Karen Petrie“Most girl’s parents embarrass them by showing new boyfriends their baby pictures, perhaps even ones where they are naked in the bath. She can only wish that was her parent’s embarrassment method of choice. Instead when she introduced boyfriends to her parents they pulled out her school report card from when I was 10. It states that “Karen has no understanding of mathematical concepts what so ever”. Given she now holds a PhD in Artificial Intelligence (AI) this is rather shocking.

So what changed? Well she still struggles to do arithmetic quickly (7×8 is a particular struggle), but she really enjoys the logic of more advanced mathematics and computing. Numbers make little sense to her, but substitute them with letters and it is all just logic. She saw Pythagoras’s theorem aged 12 and was amazed by how elegant it was, this was her turning point. Then she took up programming (on a Commodore 64) and has never looked back.

Now as the Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching at the University of Dundee, her passion is sharing this love of mathematics and computing with her students. She is also a lover of organisation, which is the most important skill in her current role.”

Congratulations to you, Karen!