Viv Atureta

Country: Nigeria
Sector: Higher Education
Job title: Postgraduate Research Associate/Teaching Assistant
Subject of study: Applied Data Science and Statistics
Year of graduation: 2021
Type/Level of study: Postgraduate Taught

Current Employer/Organisation Name

University of Exeter

Tell us about your background

I’m originally a Physics-/Computer Science graduate with industry experience in financial services and technology where I have acquired a wide range of technical and business skills from roles such as Analyst, developer and programming to technical sales, business development and product management. I have always loved Mathematics and how it comes to live in its applications to Machine Learning and related fields

Why did you choose to go to university in the UK?

In spite of my very successful time in industry, my ultimate goal was to pursue a career in academia. I was seeking to study in an environment which would challenge my learning, deepen my knowledge, and provide me with a platform to have stimulating interactions with academics and students from around the world.  This influenced my decision to study at Exeter which has a remarkable research body in addition to affiliation and partnerships with organizations such as the UK Met Office, Alan Turin Institute and the Institute of Data Science and Artificial Intelligence.

Tell us about your programme and the lecturers you had

I was keen to leverage a program which would enable me combine my love for Statistics and Mathematics with a growing interest in Data Science and Machine Learning all of which can be achieved with the range of modules available in Applied Data Science and Statistics course. ADSS provides sufficient coverage of topics in Classical and Bayesian Statistics.  There is significant use of R packages and Python libraries plus relevant assessments to test comprehension. I found ‘Statistical Modelling in Space and Time’ module particularly useful while formulating my PhD research proposal. I found it easy to approach lecturers and I constantly leveraged the office hours which were set aside for students to clarify topics or seek additional help as needed. My lecturers were positive, encouraging, helpful and always listened.

Tell us about living in Exeter

I find Exeter well suited to my needs and temperament. I enjoy the quiet and peaceful atmosphere of the unbelievably green Streatham campus. I lived on the campus accommodation in my first year at Exeter and found it easy to get to and from the city centre either by walking or cycling. I love to run by the river Exe and have recently found and registered with the Quay indoor climbing centre for even more exercise and thrill.  For a relatively small town, I have been pleasantly surprised by the wide range of global cuisines including local food from Nigeria and other delicacies I fancy especially Chinese, Indian and Thai dishes.

What was one of your favourite things about studying at the University of Exeter?

Learning during the Covid-19 era was difficult and challenging and I felt alone and disconnected. I feel that the support provided by lecturers was crucial to me remaining on the program. A listening ear and good measure of empathy from my lecturers turned a trying period to a success story.

What have you been doing since you graduated?

I am currently on an ESPRC funded PhD program at the University of Exeter. My study is based on Physical-Statistical modelling for precipitation radar nowcasting which aims to tackle the mathematical challenge of making reliable predictions when faced with increasingly larger spatio-temporal datasets. The modules taken on the ADSS course have been relevant and useful in my on-going research.

Tell us how easy it was for you to settle into life in the UK

Being athletic and loving the cold proved to be useful traits for me. Everyone loves the sun here but maybe I have too much sun back home and find the cooler temperature more appealing. Interacting with staff and students alike enabled me learn more about the culture and appreciation for lunch break and tea.

Did you get involved in any extra-curricular activities, such as sports teams and societies?

I arrived in the thick of Covid-19 pandemic and lockdowns. With the easing of restrictions, I have joined some societies within and outside the University including Cool Runnings (from 5km to marathons), BodySoc (Pilates, Yoga, High Intensity Interval Training) and Exeter Students of Colour and South West Road Runners (external). I have served as Student Representative for Mathematics Postgraduates and currently serve as the Equality and Diversity Representative for Postgraduate Researchers. As a student representative, I sit on the Student Staff Liaison Committee where I can present student feedback to the Directors of Education for action.


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