"I fell in love with magic squares during my Maths degree here at USW and was fortunate enough to be able to move straight onto a PhD. I hope my research can further mathematical understanding and set up a framework for others to explore this topic in the area known as recreational mathematics. Ideally I would like to be able to continue my research on magic squares and publish papers once I have completed my thesis, even if it is just as a hobby.
"As a PhD student I have had the opportunity to undertake various levels of hourly paid lecturing. I began by supporting Maths staff in tutorials which helped to boost my confidence and ability to help students taking Maths modules on various degrees. Being able to explain things in more than one way to help different students, is an important skill as a lecturer and also in many other fields of work.
"I was then trusted to write (with support) the notes and to deliver the lectures for specific topics on the Maths foundation degree, including the writing of assessments. This gave me invaluable experience in writing notes and assessments that were not only at the right level but which also spanned the correct time allocated for the lectures.
"Finally, I had the opportunity to deliver an entire module to a cohort of students at foundation level. This not only gave me experience in managing my time effectively in order to achieve this alongside completing my PhD, but also greatly improved my confidence in speaking to groups through delivering classes.
"These opportunities have helped me to improve my presentation skills, in writing and delivering material, as well as developing skills in pitching work at the appropriate level. Being able to undertake all of this as well as marking, script checking and note writing for lecturers has not just earned me a bit of money, but has also given me so many experiences that have helped me develop both personally and professionally.
"Although doing extra work alongside a postgraduate research degree can seem daunting and be physically and mentally tiring, it is incredibly rewarding and provides you with so many extra skills going forward."