Polytechnique awards prestigious engineering scholarship to student with passion for environment

“You have your place,” says Sophia Roy, the newest recipient of Polytechnique's prestigious “Order of the White Rose” scholarship, to young women pursuing a career in engineering. Felisha Adam reports.

By News Staff

A graduate engineering student with a passion for the environment was the latest recipient of the Polytechnique’s prestigious “Order of the White Rose” scholarship on Monday.

Sophia Roy, who wants to address environmental issues caused by human activity, was the eighth recipient of the $30,000 scholarship.

The PhD student was honoured in a ceremony following the university’s commemoration of the Dec. 6, 1989, Polytechnique shooting.

The scholarship is awarded annually to a female Canadian engineering student who hopes to pursue graduate studies at the university of her choice.

“I’m extremely honoured and grateful to receive the Order of the White Rose Scholarship,” said Roy. “This award encourages me to continue doing my best as a woman working in the scientific field, fighting prejudice and breaking down the barriers that still stand between young women and careers in engineering and science.”

Sophia Roy Polytechnique Order of the White Rose Montreal

(CREDIT: Felisha Adam/CityNews)

Polytechnique Order of the White Rose

(CREDIT: Felisha Adam/CityNews)

Polytechnique Order of the White Rose

(CREDIT: Felisha Adam/CityNews)

Engineering accolades

Roy already has many accolades in her young engineering career, as she continues to study steel decarbonization methods.

She finished her undergraduate studies at McGill University with a near perfect GPA and earned the Québec Lieutenant Governor’s Medal. From there, she was admitted directly into the Polytechnique’s PhD program.

Her first research project was focused on reducing the ecological footprint of solar panel manufacturing.

In 2020, her scientific review article was among the most downloaded articles from the Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering.

“Her first research findings have already caught the attention of the scientific world and her involvement in the student community, which includes supporting younger students, is an inspiration to all future female engineers,” said Maud Cohen, the president of Polytechnique.

WATCH: Honouring the victims of Montreal’s Polytechnique mass shooting

Last year, Roy completed an internship at the Ministry of the Environment where she developed a calculator that converts CO2 emissions into their equivalent in vehicle emissions. The minister even used her calculator to explain to the genera public why he decided not to green light a liquefied natural gas project.

“The upcoming generation that Sophia represents has everything it takes to be a good scientist: a drive for excellence, curiosity, tenacity and the desire to share knowledge,” said Michèle Prévost, who chaired the scholarship’s selection jury.

“In addition, they are acutely aware of their social responsibility and are willing to take action to protect the future of our planet.”

Honouring women who came before her

Roy says she is indebted to the women who paved the way for her career in engineering, including he own mother, who began her studies one year after the 1989 massacre.

Roy’s first role model in the scientific world was famous primatologist and biodiversity activist Jane Goodall.

Previous winner (2020): Polytechnique awards engineering scholarship to Indigenous student from Alberta

“The Order of the White Rose serves to commemorate the exceptional women I studied with and pass on important values for our future,” said Polytechnique shooting survivor Nathalie Provost.

“Sophia upholds these values by excelling as a woman in engineering and as a member of society. There’s no better argument for promoting women in science. For young women interested in engineering, her example shows that dreaming big and pursuing their ambitions is worthwhile.”

For more: Order of the White Rose

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