WIMSIG Conference 2021

Celebration of Women in Australian Mathematical and Statistical Sciences

Friday 1 October

The WIMSIG Conference 2021 (postponed from 2020) will now be taking place at a range of “local hubs” on Friday 1 October this year. There will be events in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Hobart, Adelaide, and Perth. This one-day conference will have a mixture of local (in-person) activities and joint online activities. Local activities may include the opportunity for participants to present their research.


The COVID-19 situation is ever changing. Contingency plans are in place to ensure an interesting event will take place, whether you are able to attend in person or online. Please register your proposed attendance here. You must register to receive links to online conference information.

All welcome!


Plenary Speakers

Hamideh Anjomshoa (The University of Melbourne)
Hamideh Anjomshoa photo

Hamideh Anjomshoa is a senior applied research scientist and technical leader with more than ten years of experience. Currently, she holds a position as an Enterprise Research Fellowship in the School of Mathematics and Statistics at The University of Melbourne and is a Chief Investigator of the new Industrial Training and Transformation Centre, called OPTIMA. Hamideh was also the Science and Technical Leader of several industrial research projects in IBM Research Australia for more than nine years and has experience in the design and implementation of large-scale optimisation and data science solutions across different industries, including mining and healthcare.

Hamideh has completed Bachelor, Masters and PhD degrees in Mathematics. Her research interests broadly concern mathematical modelling, mixed integer programming, operation research, business analytics and optimisation, data analytics, machine learning, artificial intelligence, health analytics and resource allocation/scheduling. She has received several corporate awards and has also published several papers and patents. Before moving to Australia in 2005, she held a position in the IT department of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Tehran (Iran) for four years.

Shelly Harvey (Rice University)
Shelly Harvey

Shelly Harvey is a Professor of Mathematics at Rice University. Her research interests include knot theory, low-dimensional topology, and group theory. She has received several awards for her research, including fellowships from the Simons Foundation, the Sloan Foundation, and a Career award from the National Science Foundation of the United States. She is also a Fellow of the American Mathematical Society. Shelly has been involved in initiatives for women in mathematics in the US for many years, including serving as a faculty sponsor of Rice University’s chapter of the Association for Women in Mathematics for nearly ten years. In 2019, she was a co-organiser of a major Research Symposium for the US Association for Women in Mathematics held at Rice University. She also serves as Faculty sponsor for the Queer Graduate Student Association at Rice.

Kristian Lum (Twitter)
Kristian Lum photo

Kristian Lum is a Senior Staff Machine Learning Researcher at Twitter (since June 2021). Previously, she was the Lead Statistician at the Human Rights Data Analysis Group (HRDAG), where she lead the HRDAG project on criminal justice in the United States. Kristian also worked as a research assistant professor in the Virginia Bioinformatics Institute at Virginia Tech and as a data scientist at DataPad, a small technology start-up.

Kristian’s research primarily focused on examining the uses of machine learning in the criminal justice system and has concretely demonstrated the potential for machine learning-based predictive policing models to reinforce and, in some cases, amplify historical racial biases in law enforcement. She has also applied a diverse set of methodologies to better understand the criminal justice system: causal inference methods to explore the causal impact of setting bail on the likelihood of pleading or being found guilty; and agent-based modeling methods derived from epidemiology to study the disease-like spread of incarceration through a social influence network. Additionally, Kristian’s work has encompassed the development of new statistical methods that explicitly incorporate fairness considerations and advances in HRDAG’s core statistical methodology — record-linkage and capture-recapture methods for estimating the number of undocumented conflict casualties.

She is the primary author of the dga package, open source software for population estimation for the R computing environment.

Kristian received an MS and PhD from the Department of Statistical Science at Duke University and a BA in Mathematics and Statistics from Rice University.

Asha Rao (RMIT University)
Asha Rao photo

Prof Asha Rao is an algebraist by training and applies algebraic techniques to a wide variety of problems, ranging from designing better codes for communication, to detecting money laundering and describing human interactions in the physical space, leading to traditional outputs such as grants and publications. Some non-traditional outputs of her research work include invitations to closed and open meetings on cybersecurity as well as to observe United Nations intergovernmental meetings on cybercrime. As a cybersecurity expert, she appears regularly on audio visual and print media and has won RMIT Media star awards.

