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Engineering student next Rhodes Scholar

Nov. 21, 2012

A student in the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science at Memorial has been selected as the next Rhodes Scholar from Newfoundland and Labrador to study at the University of Oxford in England. 

Laura Pittman, a 23-year-old from St. John’s, is completing a bachelor of mechanical engineering. 

While at Oxford, Ms. Pittman will complete a master’s of science in biomedical engineering followed by a master’s of business administration.

Ms. Pittman has a sterling academic record. She holds a perfect 4.0 grade point average, has won a national award as the Canadian Association for Co-Operative Education Co-Op Student of the Year, and has won numerous other academic awards including the Fessenden-Trott Scholarship, the MUN Alumni Entrance Scholarship, and the C.D. Howe Memorial Foundation Engineering Award. 

Through her co-operative engineering program, Ms. Pittman has completed internships with Talisman Energy Canada, Shell Canada Ltd., ExxonMobil Canada Ltd., the Department of National Defence and Newfoundland Power.  

Consistent with her interests in biomedical engineering, Ms. Pittman is currently working at the University of Calgary in the Scoliosis Research Group where she is working on non-invasive techniques to monitor the abnormal curvature of the spine. 

As well as her scholarly interests, Ms. Pittman was a member of the Memorial University Sea-Hawks varsity soccer team in 2009-11 and participates as a member of local senior women’s soccer and volleyball teams. Ms. Pittman has also coached junior high school volleyball teams in the Eastern School District. In addition, Ms. Pittman has served on the advisory board of Young Adult Cancer Canada from 2006-11.

Ms. Pittman exhibits the qualities of a Rhodes Scholar, including academic excellence, an ability to rise to challenges successfully and a high level of energy and enthusiasm in pursuing extra-curricular activities.

The Rhodes Scholarship is an international postgraduate award for study at the University of Oxford, one of the top universities in England. It is widely considered the world’s most prestigious scholarship. The qualities that the founder of the scholarship, Cecil Rhodes, expressly said that a scholar must exhibit are proven intellectual and academic attainment of a high standard, integrity of character, sympathy for and protection of the weak, the ability to lead and the energy to use their talent to the full.