A Waterloo graduate student with a rich family history in the Canadian military is among the first to receive an historic scholarship that honours Canada’s role in the liberation of the Netherlands in the Second World War.

“I am incredibly honoured to receive this scholarship and to keep the connection between the Netherlands and Canada alive and strong,” said Madelaine Liddy, a master’s student in electrical and computer engineering with a specialization in quantum information. Liddy studies under David Cory, Canada Excellence Research Chair in Quantum Information Processing at Waterloo’s Institute for Quantum Computing.

Madelaine Liddy receiving scholarshipIn addition to her stellar academic background and ties to the Canadian military, Liddy has an aunt whose Dutch parents survived the German occupation of the Netherlands. “After surviving the loss of family members, malnutrition and forced labour, Canada became a beacon of hope for them,” she said.

Scholarships celebrate 70th anniversary of liberation

The scholarships celebrate the 70th anniversary of the liberation of the Netherlands and were presented to five students from across Canada in the presence of Their Majesties King Willem-Alexander and Queen Máxima on May 28.  A total of 70 scholarships will be made available for Canadian students to study at a Dutch university or college.

Liddy will spend a term at Delft Technical University to continue her research on Nitrogen-Vacancy (NV) chemical sensors with Professor Ronald Hanson.

NV centres are defects in diamond that can be used as extremely precise quantum processors. Liddy’s work involves modifying the diamond surfaces to optically control shallowly implanted NV centres. Once modified, biological and chemical species such as proteins or DNA can be attached to the surface and detected through changes in the local magnetic field of the NV centre in diamond.

“Like Dr.Hanson, I share an enthusiasm for projects that bridge the gap between disciplines and am hopeful that I can offer a unique research perspective through our collaboration,” said Liddy. “I am extremely grateful to the government of the Netherlands and the university for the opportunity.”

A family history of military connections

Liddy, who completed a double major for her undergraduate degree in Waterloo’s nanotechnology engineering and music programs, is proud of the rich tradition her family has serving in the Canadian military. With uncles, cousins, a brother-in-law and a grandfather who served in the Canadian military, Liddy is pleased to share stories of their service during the Second World War, the Korean War and in Afghanistan.

Her uncle, Gavin Liddy, served in Europe during the 1980s and 1990s. He was proud to take part in the annual Nijmegen Marches with the Dutch military. Liddy told his niece that whenever he was in uniform, the Dutch people always approached him to express thanks for Canada’s role in liberating them.