I was born and raised in New Zealand, in a thriving metropolis of 2000 people (which, incidentally, was a Lord of the Rings filming location).
When I was at high school I decided I wanted to be a Marine Biologist. A teacher at the time told me I should do a double major with Statistics, since a Marine Biology degree on its own wouldn’t be very valuable. I was pretty against this; Math wasn’t my strong subject and I was loathe to sign up for three years of college level maths. However, common sense won, and I enrolled in a Marine Biology/Statistics course at Victoria University of Wellington.
At University I discovered a real passion for Stats. While I wasn’t a great mathematician, I discovered I was good at Applied Statistics. Analysing and transforming data, figuring out the best model to fit, and communicating the outcome - I loved it! In my 2nd year I was exposed to R for the first time, and discovered a real passion for statistical programming.
After my BSc, I enrolled in a MSc in Marine Biology. I studied the life history, migration patterns, and developmental histories of a New Zealand fish species. I got to do a lot of fishing on sunny riverbanks, and then paid for it later by spending months cooped up in a windowless lab extracting the earbones out of baby fish.
After University I joined NZ’s Ministry for Primary Industries (MPI) in the Fisheries Science Team. I helped write and format the Fisheries Plenary; a comprehensive biannual report on the current state and health of all New Zealand Fisheries. I worked under Alistair Dunn and he helped me to expand my technical skills by giving me interesting, challenging projects.
Eventually I wanted more of a technical challenge, and joined the Agricultural Data Team within MPI. I worked on automating some of the manual processes there, contributed to the quarterly report on the current state of Agricultural based Primary Industries, and built a Shiny app to analyse NZ irrigation data (which unfortunately was never released).
After being at MPI for a little over 18 months, I decided I was ready for a change. I then joined my current company, where I do a mix of data engineering/modelling and client facing work.