MMath student, Applied Mathematics

Why did you choose to pursue graduate studies at the University of Waterloo?

I completed my undergraduate degree in Mathematical Physics and decided to stay for my master's. A professor of a course I was taking recommend I get in touch with Giang Tran who is now my supervisor. She was a great fit for me and was doing interesting research and was willing to supervise my research ideas.

Nicholas RichardsonDescribe your research and what makes you passionate about it:

I study and design algorithms used for data analysis and signal processing. These methods often involve data compression or neural networks. I am really interested in audio and music applications such as taking a song and isolating individual instruments. This is my way of combining my mathematical skill set with my passion for music.

Tell us about what activities, groups, events you are involved in

I am heavily involved with the UW A Cappella Club where I sing, arrange music, and perform with other passionate students. Through the club, I was able to host the Canadian A Cappella Conference and meet singers from across the country. Outside of this club I also enjoy playing squash with my friends on campus.

Do you have any highlights or successes to share about your teaching activities/roles?

Being a TA for Mathematics of Music was a highlight as a grad student. I got to interact with students one-on-one and share my passion for both math and music. My favourite moments are when I can find the right way to explain an idea so that suddenly it all makes sense to them!

What advice do you have for new graduate students?

Don't be afraid to reach out for help or take advantage of the many resources and experiences on campus! I have personally used career advising through the Centre for Career Action and upgraded my skills through Zero Work.

What are some of the challenging aspects of being a graduate student and how do you address these challenges?

It can feel more isolating in graduate school than when studying for an undergraduate degree. Especially since my graduate degree was during the pandemic, I did not have in-person classes every day and didn’t get the chance to interact with other people in my program as easily. What helped me feel connected to the campus was attending events put on by the Graduate Student Association - University of Waterloo (GSA-UW), joining clubs on campus, and meeting weekly with other students in my research group.

Country of origin: Canada

Domestic or International: Domestic

Academic stream: Research

Full-time or part-time: Full-time

Research supervisorGiang Tran

Graduate student awards held: Canadian Graduate Scholarship - Master’s, President’s Graduate Scholarship

TA/RA or GRS held: TA/RA

University of Waterloo