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Lucy Campbell

“Mathematics, to me is… the most logical language and the most fundamental science. It is the foundation that underlies our understanding of the world.”
Lucy Campbell's Biography

Lucy Campbell is an Associate Professor at Carleton University in Ottawa. She was born in Barbados and lived in Jamaica, Ghana and the UK before moving to Canada. She obtained her PhD in Applied Mathematics at McGill University and did postdoctoral work in Atmospheric Physics at the University of Toronto. Her research involves applications of differential equations and numerical analysis with a particular focus on mathematical modelling in geophysical fluid dynamics. The aim is to improve our understanding of the mechanisms by which the earth’s atmosphere and ocean evolve with time; this is relevant to climate modelling and weather prediction. Campbell is active in the applied mathematics community in Canada; she is currently the treasurer of the Canadian Applied and Industrial Mathematics Society and has served on the board of directors of the society in recent years.

Two skills: Public speaking in settings other than teaching (for example, at conferences). Writing mathematical and scientific documents in a clear and logical manner.

My favourite aspect of my job is the flexibility of my schedule. Teaching times are fixed and there are generally constraints on schedules for meetings and seminars, but everything else can be done at any time, as long as it gets done.

I enjoy cycling, hiking, travelling, painting and drawing. Nowadays most of my time when I’m not working is spent doing activities with my son. I also spend quite a bit of time cooking and baking, motivated by the fact that my son enjoys eating good food and is always excited to try new things that I prepare.

I credit my mother, a former teacher, for encouraging us (my siblings and me) to pursue our interests from the time we were very young. My PhD supervisor was helpful with the process of submitting and publishing my first few papers and my postdoc supervisor gave me guidance on preparing my first NSERC grant proposal; these are both important components of the process of starting one’s career.

Yes, I always knew I would be a math professor or teacher when I “grew up”. My father was a math professor and my mother was a teacher and came from a family of teachers, so teaching was the obvious career option and really the only one I have ever considered. And math seemed like the obvious subject to teach once I realized at the age of about 4 or 5 that it was my best subject at school.

Plan ahead and work toward your goal. Take a variety of different courses to decide where your interests lie. Work hard at your courses; good grades open up more possibilities, especially at the undergraduate level. Take advantage of opportunities like co-ops and internships and summer research programs which can give you work or research experience. Try to get some teaching experience while you’re a student, as a teaching assistant and then, if you have the chance, as an autonomous lecturer. Attend conferences and workshops and give presentations, whenever you have the opportunity, to broaden your horizons beyond your own research project.

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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