Penticton’s Teagan Phillips is fulfilling a life-long dream and will be attending Cambridge University to pursue a master’s degree this fall.
A self-professed Anglophile, Phillips, 24, applied to both Oxford and Cambridge and got into Cambridge for her master’s degree, and where she hopes she will be spending four years getting her Ph.D. in the philosophy of physics.
“The program at Cambridge is unique in its structure. It is entirely research-based, which I really like,” said Phillips. “Most of the time I will get to research topics that interest me.”
This rare opportunity will allow her to walk the same halls and sit in the same classrooms as some of the greatest minds of our time including Sir Isaac Newton and Stephen Hawking to name a few who are Cambridge alumni.
For Phillips, Cambridge offers the very best in her field of interest.
Cambridge is one of the largest philosophy of physics and science departments in the world and that really appealed to Phillips who already has her Bachelor’s of Science from UBC in Vancouver.
She also earned an Associate of Arts Degree from Okanagan College.
Getting into an elite university like Cambridge is no easy feat and very few from the Okanagan have accomplished that.
While at UBC, Phillips, a Pen Hi grad, started a Young Women For STEM club with the goal of trying to encourage young women to go into sciences and to dispel stereotypes about science.
For example, there is a huge gender disparity in fields like physics, she said.
The club, made up of several female UBC students spoke to high schools across Vancouver about the varied career opportunities in STEM.
“We even got an opportunity to speak at my old school, Pen Hi, in my favourite chemistry teacher’s class,” she said.
But then COVID hit and the volunteer group could no longer do outreach in person.
“We went online instead but actually we ended up getting a much larger reach that way,” she said.
But Phillips isn’t all science. She uses both sides of her brain, heavily involved in dance and theatre.
“My dream job once I have my Ph.D. is to combine my love of acting and host a science-based TV show,” said Phillips. “Or be a science communicator of some sort. That way I can combine all my interests,” she said.
Most likely she will be a professor at a university, researching and teaching, she said.
In her spare time, if there is any, between working and studying, Phillips has been making podcasts in the past year on the history of physics.
“I’ve been listening to podcasts for a decade or more and love them but just never had the time to create my own,” she said. “Then COVID hit and it became the perfect pandemic project.
“It’s been very worthwhile. I’ve enjoyed the whole process of researching, editing and putting the podcasts together.”
She’s already started on season 2. Over the last year, she has also done some online improv with Blind Tiger out of Vancouver, as well as participated in play readings with other Cambridge students.
But now she is busy packing up and planning her new life in England. When she arrives she will stay in student housing on campus. With Oxford nearby, Phillips will be soaking up every minute of her England experience, she said.
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