21 December 2017
Student Profile

Influential Internships – Sara Turcotte

Sara Turcotte

Photo : Photo fournie

Sara Turcotte finished her bachelor’s degree in physics in 2017, but had already decided before she graduated that she would pursue a master’s degree. How did she choose her path?

Her first real initiation to science was in Grade 11 with her physics and chemistry courses, which convinced her to take the Natural Sciences program at Cégep de Sherbrooke, a general and vocational college. The college gave her the opportunity to have a highly enriching scientific experience.

A college research project steered her course

Sara took part in a research project that aimed to characterize the light pollution on two astronomical sites in Argentina. The project ran throughout the second year of her program. “The professor encouraged students to apply. I was part of this group. I was curious and wanted to learn more, so I applied and was selected. We spent two weeks in the field, taking measurements on site, and then we analyzed the data and wrote an article that was published.”

Not only did this experience provide educational benefits, it also had a major influence on Sara’s decision to study physics at Université de Sherbrooke. “That’s what made me decide to go into physics. We built a spectrometer for the project. So I contributed directly to the research, from designing the measurement tool to writing the report. The work methods used in this discipline are some of the elements that influenced my choice of program.”

Internships helped her decide

During her undergraduate degree in physics, Sara completed her first internship in geophysics. Her two following internships were part of an IQ student project with Julien Camirand Lemyre and Samuel Boutin, under the supervision of Professor Garate and Professor Pioro-Ladrière. “My internships allowed me to experience several different areas of research related to physics, from geophysics and quantum information science to quantum materials. These experiences were extremely beneficial to me—they are what pushed me to pursue higher education,” says Sara.

Outside labs and classrooms

Sara does synchronized swimming. “We are the Université de Sherbrooke team and one day we would like to be part of the Vert et Or. As I advance in my academic program, it’s easier for me to organize my workload to strike a balance between sports and my studies.” Sara is also a coach for the synchronized swimming club Les Améthystes de Sherbrooke.

Onward to higher education

After completing three internships, Sara decided to continue her studies and do a master’s degree. Here’s how Sara sums up the project she’s conducting under the supervision of Professor Michel Pioro-Ladrière at the Institut quantique:

“My master’s project involves inducing superconductivity in a two-dimensional electron gas of a semiconductor heterostructure. The goal of this work is to set up some preliminary experimental elements required to study Majorana bound states in a two-dimensional electron gas.”

Welcome to the IQ, Sara Turcotte—there are many more amazing discoveries in store for you!

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