Start small, dream big: Harvard grad kicked off career at Douglas

By Carly Whetter, Foundation and Alumni Relations

When Douglas alumna Yu-Ru Liu immigrated to Canada from Taiwan in 1993, she discovered her high school transcript was not recognized by many Canadian universities. Fortunately, she found a way to bridge the gap.

“I entered Douglas College to get some college credits to help me get into university,” says Yu-Ru. “I took classes mostly in mathematics, physics and chemistry.”  

She got much more than that. Thanks to the inspiration of her instructors at Douglas, Yu-Ru discovered her passion for the subject she’d eventually teach.

Step by step

“Aubie Anisef inspired me the most,” Yu-Ru says of the long-standing Douglas College mathematics professor. “He showed me Principles of Mathematical Analysis by Walter Rudin, and I started to become interested in pure mathematics.”

In 1995 Yu-Ru transferred her credits from Douglas College to McGill University, where she completed her undergraduate degree in mathematics. From there, she went on to earn her Master’s degree from Queen’s University and then her PhD in Mathematics from Harvard University in 2003.  

Sum of its parts

Today, Yu-Ru is a professor of Pure Mathematics at the University of Waterloo, where she also researches number theory, among other topics. Her experience with her professors at Douglas inspires her to put her students first.

“I hope that I can convey the warmth and enthusiasm that I received from my teachers there to my students at Waterloo,” she says.

And she’s succeeding. Yu-Ru is working to improve the first-year curriculum in the Faculty of Mathematics. She also received the University of Waterloo Mathematics Society’s Instructor of the Year Award in 2011 and the faculty’s Award for Distinction in Teaching in 2013.

Visit the Mathematics page for more information regarding the program.

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