Meet an eMentor: Scott Gigante

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  • July 27, 2017

What are you studying, and what do you like about it? I study Pure Mathematics at The University of Melbourne. Mathematics drew my attention in my first year of university as an area which emphasised creative approaches to problem solving and rigorous explanations for phenomena which I found lacking in other subjects I was studying. To me, mathematics is about “learning how to learn”, and I have seen the capabilities that I have developed in my degree prove useful time and time again outside of my studies.

Why did you become an In2science mentor? I became an In2science mentor because I have seen too many students in early to mid-high school lose enthusiasm for mathematics. Whether it be due to students falling behind in class, a lack of engaging content, or mathematics not being ‘cool’, the presence of a young engaged mentor who advocates for STEM could make the difference for young students with scientific potential.

Tell us about your In2science placement. I mentor four students from Ararat College. We meet online for thirty minutes each week, where we talk about university life, my research experience, exciting scientific discoveries, how to get a part-time job and more. The students are engaged and always excited to learn something new.

What’s the best thing about In2science? In2science gives me a unique opportunity to share my passion for science. In my day-to-day life, I mostly associate with people who work or study in STEM. By engaging with students who come from rural Victoria and who have not yet chosen their career paths, I can share my enthusiasm with those who will benefit from it most.

What’s one of the biggest challenges about In2science? It’s just too hard to keep the sessions within thirty minutes – there’s always more to say, I don’t think we’ve finished on time even once!

What inspired you to study what you are studying? I was inspired by my mathematics lecturer in the first year of my Bachelor of Science at the University of Melbourne. His approach to problem solving and learning was unique, dedicated and awe-inspiring, and led me to develop my own problem solving capabilities in similar ways.

What advice would you give to your fifteen year old self? Keep your options open, and take every opportunity. Join the school band, the cricket team, the debating club and the school play. When planning for Year 12 / university / your career, make the decision that allows you to make the decision later. Get involved. There’s always more time in the day!

What do you want to do after you finish university and why? I hope to work in computational biology research, using my mathematical and computational skills to solve problems in biomedicine. I love the challenge and the rigour of the mathematics, the power of computer science, and the real-world application of solving medical problems, and research in this field allows me to combine all three!

If you could have an hour to chat with any scientist, mathematician or engineer, who would it be and why? I would like to speak with Évariste Galois – a young mathematician who died tragically at the age of 20, he contributed more to his field than most scientists would in a lifetime. It would be incredible to see into the brilliant mind of this young genius, whose ideas could have revolutionised the way we think about mathematics.

What advice would you give other students looking to get involved in the In2science program? In2science is a rewarding and unique experience, and I strongly encourage any science enthusiast to get involved. eMentoring has been particularly rewarding – I have the opportunity to build strong relationships with a number of talented young people from rural Victoria, and I strongly believe that the In2science program will change the lives of many of the participating students.

Want to become an In2science mentor? Click here!