Marie Forest, Senior Lecturer,
For Marie Forest, Senior Lecturer, Statistics Pave the Way!Thursday, March 5, 2020
If some undergraduate students are of the opinion that probabilities, confidence intervals and linear regressions have a relatively limited impact at the professional level, it is only because they haven’t yet taken Marie Forest’s Introduction to Statistics course!
In fact, Marie Forest, who has been a Senior Lecturer at ÉTS since June 2019, is living proof that the field of statistics can lead to a world of opportunities and possibilities.
The subject of her Doctoral dissertation – Genetics! – is all the evidence you need. Starting with the DNA of living people, Marie Forest was able to examine man’s distant past by assessing the changes in height of African and European populations over more than 100,000 years.
According to her: “The DNA that each person carries today is the result of a multitude of mutations and genetic recombinations, and thanks to statistical modelling, we can look far into the past to estimate where these mutations emerged. Based on genealogical probabilities, I can estimate the time of the migrations of certain populations to the European and Asian continents.”
Experimenting to find her path
Marie Forest holds a PhD in Statistics from Oxford University in the UK, but she admits that she never dreamed of a career in statistics or university research when she was young!
However, before even deciding to go to university, she was given the right – and the freedom! – to undergo a variety of life experiences.
She explains: “At Cégep, I tried out four different programs before moving to Ottawa, where I earned a diploma in Photography. When I came back to Montréal, I remembered that I enjoyed the statistics course I took at Cégep.”
She then enrolled in an undergraduate program in Mathematics and Statistics at Université du Québec à Montréal, and she found her path! Right from the first year, she did a research internship at Cinbiose, at UQAM, under the direction of Fabrice Larribe, after which she received a number of grants that took her to her graduate studies.
Marie Forest’s skills have not gone unnoticed – she has received two grants (NSERC and Clarendon) that have allowed her to pursue her Doctoral studies.
An athlete at heart, and a nature lover, she took the time to travel to South America for three months to tour the Andes by bike before beginning her PhD studies. “It was one of the best trips of my life”, she boasts.
When she arrived at Oxford, she joined the women’s rowing team and took part in the Christ Church regatta and the Summer Eights, one of Oxford’s famous bump races.