October 22nd, 2017

U of L graduate lands Cambridge scholarship

By Mabell, Dave on May 29, 2017.

Dave Mabell

Lethbridge Herald


A Lethbridge student has topped all other Canadians applicants, en route to a doctoral studies program at the historic University of Cambridge.

Sam Woodman, a 2015 University of Lethbridge graduate with an honours degree in science, plans to study the impacts of insects and invertebrates on the aquatic system. He’ll be able to do that at Cambridge, one of the English-speaking world’s oldest campuses, after being awarded a three-year scholarship worth about $70,000 per year.

The William and Margaret Brown Scholarship is awarded to one Canadian student who wishes to complete PhD studies at Cambridge

“It came out of the sky,” says Woodman, who’d applied for a number of scholarships with little response. “I read the email five or six times because I wanted to make sure I read it correctly.”

A science buff during his years at Catholic Central High, Woodman began his research career in he university’s Canadian Centre for Behavioural Neuroscience, as part of the Heritage Youth Researcher Summer Program. He’s since studied plant physiology with biology professor Stewart Rood, examined the impacts of pharmaceuticals on the behaviour of a river’s crayfish with professor Greg Pyle, studied riparian ecology under Trent Hoover and the behaviour of zombie ants with Cam Goater.

In the process, he won three Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council awards for undergraduate researchers.

“This university, given its size, is fantastic for getting students involved with academia and research if they want to,” he says.

“The U of L has given me and many other students a head start on research, and I wholeheartedly believe that it’s my research experience that has allowed be to get accepted to Cambridge.”

Before heading to England, Woodman plans to conduct some research near Sudbury, Ont.

“Broadly speaking, my interest is in terrestial-aquatic linkages, or how changes in the forests in riparian areas impact the aquatic system.”

As an example, an outbreak of gypsy moths can defoliate many trees in a forest. How would the premature loss of those leaves affect the nutrient level in the creeks and rivers, with what impacts on vegetable and animal life downstream?

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