“I feel passionate about my UW experience. It ultimately led to a wonderful overseas experience and a very fulfilling career in cancer epidemiology.”
Loraine Marrett’s work has most recently centered on cancer among aboriginal populations, cross-referencing the federal First Nations listing and the cancer registry. “Once, First Nations people experienced less cancer than the general population but that’s all changing. Universally their post-cancer outcomes are less favourable. Such data have provided critical ammunition for improved cancer resources for our Indigenous people.”
Having earned her BMath at UWaterloo, she was awarded a Commonwealth Scholarship to attend the University of Edinburgh for a Ph.D. in Statistics under Professor David Finney. There, Loraine met her husband Stephen Walter. She might have made a life in the United Kingdom but for a stipulation of her scholarship that required her to return to Canada. The couple first joined the faculty of the University of Ottawa, and later moved to Connecticut where Loraine worked as a researcher and Stephen served on the faculty at Yale University. After seven years, they came back to Canada in 1982 and Loraine began her service at Cancer Care Ontario. There she remained until her semi-retirement in May of 2016.
Loraine considers her years at Waterloo to have been formative. “When I started at UW in 1965, you could specialize in math through either of the faculties of arts or sciences – I thought this was so wonderful because I wanted to study both math and languages. I wanted to be where mathematics was looked at broadly, and wasn’t pigeon-holed as something that had to be part of a math-physics-chemistry paradigm, and UW met that need. Of course, by the time I graduated, the Faculty of Mathematics had arrived and I ended up with neither a BA nor a BSc but rather, a BMath! Extraordinary! UW has always thought outside of the box, and this is just another example.” She also acknowledges her “amazing” first year professors — Ralph Stanton and Ken Fryer. “They were both such outstanding teachers and thought leaders.”