A graduate and Schulich scholarship recipient reflects

The Schulich Leader Scholarship I received in 2013 allowed me to focus most of my time and effort on my academic studies during my time at UWaterloo.  This was important to me because I wanted to widen my breadth of study by taking extra courses in a variety of subjects.Lucas Palmer with scenic  background

I felt very fortunate to receive the award and it also put additional pressure on me because I wanted to prove that I was a deserving recipient.  This gave me extra motivation to strive for academic and extracurricular success.

Back in 2013, I entered the Faculty of Math at the University of Waterloo.  In my second year, I declared majors in Applied Math, Computer Science, and Computational Math. Over my 8 terms at the University of Waterloo, I completed 49 courses to attain these three degree requirements. I played on intramural sports teams every term, in a combination of volleyball, beach volleyball, basketball, handball, soccer, and frisbee.  For two years, I was a volunteer tutor with the Somali Canadian Association of Waterloo.

Lucas Palmer playing Beach Volleyball 

The summer after my first year, I trained full-time with Team Ontario Beach Volleyball in Toronto.  This training allowed me to compete in the U21 Beach Volleyball World Championships and win the U22 Canadian Volleyball Championships in 2014. Over the next 3 years I had the opportunity to work at software companies in Toronto, Waterloo, and Boston for my co-op terms. In my final year, I worked at Google in Mountain View, California and Amazon in Seattle, Washington.

What I enjoyed most about Waterloo was the motivated and friendly people that I got to meet along the way. I also really appreciate how the success of Waterloo’s Math and Computer Science programs means that fellow Waterloo students and alumni are never far away.  At every company that I worked for, both the intern class and full-time employees always included many Waterloo students and alumni.

Lucas Palmer at Math Banquet

After graduation, I am starting full-time work at Google in Mountain View, California.  I’ll be working within the Google Assistant team.  I am excited to learn a lot from this industry experience.

My long-term career plan is to learn from industry leaders in software engineering.  I would also like to continue taking computer science classes, hopefully by starting a part-time masters after a year of working.  I have strong interests in building my own original software applications as well.

I would advise future Waterloo students to try new subject areas and get a variety of experience in the Waterloo co-op program.  When I came to Waterloo 5 years ago, I entered general math and didn’t declare my academic plan until I had a chance to try out courses in Math, Computer Science, Physics, Chemistry, and Biology.  I would also recommend patience when learning new things. For my first 3 terms of undergrad, I had a difficult time with my computer science classes because programming was a new concept for me. But I’m glad that I gave it a chance because now I love building software and have great opportunities in the industry.  Aside from academics, I would also recommend participating in intramural sports.  They are a fun way to keep up your fitness and meet new people. In the end, the more time that I spent at the University of Waterloo, the more fortunate that I felt to be a student there.  Be Waterloo proud!

The Schulich Leader Scholarship was an integral part of my time at the University of Waterloo.  I look forward to keeping in touch with the University of Waterloo and the Schulich Leader Foundation in the future!