He may still not know yet where he is going, but Brendan Cooke is looking forward to spending next winter in the United States.
As the latest recipient of the prestigious Killam Fellowship, Mr. Cooke will get to spend a semester at a university in America. At the moment he is waiting to hear which of three preferred locations he will attend – University of Southern California, University of Miami or Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
“All of these universities have excellent math programs, so I’d be happy with any of them,” he said.
The second year student is currently working on a joint honours in physics and applied math. The St. John’s resident has received numerous awards and prizes for academic excellence, including the Williams Science Scholarship for 2011-2012. The scholarship was established by the late Dr. Hank Williams of the Department of Earth Sciences and is awarded to the most promising second year student entering the Faculty of Science.
Mr. Cooke enjoys working with youth and has volunteered with Let’s Talk Science, The Elaine Dobbin Centre for Autism and has been a lifeguard at the Aquarena for several years.
“It’s still very early but I’m just happy to know that I actually got selected,” said Mr. Cooke. “I have a couple of strong reasons for going, other than the general idea of taking a semester somewhere else, which is inherently interesting.
“I’m president of the Memorial Debate Society, so wherever I go I’m hoping they’ll have a debate community. I’d like to spend a semester hanging out with them, learning how they debate, because styles are very different from country to country.”
In addition, he’s interested in broadening his skills by taking problem solving courses and is hoping for the opportunity to do research with an American professor.
The Killam Fellowships Program allows undergraduate students from Canada and the United States to participate in a program of bi-national residential exchange. The program, administered by Fulbright Canada, is an integral part of the Foundation's multidimensional strategy to foster mutual understanding between Canada and the United States of America and is designed to encourage exceptional undergraduate students in the two countries by providing a unique opportunity for academic exchange.
As part of his fellowship, Mr. Cooke will receive a cash award of $5,000 US, a $500 allowance to offset health insurance costs and can apply for an $800 mobility grant, which would allow him to take an educational field trip in his host country. He will also get to attend an orientation session in Ottawa, and a wrap up session in Washington, DC.