The Mathematics Department at SFU is putting a lot of effort into building a community within their department and engaging its students beyond the tasks of being a researcher.

Alexandra Wesolek receives 2020 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship

Alexandra Wesolek is awarded a 2020 Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship to pursue research in the Faculty of Science. On behalf of SFU, we congratulate Alexandra as well as all Vanier Canada Graduate Scholars on their outstanding achievements.

July 10, 2020
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Mathematics PhD student in the Faculty of Science

A huge part of my life is being fascinated by mathematics and the achievements of fellow mathematicians. But I value balance and hence love to be socially and politically involved in my every day life. This might be also culturally affected, as I grew up in Berlin, Germany, where personal development and activities after work are seen to be necessary to make smart decisions at work.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE SFU?

For personal reasons and because SFU was highly recommended to me for its research in Graph Theory -  the research I wanted to pursue.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR RESEARCH?

I study properties of networks. For example, what is the best way of fitting electric cords into a mobile phone? If many cords cross (i.e. overlap) they take up more space and it is harder to fit them. Hence it is of interest to connect parts of the phone in such a way that the fewest cords cross each other. I am studying the minimum number of such crossings.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AT SFU?

There are some very smart and kind people at SFU. For example, our mathematics graduate secretary, Christie Carlson, cares a lot about our well-being. We have also some great faculty who help us fight for affordability and some great supervisors who make us appreciate our research. And my fellow students are amazing – I always have a lot of fun in the office and am often surprised by their great achievements.

HAVE YOU BEEN THE RECIPIENT OF ANY MAJOR OR DONOR FUNDED AWARDS?

I recently received the Vanier Canada Graduate Scholarship. It was like a dream come true as I am now able to concentrate on my research. Moreover, I can involve myself more in student associations and make sure I live a healthy life, which is often difficult when balancing teaching, researching, and taking classes at the same time.

DESCRIBE YOUR PROGRAM FOR SOMEONE THOSE STILL SEARCHING FOR A GRADUATE PROGRAM.

SFU’s strategy is to be an “engaged” university. I am often thinking about it, as the Mathematics Department at SFU is putting a lot of effort into building a community within their department and engaging its students beyond the tasks of being a researcher.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR PROSPECTIVE GRADUATE STUDENTS?

Take your time to get settled in Vancouver and possibly deal with some culture shock. Surround yourself by some of the amazing people at SFU.

Contact Alexandra: agwesole@sfu.ca