The oldest of ten children in the family, Luke was born in a small rural community in Alberta. He was home schooled by his mother and grandfather, then took eight correspondence courses at Athabaskan University and transferred to the University of Calgary. Luke is going into his fourth year.
He has refined his views on the impact of home schooling on social development, the essential and necessary conditions for optimal collaboration, as well as a theory to explain the shortage of female mathematicians in academia.
It is not common to find a home schooled student in the GTA but such a practice is widely used in rural areas. It is often argued that home schooled children are less social than their peers form public schools. Luke stated that he has never seen any evidence to back up this stereotype. He had a wide range of friends both home schooled and public schooled. There were very social children and very shy children in both groups. Moreover, it was impossible to say that one group had more non social children than the other.
Even though Fields-MITACS is the first group research project for Luke, he is well prepared for this research style and the possible difficulties that can arise in collaborative work. He has observed group research projects at the Institute for the Quantum Information Science where researchers needed to collect data and to analyze if it can be representative of a real life situation. Luke learned that common scientific interests are necessary for a successful collaboration but some degree of personal compatibility is needed as well.
Luke realizes that males compose the majority of mathematicians. Luke`s theory is that young girls sustain the stereotype that boys are good at math and girls are good at creative writing and reading. His sister is interested in sciences but none of her friends are interested in it. As a result, she avoids having meaningful conversations with them because she is scared to be labeled as a nerd. Over time his sister felt discouraged and spent a much less time pursuing her scientific interests.
Interview conducted by Mariya Boyko