This week, Nicholas Manor will travel from his new academic home of Waterloo back to Carleton to pick up his honours Bachelor’s degree in mathematics.
At the same time, he’ll also receive the Chancellor’s Medal, awarded annually to a graduating undergraduate student for outstanding academic achievement.
For Manor, the moment will be especially poignant—by his own admission, he was not always the best student. “I’ve experience failure and it felt awful and I recovered from it,” says Manor.
Manor’s challenge came in first year, when he only earned one out of five credits that he attempted.
He can’t pinpoint his flop on anything more than poor attitude. He’d had the same experience in high school, but also a recovery.
Recognizing the pattern, Manor was able to repeat his correction. He buckled down, taking seven courses the next year and limiting television and video games. His grades improved.
Despite his rocky start, Manor thrived at Carleton. “I had a terrific academic upbringing within mathematics. I can safely say that the most important teachers I have ever had and will have ever had were at Carleton,” says Manor.
He credits professors Paul Mezo, Wojciech Jaworski, Erik Anonby and Matthew Kennedy as being particularly standout mentors. “Paul Mezo was the biggest influence all in all on me, and how I am now within the academic community,” says Manor.
Of Jaworski, who became his honours project supervisor, Manor says his mentor challenged him with some of the most difficult mathematical problems he’s encountered. “It greatly affected the way I am today. He’s the person who introduced me to what is it like to independently do this stuff as a researcher,” says Manor.
Today Manor is pursuing master’s research at Waterloo’s Institute of Quantum Computing, even obtaining a Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council Undergraduate Student Research Award to start his journey there four months early.
He’s thrilled with his new community, and also about the award he’s receiving from Carleton. “I’m frankly pretty surprised. I guess everyone feels like an impostor to some degree, but I’m especially pleased,” says Manor.