“Statistics underpin the fourth industrial revolution and it’s exciting to see how it unfolds and evolves through my students,” says Jacques van Appel, lecturer and head of the statistics department at the University of Johannesburg.
The Brakpan native considers his appointment as department head the proudest moment of his career, matched only by the receipt of his PhD degree from the same institution. Van Appel is the youngest department head in the science faculty. He manages the department’s day-to-day affairs and various teaching responsibilities, while still finding time to pursue other research interests in the fields of computational statistics, mathematical finance and probability theory.
Van Appel and his team are striving to introduce their new actuarial sciences programme, which recently received accreditation from the Actuarial Society of South Africa. It’s aimed at assisting students from previously disadvantaged backgrounds to overcome industry barriers and to expedite their journey towards becoming actuarial professionals.
Don’t try to do everything on your own and don’t be ashamed to ask for help.