Science welcomes two new HeforShe Scholars

Friday, September 22, 2017

All six 2017 HeForShe scholarship recipients holding a #heforshe sign

Six HeForShe IMPACT scholarships have been awarded to exceptional female students entering their first year as undergraduates in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM). The scholarships are part of the University of Waterloo’s commitment to encourage more young women to pursue fields in STEM, where females are currently underrepresented.

The 2017 recipients each have their own unique experiences that sparked their interest in STEM but they are equally as excited to take the next step towards pursuing their passions.

Meet the two Science first year undergraduates who each received a $12,000 HeForShe IMPACT scholarship - Guia and Alex.

Guia Janelle C. Pucyutan – Mathematical Physics

Guia Janelle C. Pucyutan portrait

From a young age Guia Pucyutan considered her mother an example of looking beyond traditional gender roles. While Pucyutan was growing up in the Philippines, her mother worked as a mechanical engineer and taught her the importance of persevering to reach her goals.

Pucyutan credits her mother’s support and advice to encouraging her to chase her passion for mathematics and science. She also found inspiration to pursue physical sciences from her chemistry and physics teachers at Senator O’Connor College School in Toronto, who captivated her interest through a combination of educational and practical lessons.

Pucyutan describes math and physics to be her calling and is excited to continue her studies at Waterloo before taking on a career in her field.

“Do what you love,” says Pucyutan, “I believe that one does not love something because they are good at it; they become good at it because they love it, because they enjoy just immersing themselves in it.”

Alex Rynard – Mathematical Physics

Alex Rynard portrait

Alex Rynard credits her experience of being continuously challenged and encouraged by her science and math teachers as instrumental in developing her curiosity in STEM.

“The feeling of being engaged, secure and comfortable in those classrooms from a young age really sparked my interest in science and mathematics,” says Rynard.

But Rynard’s interest in STEM goes further than mere curiosity; she wants to pursue a career and education in STEM because it is simply what she loves to do.  She can’t imagine pursuing any other field.

“Be involved with what really interests you,” Rynard advises to other young women, “…it does not matter what other people do or say if you are truly doing something you enjoy.”

Specifically, Rynard is interested in mathematical physics and found Waterloo appealing for its co-op program.

“I hope that being in co-op will allow me to experience some potential career options and find an exciting career,” says Rynard.

The other four HeForShe recipients were:

  • Jiayue Cheng – Business and Computer Science (Double Major)
  • Teresa Kang – Computer Science
  • Heather Musson – Software Engineering
  • Christina Sullivan – Mechatronics Engineering

Waterloo is the only Canadian university taking part in the UN Women’s HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative to achieve gender parity. As part of this initiative, the University aims increase female representation in STEM education and careers, enhance female faculty representation, and promote female leaders into senior university positions.