Help me study physics in London!

$9,717 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 58 people in 8 months
Created May 18, 2018
My name is Anwyn Woodyatt and I'm a 19 year old student from Vancouver Island, Canada, raising the funds to study for a 4 year MSc Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London. 

I need to reach 50 000 people willing and able to offer me $1 to make first year possible. 

Words cannot express my gratitude for any and all support sent my way.  Thank you to all. 

I am passionate about theoretical physics and I want to pursue it to the best of my ability so I can give back as much as possible (see "What after the degree"). Growing up in a trade-savvy town, I was initially discouraged to do so because it is not a career many would consider ‘realistic’. However, my response was, “I will study overseas, have a PhD by 27, and one day, with much dedication and persistence, walk on Mars, solve the biggest climate change problems, and elucidate the Big Bang.” I am sure you are grinning as my teachers did, but I assure you that my determination makes these statements fact.

After graduation last June, I took a gap year to apply to universities in the UK. In December 2017, I flew to London, England for an interview at Imperial College London, a university ranked at #8 in the world. I am proud to say that hard work pays off and I managed to receive an offer to study MSc Theoretical Physics there, to start September 2018. Imperial is an accelerated and specialized program, better suiting my dedicated and invested learning style, further enabling me to give back to my community and country sooner. I overcame many obstacles independently to receive such a letter, and there were endless learning experiences along the way. It is my intent to study there, but an unfortunate obstacle is stopping me from acting on it — one I cannot overcome alone. The financial cost of studying overseas is simply unattainable within my family. After all, having British citizenship is futile as fees are based on residency; this means I must pay full international fees. Even more, my residency position does not qualify me for any loans, grants, bursaries or scholarships for use in the UK at the start of study, other than StudentAid BC which does not cover enough. With all funds available to me considered, I am still looking at an approximate $50k difference to make first year possible. I have until 7 June to accept my offer with confidence that I can financially support it.

I want to prove that passion is more powerful than statistics, so should I reach more people than needed, I will use additional funds and my experience to remove the obstacles for others with a dream.


What after the degree? 
After obtaining a Master of Physics, I plan to continue onto a PhD. Graduate degrees in physics provide many career options — the ultimate being the first Canadian astronaut on Mars! Although dreaming of working in physics research at Canada’s own Perimeter Institute, I have several other ambitions. A notable one is my commitment to sustainability and environmental engineering. Building and sustaining a green environment is a top priority of mine, both through innovative engineering and collecting and analysing data as a physicist. As well, a passion for the film industry and education creates opportunities in science communication. Perhaps from my passion in equine and veterinary science, I will even find myself working in the medical physics field. My goal in life is not money nor titles, simply contributing as much positivity as I can to the world while challenging the impossible. The community that raised me is a family that made me believe in big things, but also that no dream or title is more important than being kind to others. 

What is my education story?
My ambitions are big, and my determination has led to a journey of challenge, failure, growth and reward. 

I have overcome many obstacles independently to get where I am today, and I have much more to offer beyond this one.  My high school does not offer IB (International Baccalaureate) or AP (Advanced Placement) programs. Such opportunities are only found in private schools or city public schools, and are very important – if not mandatory – for most prestigious university applications. Further, without access to STEM clubs or extracurriculars, I had to create a competitive profile the best I could on my own. My situation placed me behind the dreamers who, having a similar level of passion as I, were able to develop themselves further academically due to different, more advantageous, educational opportunities. Nevertheless, I did everything in my power to do the very best I could. 

Hard work pays off. By the time I was graduated high school, I was awarded the nationally prestigious Governor General’s award and Schulich Leader nomination, as well as a Top Academic Science Award. I was accepted into the Perimeter Institute's International Summer School for Young Physicists (ISSYP) as one of forty students from around the world. Despite my school not offering the coding language Python, I was determined to learn it anyway and apply it in class. Consequently, I developed data analytic skill and overcame many advanced coding challenges through my own perseverance and research skills. 

Since awarded a Soaring Association of Canada bursary, I attained my glider licence after two months of training. Hence, I had to master a side to applied physics demanding meteorology knowledge, good judgement, control under pressure, and instinct and full trust in physics. Understanding physics was the only method to safely land in engineless plane! Placing 4th against competitors with Bachelors’ at the Canadian Pony Club National Quiz gave me a veterinary perspective on biophysics. For many years, I have volunteered my time as an equine science educator through my local region of the Canadian Pony Club. Thus, I must exemplify ethics, compassion, responsibility and humbleness – qualities important in both raising a 1200lb child (some call it a horse) and working in science. With an initiative to build a green future, I presented to Town Council on sustainability concerns and ideas from my own initiative, shared at a youth's perspective on banning plastic bags at a public event, and introduced a climate scientist at a Vancouver Island University sustainability event. 

