Grad wins three major academic honours

Mengtian Bao won the silver Governor General's medal.

Jun 14, 2013 | Gilbert Ndikubwayezu

Hard work paid off hugely for Mengtian Bao as she graduated with top honours at UTSC.

Bao, a Green Path fellow and a Computer and Mathematical Science undergraduate student, won the 2013 silver Governor General’s Academic Medal for achieving the highest academic standing.

At the convocation ceremonies Wednesday she was also presented with The John Black Aird Scholarship and The Rose Sheinin Award, which are offered to the most outstanding student graduating from an undergraduate program and an outstanding female student graduating in a science program respectively.

This is the first time that a single student has been awarded all three of these top U of T honours.

“I am really surprised and honored to be selected as the winner of these prizes,” said Bao. “These awards are the best reward for my four years of study and they represent a milestone in my life as a student. It truly encourages me on my future career path.”

UTSC congratulated her for the impressive feat.

“Your selection was no surprise because a student of your caliber and intelligence was bound to fare exceedingly well,” wrote Dean & Vice Principal, Academic Rick Halpern in a laudatory letter to her.

Bao came to Canada from Nanjing, China in 2009 and enrolled at UTSC, winning the $15,000 University of Toronto Entrance Scholarship upon admission, and earning a place on the University of Toronto Scholar and University of Toronto Honors List every year.

One of Bao’s traits is to challenge herself. In her fourth year she took on a research project on stochastic calculus and its application in finance, a subject that is normally studied at the graduate level.

“The project required high-level mathematical skills but also the maturity to be able to relate the material to the application area in a meaningful way,” said Michael Evans, professor and associate chair of the Department of Mathematics & Statistics, who supervised her in the project.

“Mengtian's abilities in this regard place her among the very best students I have ever taught. Her hard work and positive attitude made her a joy to work with.”

Bao said she has always wanted to be a financial engineer, and will soon head to Columbia University to pursue a Master of Science in financial engineering.