Ciara Bergin

Data Analyst
B.Sc. Theoretical Physics and Mathematics
M.Sc. Mathematics (Title: Simply-connected spin Brieskorn 5-manifolds)

Current Status

Data Analyst - Jules-Gonin Eye Hospital Lausanne Switzerland​

Why did you study Mathematics at University?

Mathematics was always my strongest subject, simply said everything always just made sense. I debated studying computer science but realised after only one lecture that it just wasn't for me. Entering the mathematics lecture was a different story, for the first time in my life I felt that I was being pushed in my abilities, what had always been very simple, now was challenging, in an exciting way.

Describe what you do now and how mathematics is useful to you.

I have been working as the clinical statistician at the Jules-Gonin eye hospital, in the department of ophthalmology in the school of medicine and biology at the University of Lausanne Switzerland. I have worked in this role since 2010, my work includes the planning, organising, analysing and publishing of clinical studies in the field of ophthalmology. I also teach the trainee ophthalmologists how to read and understand the statistics in scientific articles and discuss with them the probable clinical implications. Recurrent themes are "absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence" and "the difference between a statistically significant difference and a clinically significant difference". As part of my job, I present my work around the world, in 2016 this included presentations in Seattle, Copenhagen and Belgrade.

I am studying still; I have learnt about precision laser devices for laser surgery; adaptive optics to allow the imaging to living cells in the light sensitive tissues of the eye, and mechanical and chemical processes that underlie pathology. Mathematics remains at the core of everything that I do. The logic and reasoning fundamental in mathematics are basic skills necessary for every profession, after studying mathematics you will think differently than others. Being able to abstract problems will allow you break them into manageable logical steps and implement solutions. In my professional career I have often heard others say "that's impossible", but a training in mathematics has made the impossible, possible for me.

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking of doing a degree in Mathematics?

Pick Mathematics, it is the most useful, translatable, interesting and worthwhile subject to study. It will allow you to work anywhere; it is considered one of the most desirable subject to have from an employer’s point of view. However you need to have direction and drive, because there is no clearly defined profession.

Would you recommend that people study Maths in Maynooth?

Definitely, Maynooth is a beautiful campus to spend your undergraduate years. The mathematics department is a welcoming supportive environment to study, with many dynamic and helpful lecturers, an excellent team of tutors and focused, efficient administrative staff. I found the courses offered very interesting, varied and challenging, which kept me stimulated for the duration of my stay in Maynooth.

Updated: June 2016