Celebrating York’s international science scholars

Being passionate about your studies can take you a long way and no one knows this better than Katarzyna Jerzak and Wendy Ng. The two York University students will be attending the UK’s prestigious London International Youth Science Forum for two weeks this summer.


Above: From left, Wendy Ng; Gillian Wu, dean of York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering; and Katarzyna Jerzak

York chose Jerzak and Ng to attend the London International Youth Science Forum, held July 27-Aug. 10, because of their academic success, interpersonal skills and knowledge of the subjects that will be discussed at the forum.

Jerzak is in her second year of a specialized honours degree program in pharmaceutical & biological chemistry through the Department of Chemistry in York’s Faculty of Science & Engineering. Her long-range goals include graduate studies in the biochemical processes that are the root causes of various human diseases.

Ng, who is in the third year of an honours degree program in kinesiology & health science, is the recipient of the Natural Sciences & Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Undergraduate Student Research Award through the Department of Psychology in York’s Faculty of Arts. Next year she will work with Professor James Elder in York’s Centre for Vision Research to examine facial perception in periphery vision.

“I’m excited to examine how science can affect modern-day challenges,” says Ng, “and I’m particularly grateful for the chance to be inspired by leading forum speakers as they shed light upon their individual areas of scientific investigation.”

Ng has also recently been accepted for the prestigious Killam Fellowship, a scholarship and exchange program for outstanding Canadian undergraduate students. This annual fellowship, for which she was nominated by York, involves financial support of US$10,000 for one year of study at a partner university in the United States. Ng will be attending Wellesley College in Massachusetts. 

Both students say they are looking forward to the forum as an opportunity to develop a greater understanding of Canada as it is viewed from abroad, while meeting new friends, and sharing their own unique experiences with others.

Each year the forum brings together some 250 students of the sciences from almost 60 countries from five continents. Participants join in a program of lectures and demonstrations by leading scientists. While at the event, both Jerzak and Ng will participate in seminars, debates and discussions on a variety of scientific topics of world concern. They will also be visiting a number of industrial and research facilities in London and will have an opportunity to visit academic research centres in London, Oxford and Cambridge.

Packaged with some sightseeing, visits to museums and some light-hearted activities including clubbing and participating in a cabaret of international students, the event promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience for the two budding scientists.

Ng and Jerzak’s attendance at the London International Youth Science Forum is sponsored by the Office of the Vice-President Research, Office of the Vice-President Students and the Office of the Associate Vice-President International.

This article was submitted to YFile by Robert Read, Web communications and publications assistant, Office of the Associate Vice-President International.