Thomas Li

'Mathematics is a passion of mine, and I think this will be a fun journey...'

  • Thomas li

Bachelor of Science with Honours in Mathematics

PhD student, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia

Born in China, Thomas attended high school in Christchurch and was happy to stay in the city while studying for his degree in Mathematics. ‘There is a great social atmosphere at UC,’ he says. ’I have lots of friends from high school, but I’ve also met tonnes of interesting new people.’ 

Thomas had thrown himself into life as a student at UC, making the most of the student clubs such as MathSoc, for which he organised events for students and staff who were interested in mathematics. He was also a member of the UC debating society, Debsoc and UCanDance.

Thomas worked as a tutor in the Mathematics and Statistics department, another role which allowed him to share his enthusiasm for his subject. ‘The thing I enjoy most about my degree is the challenge and the thrill of problem solving,’ he says. 

‘I would like to have a career where my work is of benefit to the world, and to have a good time doing it. Mathematics is a passion of mine, and I think it will be a fun journey.’

So far that journey has involved a trip to England for a conference on phylogenetics while at UC (a classification system of organisms based on evolutionary history, which was Thomas’ specialist area of applied mathematics), and another three conferences on international computed tomography in Belgium, USA and Canada through Australian National University (ANU). 

Currently working on his PhD focused on computed tomography imaging at ANU, Thomas has since achieved getting his first journal paper published, and is working on a collaboration with his supervisors and company FEI.

‘As the result of getting First Class Honours at UC and finding a suitable supervising group at ANU, I got two ANU PhD Scholarships covering living costs and full fees,’ he says. 

Thomas is full of praise for the School of Mathematics and Statistics at UC, saying it has ‘excellent resources in terms of the lecturers, and a great programme of study.’ 

‘Mathematics coupled with technology could bring so many advancements, and looking back I think an undergraduate degree at UC has taught me so much foundational mathematics and statistics skills in three years. I can see some lecturers did introduce some of the most recent and very useful developments in mathematics, statistics and even computing into the course material, and has been very useful during my PhD research.

‘For the future, I want to continue working on applied maths research related to an imaging processing field. It could be in a start-up, big company, national institute or a university.’

David Fey

David Fey

'UC was offering exactly the types of classes I was looking for...'

Rata Ingram

Rata Ingram

'I enjoyed the STAR courses... try to do some at school and get ahead with your studies.'