Summer 2014

Emma Hansen

Schulich Leader at University of Toronto

In my first year of high school, I pored over the University of Toronto undergraduate viewbook, fascinated by the cultural diversity and the academic breadth displayed in its pages. My actual experience at U of T has not disappointed, and none of it would be possible without the Schulich Leader Scholarships.

Over the last year, I've become very interested in issues related to science and society. U of T is the perfect place to explore those issues, with research centres like the Institute for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology and organisations like Science for Peace. These environments have really helped me to place the technical training from my STEM program in different contexts.

The Vic One program at Victoria College in particular helped me to develop a good understanding of the intersections between STEM knowledge and social issues. I loved the interesting curriculum and the sense of community in these classes. Joan Romero and I, the 2013 U of T Schulich Leaders, were honoured to be chosen as recipients of the two Vic One Stick awards at the end of the year.

The knowledge gained inside the classroom has surprising connections with activities in the broader university community. My philosophy of science course has helped me to understand science policy, and I've become involved in science-related political advocacy because of that course; studying the foundations of physics allowed me to create mock Cold War nuclear crises in a Model UN conference for high school students. My challenge next year? Finding a way to combine political philosophy and ordinary differential equations. It's been such an adventure.