Home » A Statistician's Life, Additional Features, Celebrating Women in Statistics

Charmaine B. Dean

1 March 2024 249 views No Comment

Affiliation: Vice President, Research and International, University of Waterloo

Educational Background: BSc, Mathematics, University of Saskatchewan; MMath and PhD, University of Waterloo

Becoming a mathematician and academic leader stems from Charmaine Dean’s lifelong pursuit of knowledge and education. As she grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, her mother stressed the importance of education, even though she was prevented from getting one herself. Her experience and the values she instilled in her daughter influenced Dean’s passion for learning and education.

Mathematics is a subject that came naturally to Dean, and she fell in love with statistics near the end of her undergraduate program. When she had the opportunity to engage with individuals in industry and hospitals, she saw how the applied aspect of the discipline found synergy with her broad interests in science and her passion for making an impact in applied areas.

Currently, Dean provides strategic leadership in research and innovation, commercialization, and internationalization at the University of Waterloo. She is also responsible for building strategic alliances and partnerships with other academic institutions, governments, businesses, and industries at the regional, national, federal, and international levels. Prior to joining the University of Waterloo, she served as the dean of science at Western University from 2011 to 2017. Dean was also the founding chair of the department of statistics and actuarial science and played a major role in establishing the faculty of health sciences at Simon Fraser University.

Dean considers her engagement in interdisciplinary research one of her greatest achievements. Her research in fire science has allowed her to collaborate with scientists, government agencies, and fire crews directly to understand the issues at hand and keep everyone in good communication. She thinks creating an interdisciplinary learning environment allows for better and more impactful solutions and supports greater understanding of the work being done.

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