Top STEM scholarship recipient and Queen’s student looks to make math more fun

Ten new Queen’s University Students are recipients of Canada’s top STEM scholarship, the Schulich Leader Scholarships.

One of the recipients Vivian Hughes, originally from Calgary, Alberta, is now a first year student in mathematics at Queen's University. Hughes says it feels incredible and unreal to receive this scholarship.

“Throughout my daily life I’m just reminded of it and every single time it’s a new shock that I’m among some of the top STEM minds in the country…Often I feel like an imposter because I feel I don’t deserve it, but I’m constantly brought back down to I did something to deserve this,” says Hughes.

Hughes says the project she is most proud of is creating a math and science peer tutoring club at her high school.

“I wanted students to receive an outlet to learn math and be as excited as I was. I felt if we gave students that outlet to not only tutor others but to be tutored we could extend that love of STEM…Sometimes just receiving knowledge from a teacher isn’t enough…not only did it stretch my entrepreneurial mind, but it made me consistently involved in STEM,” says Hughes.

Schulich Leader Scholarships are worth between $80,000-$100,000 for students pursuing science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM) at one of the program’s 20 Canadian partner universities.

“It allows me especially in summers to focus on internships and develop my skills that way, as well as not needing a part time job during the year and focusing completely on my studies which so far have been pretty rigorous,” says Hughes.

Hughes says she is encouraged to see girls are being more encouraged to pursue STEM and adds in general for everyone not to be afraid of it.

"STEM is not just doing straight math, physics or engineering, it's such a flexible area...You can totally find something that interestes you...Don't think it's some hard and impossible course...It's so easy to find your passion, and love the field of STEM and the field of numbers."

Hughes says originally she hoped to pursue a career in data analysis for major corporations, but now says if she decides to double major in computer science and math, she is thinking of taking an artifical intelligence approach.

Listen to the full CFRC interview with Vivian Hughes below: