Charlotte Trainor's work ethic resulted in a 4.30 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) out of a possible 4.33, earning her a Governor General’s Silver Medal and a graduate scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

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Stellar work ethic earns mathematics grad top academic honours

June 05, 2017
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By Justin Wong

As one of the few undergraduate women pursuing a mathematics degree in the Faculty of Science, Charlotte Trainor knew she faced a challenge.

“I felt that I had to work harder and do better than everyone else just to show that I was good enough,” says Trainor, who graduates on June 7 with a B.Sc. (Hons.) in mathematics.

She certainly proved her point. Trainor’s work ethic resulted in a 4.30 cumulative grade point average (CGPA) out of a possible 4.33, earning her a Governor General’s Silver Medal. The medal is awarded to each of the two undergraduates holding the highest CGPAs at graduation.

During her studies Trainor discovered a passion for research, sparked during a rare opportunity in her first year to work on a research project with the Complex Systems Modelling Group at SFU’s IRMACS research lab.

Her experience inspired a deep interest in the research process, and she went on to earn multiple research awards from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) to study pure mathematics during her degree program. As well, she completed an honours thesis in combinatorics and algebraic geometry, researching the finiteness of a class of mathematics objects.

Now, she plans a career as a mathematics professor, with a view to developing her own theories in pure mathematics.

“Pure math is unlike anything people remember from high school math class,” says Trainor. “Pure mathematics is like an art form where mathematicians can express their creativity.”

In the fall, Trainor, who has earned a Canada NSERC graduate scholarship, will pursue a master’s degree in pure mathematics at the University of British Columbia. She plans to study harmonic analysis, a branch of mathematics used extensively in signal processing, medical imaging, and quantum mechanics.

And despite her success so far, she expects she will continue to work harder than everyone else.