Joel Taifalos always knew he wanted to study something that involved maths.
“I’ve always been good at maths. I’ve always liked knowing answers, I like being exactly right. I think that’s why I’ve always gravitated towards maths: I’ve always been good at numbers and they always interested me.”
He initially started studying a Bachelor of Engineering but found after first year that it wasn’t for him and transferred to a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics
“I asked someone if I could just study maths because I didn’t know if that was possible and I was told I could study it as a part of a science degree so I changed to a Bachelor of Science. I found it easy to change from engineering to science, and received credit for a few subjects I had already studied.”
This ease of transferring from one course to the other has allowed Joel to settle into his scientific niche, developing his maths skills in areas including differentiation, integration, and modelling. When he does come across concepts and ideas he needs help with, Joel has found the teaching staff to be friendly and approachable.
“All the maths lecturers are great. I can email my lecturers at any time with a picture of a problem and they get back to me and tell me where I’ve gone wrong. We can meet with them any time, it’s really good.”
When he finishes his degree, his hope is to become an actuary or a lecturer
“An actuary is about risk analysis and risk assessment for insurance companies and banks. It involves a lot of modelling incorporating risk and incorporating variables, trying to find the optimal price or what you’re looking for. They’re becoming more in demand, not only in insurance, and they’re starting to open up actuary jobs in areas such as healthcare.”
A Townsville local, Joel decided to study at JCU so he could be near his friends and loves the lifestyle the University offers.
“Everyone who has come to JCU has said how much they love the uni lifestyle here. I think the lifestyle in Townsville is different to everywhere else because it’s a smaller town with a big university so there’s a lot of people around all the time. You see a lot of people you know.
Joel says that for people who are interested in maths it’s a great area to study because it opens up a range of opportunities.
“If you enjoy maths and want to learn more about that brand of science, it’s a good path to continue down because you can always branch off into other things, like engineering, so it’s a good place to start. The job growth for maths is expanding and they’re looking for people who are really good at maths in all kinds of different jobs.”