Why study in England? 
The main differences between the English and Canadian undergraduate degrees are in their design. Firstly, Canadian bachelor degrees take a minimum of four years to complete, though most students opt to extend their study period to lessen their schedule intensity. Master degrees are two to three years in length. In comparison, English bachelor degrees take three years to complete, and an additional year (integrated MSc program) results in a master’s degree four years out of high school. The English system specializes right from the beginning and is accelerated; therefore, a shorter degree length is possible. Additionally, the knowledge gained on a specific topic is much more in depth, and the  intensive programs are much like my learning style. For an undergraduate in Canada, I could obtain a Bachelor of Science with a Physics Major. In comparison, I could ultimately graduate with a Bachelor or Master of Science Physics with Theoretical Physics at Imperial College London; some British universities call the degree a Bachelor/Master of Theoretical Physics. 

The unique quality of British education comes from the tutoring system. At the beginning of the program, each student is assigned to a personal tutor. In groups up to three, tutorials allow students to deepen their understanding of the lecture topics with their tutor. The in depth discussions allow students to learn through thought processes resembling research. Having experienced it in my interview at Imperial College London, I can confidently say that the research based style is immensely beneficial in expanding intelligence from strictly "book smarts".

Almost ironic in a way, extended time in the workforce due to shorter degrees would allow me to work off the difference from international student fees and then some. And the specialization factor would enable me offer more to the world as a physicist. I am determined to do my best, and England is where I will be challenged to do so. 

Why Imperial College London? 
Imperial College London, a university for engineering, science, medicine and business, is consistently ranked in the world’s top eight universities (QS World University Rankings 2018/ The Times Higher Education World University Rankings 2018) and top in the UK for career prospects (The Guardian University Guide 2018). It is a highly diverse university with world class staff and many international connections. 

The physics courses are uniquely designed. Mathematics and modern physics are of utmost importance. Notably, Imperial requires you to take a credit titled “Professional Skills” each year which strengthens your professional experience. Third and fourth year also have a business credit option. The BSc Physics is designed to cover the essentials of the degree by the end of the second year, thus providing flexibility in the third year to overlap with MSci Physics courses. Furthermore, the Theoretical Physics course ups the level of mathematics from a general physics course — a very competitive skill to have when looking for careers in theoretical research.

While at Imperial, I was very impressed with the quality of education, lifestyle, and personal support given by staff. For example, chalkboards are used instead of projector screens to slow the lecture pace down for more efficient information intake. Yet, most notable is the fact that all undergraduate and graduate physics lectures, seminars, labs and tutorials are hosted in one building — the Blackett Laboratory. Whether you are a first year of graduating PhD, everyone is together to help each other.  And of course, Imperial humbly sits in the heart of London!

Why physics?
Stephen Hawking once said, “Look up at the stars and not down at your feet; be curious.” Little does he know the depth to which he inspired a specific eighth grader. I ask questions until there are no more questions to ask. Eventually, my cosmological questions no longer had answers, despite how hard I researched. For someone as stubborn as myself, accepting stupidity is not an option. And so, I began thinking, and physics became my motivation. 

Why physics and not engineering?  I like understanding how everything works, but more importantly why it does. Engineers apply “how”; physicists ask “why”.
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Update 2
Posted by Anwyn Woodyatt
6 months ago
I know that many of you have been anxiously awaiting an update from me: What are my plans? Where will I be going? Some since June seventh, if you were not aware that my decision deadline was extended two weeks. Well, I can finally report that I have made a decision — one some of you may agree with, and some of you may not. Either way, I hope you can support me and respect my decision.

But first, I should say my thank-yous. I will be forever humbled by the kindness sent my way this past month. Since initiating the GoFundMe, I have received the most heartwarming and encouraging messages of support and the most selfless donations, from family, friends, and strangers turned friends alike. To everyone, I say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Thank you for your words, sharing my story, and donating even when you did not have any extra to give. My heart is overflowing with love and appreciation. Unfortunately, despite our endless efforts, not enough was raised to make studying in London possible this year.

I have weighed the pros and cons of both options I was left with — studying in Toronto this September or taking a second year off school — and taken many opinions from both sides into consideration. The right decision for me was not made lightly, and that decision was to follow my gut feeling and take a second “gap year”. I am calling this my “fill year”. Considering my first year was an untraditional gap year spent under a lot of stress, the reason for this year is to focus on my health and happiness. Moreover, it is not a year “off”. It is a year to become more prepared — financially, academically, and mentally. I have set my goals and made a plan full of challenge, improvement, creativity and positive impact. I will not walk into the classroom next year behind, but ahead in many ways.

The funds raised on GoFundMe and privately have been secured in a fundraising-specific bank account and they will not be touched until my UK studies commence. Should that be next year or for my postgraduate, they will remain there, untouched, until then. I will also leave the fundraiser open for when the opportunity to study in the UK comes. Lastly, I understand and fully respect that some of you may not support my decision. If this is so and you would like your donation refunded, please contact me (via the envelope “Contact the Organizer” icon on my campaign main page) and I will refund you.

Thank you again and much love,

Anwyn x
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Update 1
Posted by Anwyn Woodyatt
7 months ago
We made the local news!!

Insanely humbled and appreciative of the support sent my way so far. Whether it is your kind wishes or financial aid, I have never felt so loved and thankful. To the strangers of unknown situations offering me what could be all they have, and to the family and friends who I know are being much too generous: thank you. We are off to a great start! ❤️
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$9,717 of $50,000 goal

Raised by 58 people in 8 months
Created May 18, 2018
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