Today we are congratulating MATLAB Student Ambassador- Simon Thor from KTH Royal Institute of Technology
. As a current MATLAB Student Ambassador, Simon has just received the Anders Wall scholarship which is the largest scholarship in Sweden for young scientists. Simon is an undergraduate student researching space and engineering physics at KTH Royal Institute of Technology.
The Anders Wall scholarship
is the largest scholarship in Sweden for young scientists. The prize of 200 000 SEK (approximately 20,000 USD) is awarded annually to one young researcher for their research achievements and future goals/plans.
How were you selected for this award?
I submitted my application to this scholarship and received a phone call from the selection committee roughly a month later. In addition to my research achievements thus far, they also valued my career plans, which include a future research project at CERN, the largest particle accelerator in the world,and a potential research project at the University of Tokyo in Japan. Hearing that I was this year’s recipient was fantastic and almost unbelievable! It is a very competitive award and mostly Ph.D. candidates receive it.
What projects/research did you complete to win this award?
I received the scholarship for my research on particle physics and space physics. Since the summer after my first year of high school, I have conducted research on space physics at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology. In this project, I analyze solar wind data to better understand how aurorae form. I have also participated in a research project on particle physics at MIT. Currently, I am working on my bachelor thesis project about particle physics where I simulate and compare theoretical models with results from CERN.
Did MATLAB or Simulink help you win this award?
For my research in space physics, I used irfu-matlab
, a MATLAB library developed by space physicists in Sweden. With this library, I have been able to quickly download and visualize data from various satellites. This significantly sped up the progress of my research, which in turn increased my chances of winning this award. The interface to Python that MATLAB offers has also been useful for my research in space physics, as it allowed me to use existing code and focus on the physics and results, instead of spending time translating code from one language to another.
Do you think the technical and interpersonal skills you learned in the MATLAB Ambassador program helped you win this award?
The MATLAB Student Ambassador role has been a good merit on my CV and something that the selection committee for the Anders Wall scholarship noticed. Being an ambassador and organizing events showed the selection committee that I can take initiative, demonstrate leadership, and be able to collaborate well with others.
Would you recommend the MATLAB Student Ambassador program to other students?
Yes, being a Student Ambassador is a great opportunity! The freedom of the program allows you to be creative and organize almost any type of event that one might want to try. As a MATLAB Student Ambassador, you will also be able to network with a variety of students/academics at your university that you otherwise would not meet. Finally, it is the perfect opportunity to learn more about MATLAB and Simulink, which personally helped me in both coursework and my research projects.
Why did you want to become a MATLAB Student Ambassador?
While in high school, I co-founded the Young Astroparticle Physics Association in Sweden, where I organized various events and lectures about particle physics. Since the responsibilities of a MATLAB Student Ambassador are similar to the tasks I worked on while active in the Young Astroparticle Physics Association, the Ambassador role seemed like a perfect fit. I was also interested in learning more about MATLAB after using it for my research.
How did you learn about being a MATLAB Student Ambassador?
I saw a poster at my university about a lunch seminar organized by the former MATLAB Student Ambassador. I attended the event and immediately became interested, as these events were a perfect opportunity for me to learn more about MATLAB and Simulink. When the former Student Ambassador graduated, I applied for the position and was lucky to be offered the position.
What was the most fun part about being a MATLAB Student Ambassador?
What I enjoy the most about being a MATLAB Student Ambassador is talking with the participants of the events. Meeting these people that I otherwise likely would not have met and talking about MATLAB, Simulink, and many other topics, is a fantastic experience. Learning about new and exciting features in MATLAB and Simulink is also something I enjoy.
Do you think the MATLAB Ambassador program has helped you find career opportunities?
Since I became a MATLAB Student Ambassador, I have mainly worked during the summer at jobs where I needed to prove my skills through tests instead of valuing the CV. However, as a Student Ambassador, I have improved my skill of learning a topic quickly. Being a Student Ambassador has therefore helped me indirectly in my jobs and research, as being able to learn a topic quickly is an invaluable skill.
What advice would you give other students?
One question I often receive is how I became involved in a research project while only being a high school student at the time. The answer to this is rather simple: I asked researchers if I could contribute to one of their projects. I, therefore, recommend aspiring researchers to try to contact researchers and ask if they can contribute to a project. The chances of being accepted might be small but if you never try, the chance is zero, so it is always worth giving it a try! This also applies to other fields and situations, e.g., if you are considering applying to an internship that you think you have a small chance of being accepted to.
Is there anything else that you would like to add?
If you are a university student, I recommend checking if there is a MATLAB Student Ambassador at your university. The events they organize are often fun to attend.
Thank you for your time and congratulations, Simon Thor!
Are you interested in becoming a MATLAB Student Ambassador? Check out our open positions here!