Monthly Archives: August 2011

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (more often recognized as NSERC) aims to encourage and invest in Canadian researchers, institutions and industries involved in science and engineering. NSERC offers prestigious research scholarships to academically outstanding undergraduate students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  For more details on NSERC awards, click here.


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Emerging Realities Conference


The Emerging Realities Conference will focus on research in the social sciences and in particular:

  1. social inequality, work, health and technology
  2. interpretative sociology and theory
  3. crime and deviance
  4. legal studies.

The conference will be held at the University of Waterloo from October 14 to 15, 2011.  It will begin on the evening of October 14 with a keynote presentation followed by a wine and cheese where attendees and presenters can connect and mingle.   The next day will have concurrent sessions from 9 AM to 3PM with a complimentary lunch provided. There is no cost for attending but transportation, accommodations and parking with not be provided. Registration is required for all presenters and/or attendees.

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Connect Canada

Connect Canada offers industrial internships to graduate students and postdoctoral fellows.  Placements will be research related and students will continue to work under the guidance of their academic supervisor.  All areas of research are eligible and placements range from 4-to-6 months. For more details, read their complete 2011 program guide here.

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Ryan Trelford (PhD Student at University of Calgary)

Ryan Trelford began his post–secondary education at Red Deer College and it was there that a mathematics instructor encouraged him to pursue a mathematics degree. He completed both a bachelor of science degree with specialization in mathematics and a master of science degree in pure mathematics at the University of Alberta. Currently, he is a PhD student at the University of Calgary studying computational and discrete geometry.

Due to the recession, Ryan chose to enter a master’s program after graduating from his bachelor’s degree. His master’s did not progress as smoothly as most and he eventually switched supervisors and required an additional year to complete his degree. Because of these setbacks, Ryan took some time off after finishing his master’s degree. During this break, he missed teaching and realized he wanted a teaching career at a post-secondary institution; however, this often requires more than just a master’s degree.

From his master’s studies, Ryan knew his research interests precisely and who to work with for his PhD. There were four universities under consideration: University of Western Ontario and University of Calgary as well as the American universities, Case Western Reserve and Northeastern University. He was in personal contact with potential supervisors at both American universities and settled on Case Western Reserve, but was awarded an entrance scholarship to Calgary. Coupled with the economic downturn in the U.S., the University of Calgary was ultimately chosen.

Now two full years into his PhD program, Ryan has no regrets and is very happy to be pursing a degree there. He felt that his graduate experience at the University of Alberta was too independent because of the university’s large graduate program. Calgary has a smaller math community and more encouragement for attending seminars and conferences as well as applying for awards and scholarships.

Though he finds research rewarding, Ryan’s passion is teaching. Once his PhD studies are complete, he hopes to teach full-time and not necessarily in mathematics. He simply loves teaching and, for example, would gladly accept an opportunity to travel overseas to teach English.

Lastly, Ryan’s words of wisdom for current and new graduate students is to keep an open mind and realize that “graduate school is not an extension of undergrad. Do not expect weekly assurances that you’re doing a good job.” Graduate students should also be aware that in research, “you can stare at a problem for months and get nowhere with it” but do not be discouraged because in most cases, no one knows the answer.

A big thank you to Ryan for taking the time for this interview and also read about his teaching philosophies and experiences on NerdyMathJitsu.

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