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Megumi Harada

Megumi's Biography

Megumi Harada is currently an Associate Professor and Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at McMaster University, in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Previously, she was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto. She obtained her Ph.D. from the University of California at Berkeley, and graduated summa cum laude with a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from Harvard University.

Megumi is active in research in pure mathematics, specifically in symplectic geometry (the mathematical framework for classical physics) and algebraic geometry (the study of solutions of sets of polynomial equations). She has supervised the research of many undergraduate and graduate students as well as postdoctoral fellows. She is also active in organizing workshops and conferences at both a national and international level at research institutes such as the Hausdorff Institute in Bonn, Germany, at the Banff International Research Station in Banff, Canada, and the Mathematisches Forschungsinstitut Oberwolfach in Oberwolfach, Germany. She is a member of the Women in Mathematics committee of the Canadian Mathematical Society and has organized many events which support and encourage young women to pursue careers in mathematics and other STEM fields.

I love interacting with other mathematicians, and working collaboratively on solving research problems.

I am the mother of 2 small children (aged 4 and 1 presently), so if I am not doing research, then I am spending time with my children!

To link the needs for, and opportunities and benefits from space services to the technologies available or under development, and to build connections between different stakeholder organizations in the government, industry and academic world to create the appropriate foundation to make things happen.

Mentors have been absolutely crucial for me throughout my career. Indeed, as a young woman aspiring to be a mathematician, I would NOT have “stuck with it” without the constant strong encouragement from female mentors and role models. I was lucky to have such mentors throughout my career— as an undergraduate at Harvard, as a graduate student at Berkeley, and also as a postdoc at the University of Toronto. As a consequence, I am a strong believer in the need of young women for active mentoring and positive role models, which is why I am involved in the Women in Mathematics committee at the Canadian Mathematical Society.

My advice for young women (and to young men) is to stop worrying about “talent” or “ability” and concentrate on the “here and now”: in essence, accomplish the task in front of you (e.g. preparing for an oral defense, or a job talk).

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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