Speaker Spotlight: Data Science To Help Widen University Access With Meirin Oan Evans

In our new blog series, we shine a light on recent speakers from our variety of community-led events, learning a little more about them and what inspires them.

Meirin Oan Evans is a Particle Physics PhD student at the University of Sussex, currently on an industrial placement with The Brilliant Club, and also working on the ATLAS Experiment at the Large Hadron Collider at CERN (the European Organization for Nuclear Research).

At February’s Sussex Data Science meetup, Meirin shared his findings from his evaluations of The Brilliant Club, a programme which works with schools and universities across the UK. His analysis compared pre-pandemic data with that from the pandemic to provide insights on how to best to support less advantaged students to access the most competitive universities and succeed when they get there.

Meirin Oan Evans

Hey Meirin, can you tell us a bit about yourself and the work you do?

I like science, sport, the science of sport, speaking Welsh, speaking about science and speaking about science in Welsh. I’m nearing the end of my particle physics x data science x education PhD.

Working at CERN sounds fascinating! Can you tell us what that’s like, and the work you’re involved with?

CERN is a really cool place to work. I think the best part is the internationality. Soooo many people from soooo many different countries. I’m part of a team using machine learning to make measurements of a rare process involving the heaviest particle we know of, the top quark. I also prepare CERN data for use in education.

And you’re involved with the Brilliant Club too – how did that come about?

The Brilliant Club are always looking for passionate researchers to share their passion with disadvantaged school students. When I saw this opportunity I jumped at it.

Can you tell us about a moment about that helped define your career?

After not getting into the university I initially thought I wanted, I followed a path that led me to a masters linked with CERN then eventually to this PhD. I wouldn’t be doing the same PhD if that hadn’t been the case. What you think might be a setback, doesn’t necessarily turn out to be!

What piece of advice would you give your younger self?

To chill more. Spend more social time with my peers at university and work. They can become great friends.

What was the inspiration for your recent talk?

The data science project I did with The Brilliant Club was super interesting. The charity’s mission really motivated me to share the findings with others.

What’s your big tech prediction for 2022?

More use of data science in education, whilst avoiding further disadvantaging learners that are already disadvantaged.

And finally, Silicon Brighton wouldn’t be here without people like you giving back to the community so… what does the word community mean to you?

Working together, no matter our differences.

You can catch Meirin’s talk will on our YouTube channel, in case you missed it or would like to watch it again!

Working hand-in-hand with Brighton’s tech community, we run a range of free meetup groups that cover a broad spectrum of specialist areas; from marketing to programming, product design to data. Check out what’s coming up here and join our community of like-minded individuals in the local tech scene.