Currently the Associate Dean of Mathematical Sciences at RMIT, and a 2019-2020 Australian Superstar of STEM, Asha has undertaken leadership roles both within RMIT and outside. She is passionate about mathematics and gender issues that stymie the progress of women and girls in STEM careers. As the founding chair of WIMSIG, she put in place a number of initiatives to improve gender equity within the mathematical sciences in Australia.


Cecilia Gonzalez Tokman (The University of Queensland)

Cecilia Gonzalez Tokman is an Associate Professor at The University of Queensland. Before moving to Brisbane, she studied and worked in Mexico, USA, Canada and Sydney. She has held research fellowships from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences (PIMS). Cecilia’s research interests include dynamical systems, ergodic theory and related areas. Her recent work focuses on random dynamical systems, transfer operators, Lyapunov exponents and coherent structures.

Sybille McKeown (Australian Bureau of Statistics)

Sybille McKeown is Program Manager of the Location Insights Branch at the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). The Location Insights Branch provides leadership in the use of location data and capabilities to enhance place-based analysis and decision making by Australian governments, businesses and communities. Sybille leads multi-disciplinary teams responsible for nurturing geospatial statistical capabilities, undertaking analysis and developing methods for place-based statistics and leading the ABS contribution to the Australian Climate Service. Sybille has previously held a range of different roles in the ABS, including leading the development of methodological capabilities to exploit new data sources and deliver multi-source data solutions. Sybille holds a Bachelor of Science (Mathematics) from Murdoch University (WA) and a Graduate Certificate in Applied Data Analytics from the Australian National University.

Éva Plagányi (CSIRO)

Dr Éva Plagányi is a senior principal research scientist based at CSIRO Ocean and Atmosphere, Brisbane, Australia. She has a dual biological and mathematical background, and her research largely involves applying quantitative and modelling techniques to help manage marine ecosystems. Her research involves stock assessment modelling, ecosystem modelling, management strategy evaluation (MSE) and climate change impacts and adaptations. She works closely with traditional owners in Torres Strait on the management of the tropical lobster and beche-de-mer fisheries. Prior to relocating to Australia in 2009, she lectured for many years in the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics at the University of Cape Town (South Africa), where she is an Honorary Research Associate.

Leonie Simpson (QUT)

Dr Leonie Simpson is an information security researcher at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in the School of Computer Science, within the Faculty of Science. Leonie has been involved in information security research for over 20 years. Her interest is symmetric cryptology, widely used for data protection. She has extensive experience analysing cryptographic algorithms, finding weaknesses that reduce the security provided. Leonie has applied her knowledge of design flaws in algorithms to help develop more secure ciphers, working in teams with Australian and international researchers. Her current research focuses on efficient encryption methods for use in securing data transmissions between small, low power devices. This is important for securing communications between many small devices in the rapidly growing Internet of Things (IoT). Regular algorithms used in PCs and mobile phones require excessive resources for IoT environments, and new secure algorithms are needed.

Adrianne Jenner (QUT) — Moderator

Dr Adrianne Jenner (she/her) is a researcher and lecturer in the School of Mathematical Sciences at Queensland University of Technology (QUT). After finishing a Bachelor of Mathematics at the University of Wollongong, she went on to receive her PhD in Applied Mathematics from The University of Sydney. After her PhD, she completed a postdoc at the University of Montréal (Canada) focused on using mathematics to understand the treatment of cancer using viruses. Her research broadly focuses on the use of mathematics to help understand cancer treatments and how they can be improved, in particular virotherapy and immunotherapy. More recently, her research has focused on the use of mathematics to understand what happens within the human body after infection with the virus causing COVID-19.

Local Activity Details


Melbourne’s local activity will be a 3-minute thesis (3MT) competition, which will be held online due to COVID restrictions.

Session Schedule

  • 09:00–10:00: 3MT presentations 
  • 10:00–10:20: Science communication tips
  • 10:20: Prize winners announced for the 3MT competition 


  • Winner: $500 research/travel grant
  • Runner-Up: $200 research/travel grant
  • People’s Choice: $200 research/travel grant

Organising Committee

  • Jessica Purcell (Monash) — Chair
  • Joanne Hall (RMIT) — Secretary
  • Sevvandi Kandanaarachchi (RMIT) — Treasurer
  • Amy Glen — Web Editor
  • Jennifer Flegg (Melbourne)
  • Jessica Kasza (Monash)
  • Christina Kazantzidou (QUT)


AustMS Logo
Kaspersky Logo
Monash University Logo

In-Kind Sponsors

The University of Adelaide Logo