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Valedictorian Gaia Noseworthy aims to do ‘a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing’

Author: Hilary Creamer Robinson

Posted on May 9, 2024

Category: UNB Fredericton

Valedictorian Gaia Noseworthy

This May, University of New Brunswick (UNB) valedictorian and Newfoundlander Gaia Noseworthy will graduate with a bachelor of science and bachelor of computer science with honours in mathematics-physics, honours in computer science and major in statistics. This specific combination, the graduate explained, is the perfect meeting point between the disciplines of physics, math and computer science.

Throughout their time at UNB, Noseworthy worked as an assistant researcher and later as a teaching assistant. This fall, they will begin the University of Waterloo’s Masters of Applied Mathematics (Quantum Information).

Outside of academia, Noseworthy’s life is a rich and varied tapestry of interest and achievement. An elected member of the UNB Board, Senate and Student Union, they are politically active both within the university community and the wider Fredericton area and see politics as a way to leave the world in better condition for the next generation.

In addition to founding and leading the UNB Debate Club, Noseworthy served as executive chair of CHSR Community Radio and was co-host of three shows including a conversational debate show, a video game design show and a horror show.

Noseworthy is in constant search for new opportunities to learn and grow as an individual, and so they have recently dedicated time to nurture their love of singing by taking voice lessons through the UNB Art Centre.

Gaia, please share your story and how you ended up here today.

I come from a very small town of about 2,300 people in Newfoundland called Lewisporte. After I graduated, I applied to three universities: UNB, the University of Toronto (UofT) and the University of Waterloo. I was accepted to all three and offered the Schulich Scholarship at both UNB and UofT.

I chose UNB because of the small class sizes and because it has some of the best double degree programs in all of Canada, and for interdisciplinary studies at the undergraduate level, there is no comparison.

I'm here because I wanted to study a million things.

Tell me (more) about your values. How do they align with your goals and vision for the future?

I think my number one value in the grand sense is building a better community. I value whatever you do that makes a community better for the people who come after you. That was a huge driving force for me.

While I was at UNB I started a few clubs. I led the debate club and I've also run radio shows: a debate show, a game design show and now I’m moving into doing a horror show because, why not? In radio, I get to engage with things outside of my field, which I really enjoy.

I also spent three years on the Student Union (SU) and got to work on a lot of changes. Recently, I spearheaded voting reforms in the SU so that now it's a ranked-choice voting system rather than a single-choice voting system.

So, my big value is building a better community. Even if your environment's great, it can always be greater, right?

How did your UNB experience support or help shape those values?

At UNB, there’s room to bloom. As an undergrad, that is extremely beneficial because you haven’t always found your niche yet.

It’s just that right size that it's big enough that you can do very big things, but it's small enough that you have the ability to explore a lot of different areas. With such a massive variety of options, UNB was right in that sweet spot for me, and I'm very, very thankful for that.

What memory stands out the most from your time at UNB?

I did a student abroad trip to Graz, Austria for two weeks and got to stay in a castle doing political science courses. That was cool and completely out of my wheelhouse.

If I think about UNB visually, I picture the view from the third-floor patio of the Student Union Building. You’re right on top of the hill, looking at the bright green grass and the river in the distance. That's the image in my head when I think about UNB now.

Who are you most inspired by?

Michio Kaku is really interesting because he is an author and physicist who was well-known in his younger years for building a mini particle collider in his garage and knocking out his subdivision's power grid. He has since become a scientific popularizer who writes and talks about science for people who don't do science to help them understand it.

That's what I get inspired to be – someone who communicates ideas, whether on paper, over the radio, through a podcast, or in person.

Do you have one accomplishment that stands out above the rest?

I wrote a political science paper that was published in the journal Off Campus: Seggau School of Thought. I'm immensely proud of that paper because it was originally a seminar paper.

I'm also extremely proud of the radio shows I ran on the university radio station, CHSR. I was on the executive and ran three shows through them. I'm really proud of the skills I built there and the people I met.

If you had a motto, what would it be?

Leonard Bernstein said, “To achieve great things, two things are needed: a plan and not quite enough time.” I think that's very accurate to the university experience.

Who are you now and who will you be in ten years?

I’m a scientist who does a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing. I want that description to be the same in ten years, but instead of scientist for it to be a doctor or professor who does a little bit of everything and a lot of nothing.

What next?

After this, I have plans to go to the University of Waterloo to get a Masters of Applied Mathematics (Quantum Information). I also want to continue developing radio shows and podcasts, but also get into politics. In my time at UNB, I actually ran for political office, though it wasn’t a case of running to win but running to learn.

My big question is, how can I branch out from here? The answer is to look at everything I’ve done and take all of it a step further; to go further in academia, go further in content production, and go further in politics.

Noseworthy will provide their valedictory address in Fredericton on Thursday, May 16 at 2:30 p.m.