incredible young Australians who have the potential to make significant contributions to their chosen fields, and our country more broadly. They will grow their academic and industry networks, and deliver outcomes that will hopefully inspire whole new generations of trailblazers,” Mr Hinchliff said.

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