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Student Profile: Ray Walsh

Applied and Computational Mathematics PhD student in the Faculty of Science

December 17, 2020
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I'm originally from a small town in Newfoundland-- I developed an interest in science in high school. When I began my undergrad, my plan was to study physics. Quickly, however, this developed into a deeper interest in mathematics, scientific theory, and computation. The summer research simulating fluid dynamics I conducted in my undergrad made me a good fit for the Applied and Computational Mathematics program here at SFU. From there, I tapped into atmospheric fluid flow, which is where I currently find myself. Now my research aims to better understand pattern formation in clouds. Aside from that, I like to spend most of my free time rock climbing outdoors and, on the rare occasions it rains, indoors.

WHY DID YOU CHOOSE TO COME TO SFU?

SFU has a fantastic reputation in Applied and Computational Mathematics. Also, during the application process a department faculty member reached out to me; I really developed a sense of the community present in the Mathematics department here. SFU was a clear choice

TELL US ABOUT YOUR RESEARCH AND/OR PROGRAM.

Think of being on a boat, or at a beach. We can see and feel waves in the water-- the air that makes up the atmosphere has wave motions that are just like that. My research asks the question of how atmospheric waves interact with clouds and, in return, how clouds interacts with waves. The edge of a cloud is like the water's edge on a beach. The waves approaching the beach cause the water's edge to move both in and out. The waves in the atmosphere can have the same effect on clouds: they make the edges move. In the atmosphere we observe strange patterns such as a holepunch cloud, undulatus clouds, and asperitas clouds (these are worth a quick google!). Our goal is to understand how and why these patterns form and what consequences this new information may have on our understanding of the atmosphere.

WHAT ARE YOU PARTICULARLY ENJOYING ABOUT YOUR STUDIES/RESEARCH AT SFU?

The sense of community among students and faculty at SFU is unmatched. Everyone is here to learn and to teach others. I have been surrounded by a supportive group of colleagues and faculty who have never hesitated to provide their support, knowledge, and time.

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

I completed my master's degree here at SFU and am now pursuing my doctorate. In both programs, I have been very fortunate to receive the Graduate Dean's Entrance Scholarship; I have also received the NSERC Canada Graduate Scholarship at the master's level, and the NSERC Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship for my doctoral degree. These scholarships have greatly improved my quality of life as a graduate student. Graduate life is difficult at times, and having guaranteed funding has allowed me to focus more deeply on my research. It enabled me to rise to the challenges, both academic and personal, that any graduate student may face.

IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE?

I will be completing my doctoral degree in the 2021 academic year. I am currently exploring options for both postdoctoral research and industry employment.

Contact Ray: rpwalsh@sfu.ca
LinkedIn: linkedin.com/in/raymond-walsh-399a2697