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Student Profile: Matthew RP Parker
Statistics and Actuarial Sciences doctoral student in the Faculty of Science
I was born and raised in BC, and have lived here all my life. I have a love for science, mathematics, and computing technologies that has only grown over time. I attended the University of Victoria, where I earned a BSc in Physics and Mathematics. I continued at UVic to pursue a MSc degree in Statistics with my supervisor, Dr. Laura Cowen. During my masters program, I researched ecological models for population abundance estimation, and joined the Visual and Automated Disease Analytics graduate training program. Training through this program, as well as my focus on abundance estimation techniques, allowed me to extend my research to include estimates of the total burden of COVID-19 at a regional level. I am now pursuing a PhD at Simon Fraser University, researching ecological models, disease analytics, computational efficiency, and Functional Data Analysis techniques with my two supervisors, Dr. Jiguo Cao and Dr. Lloyd T Elliott.
WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?
SFU was a top choice for me due to the excellent research outputs and international reputation of the Statistics and Actuarial Sciences faculty. I was particularly excited for the opportunity to work with my two supervisors and to learn from their expertise in FDA and computational statistics.
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH OR YOUR PROGRAM TO A FAMILY MEMBER?
My research aims to estimate the total size of a population, when only a small portion of the population has been seen. An example of this would be estimating the total number of active COVID-19 cases in a region over time. It is not possible to know exactly how many people have contracted COVID-19 at one time (because a full census where everyone is tested is infeasible). However, we can use case counts collected by public health agencies to estimate the total number.
WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?
I am very grateful for the research opportunities that have been available through SFU, and for the incredible mentorship I have received from my supervisors.
HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR-FUNDED AWARDS? IF SO, PLEASE TELL US WHICH ONES AND A LITTLE ABOUT HOW THE AWARDS HAVE IMPACTED YOUR STUDIES AND/OR RESEARCH.
I have been awarded a NSERC PGS-D in support of my research. This award has been immeasurably helpful to me. It has freed me to focus on my research without financial strain, and has allowed me to make excellent progress in my field.