A rising star: Undergrad CS student Sarah Wilson is making an impact in her first term

Thursday, February 9, 2023

When Sarah Wilson graduated high school a year early and started in the Computer Science program at Waterloo, there were big expectations. As a high school student, Sarah was elected as a student trustee for the Waterloo Catholic District School Board, served as chair of the Ontario Student Voice Awards with the Ontario Student Trustee Association, and volunteered in several community roles.

She won the prestigious Schulich Leader Scholarship as she began at Waterloo for her community involvement and potential for innovative research and entrepreneurship.

Now, having just completed her first term of studies, Sarah (centre in photo) is already making waves.

photo of Sarah Wilson in lab

She has recently been named a winner of the Leading Women, Leading Girls, Building Communities award for her work at breaking down barriers for women and promoting equality and diversity. The award is to be presented by Waterloo MPP Catherine Fife.

Sarah was part of a team that recently won first prize in the Scotiabank Data Science Discovery Days, which she describes as a hackathon with an AI twist. She and her team created a transaction fraud detection model with new insights on credit card fraud prevention methods.

She attended the NASA Space Apps Challenge, the largest space and science hackathon in the world where her team advanced to a run-off round of Global Nominees.

And there’s more. Sarah teamed up with fellow Schulich Leader Jason Amri and became VP for sales and marketing of the eco-startup 3cycle, a company tackling the urgent problem of global plastic waste. She became a first-year representative on MathSoc and a member of MathSoc’s board of directors. And she graduated from being a participant in hackathons to becoming an esteemed judge at the recent Deltahacks 9 hosted by McMaster University.

“I’ve come to realize that no matter how young you are, you can still make an impact on the world,” Sarah says. “Being at Waterloo, I’ve found so many ways to get involved. It’s been challenging, and it’s allowed me to try things that I’m not necessarily good at.”

Read the full article about Sarah’s accomplishments on Waterloo News. 

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