On October 17, the first recipients of the Lumbroso iREx Ambassador Grant, Marylou Fournier-Tondreau and Thomas Vandal, were honoured.
They presented their research projects and scientific communication work during one of our weekly meetings, which was exceptionally attended by Mr. Sylvain Lumbroso, the generous donor who made the creation of this fellowship possible. They were also able to discuss with Mr. Lumbroso and our Director, René Doyon, during a lunch that preceded the presentation.
Marylou, who joined the iREx in the summer of 2021 as a Trottier intern, began her master’s studies in September 2021 under the supervision of David Lafrenière. She is interested in giant exoplanets, which she studies with the Webb telescope. This student, who was passionate about mathematics in cegep, thought tshe would not fit in a career centered around science and technology. She thus opted to pursue a career in health sciences. She became a pharmacist and practiced in this field for some time before returning to her original interest in math and physics. This atypical career path motivates her to be actively involved with the Comité Diversité Physique and the APS-IDEA network to promote equity, diversity and inclusion of underrepresented groups in physics. She also works for the Parité Sciences program, which offers concrete strategies to high school and college teachers to help them stimulate and support female students’ interest in physics, mathematics and computer science, disciplines where women are still largely underrepresented. She is also involved in the institute’s outreach activities. She has given presentations at Cegeps and amateur astronomers’ clubs, and she also participated in the Soirée d’initiation à la recherche en physique.
Thomas, who started at iREx in 2018, also as a Trottier intern, is now a PhD student under the supervision of Rene Doyon. He is interested in studying giant exoplanets through direct imaging. Thomas is part of the group that founded InitiaSciences in the summer of 2021, a non-profit organization that aims to give high school and college students their first authentic scientific research experience, mentored by graduate students. He also helped create the Sprint de science Chasseurs d’exoplanètes at UQAM’s Coeur des sciences, a virtual presentation for high school students that introduce them to the work of an astronomy researcher. He is actively involved in the institute’s outreach activities, notably at the Eureka Festival and for our astroMIL events.
Congratulations to the winners!
The Lumbroso iREx Ambassador Grant is awarded each year to a graduate student of the Université de Montréal who is member of iREx to recognize their leadership, community involvement and efforts to promote scientific culture to a wide audience. This award is made possible by a generous donation from Sylvain Lumbroso, a long-time iREx supporter.