Corner Brook High School grad going to study in Russia
CORNER BROOK — Ever since her dad gave her a math sticker book when she was a child, Asmati Sodhi has been hooked on working and playing with numbers.
Now, all those finely honed math skills have led to a major scholarship for the Class of 2010 graduate of Corner Brook Regional High School, who is entering the fourth year of her honours degree in mathematics and physics at Mount Allison University in Sackville, N.B.
The 20-year-old, whose father Amar Sodhi is a math professor at Grenfell Campus, Memorial University in Corner Brook, has been awarded a Math in Moscow scholarship. The award, valued at $9,000, is sponsored by the Canadian Mathematical Society and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.
Sodhi will be studying at the Independent University of Moscow for 15 weeks this fall semester. She is the second Mount Allison student to receive the Math in Moscow award in the last four years, and one of only four Canadians in the international program taught by some of the world’s leading mathematicians. Besides the prestige, Sodhi is excited to be able to take two courses she cannot do as part of her undergraduate degree at Mount Allison. She will be taking an algebraic number theory course she otherwise would have had to wait for grad school to do and a course in dynamical systems that will complement the physics component of her degree.
“I really hope taking those courses will help me decide what I want to do in grad school,” she said in an interview from Mount Allison, where she is working as a teacher’s assistant this summer.
It’s not just the academic opportunity that has Sodhi excited about this experience. Her family has a connection with Russia as her grandfather was president of an Indo-Soviet cultural society many years ago and travelled to Russia with her grandmother.
In addition, she has an aunt from India who studied medicine in Moscow and met her husband during the six years she was living there
“She speaks fluent Russian and still goes back there to visit friends,” she said of her aunt.
Sodhi doesn’t know any Russian, but does plan to take a course in the language as part of her studies in Moscow this fall.
“I’m really looking forward to being surrounded by another culture,” she said. “I am so used to being in Canada and Indian culture.”
She has not decided on a career path yet, but figures her love for algebra and desire to pursue a graduate degree in that field of mathematics will lead her to become a professor like her dad.
Mount Allison math professor Mark Hamilton, who is Sodhi’s summer research and honours thesis supervisor, said she is “an exceptional student” who is deserving of this rare experience.
“The trip to Moscow will be a great opportunity to stretch herself academically and make connections with other talented students from around the continent,” said Hamilton in a press release announcing the scholarship.
Sodhi is a member of her school’s math and computer science student society. Outside her studies and research, she is also a member of the Mount Allison dance society and varsity dance and has participated in the Garnet and Gold Musical Theatre Society for the last three years.