Marta Skreta

PhD student at U of T & the Vector Institute for AI | 2014 Scholar

GETTING THE SCHOLARSHIP
“The scholarship was invaluable because until then, I didn’t know how I was going to pay for school. When I got the congratulations email, I was walking in from my porch, which I had done a thousand times, only now my life had changed. I don’t know how winning the lottery feels, but it must feel like that. I will never forget it!”

HOW IT STARTED

“My dad set me up on the computer when I was four years old. I loved to play games and watch movies online. It was then that I fell in love with the idea of a computer!”

Born 1992, Toronto. Eyewear Model 😎

"My Polish heritage was a big part of my life. I’d hear about people like Marie Curie, and she got me excited about chemistry. I've always had an affinity for understanding how we can shape molecules, it was a natural choice for me to study it!"

HOW IT'S GOING

"Now I am working on my Masters in Computer Science. I’m combining chemistry and computer science because both are so powerful in our time (especially now with AI becoming popular in chemistry!) We can use both to drive discovery of chemicals and their reactions, and make automatic labs like from a sci-fi movie!"

“I’m also working on a project focused on greener chemical reactions. We can develop them for so many things, like energy storage and agriculture. With climate change becoming a bigger issue, we need chemical reactions that are less wasteful and produce by-products that aren’t harmful to the environment.”
“You need creativity to be a good scientist. In my spare time, I love movie editing and graphic design. I always thought I had to put myself in a box, like I'm a scientist or journalist or musician, but they all go hand in hand-it's about diligence and discipline, so never stop your other passions❤️!”

MARTA'S MAGIC

FIND MENTORS

I had an advisor at school that I could always go to for great advice. She taught me that self-doubt prevents people from doing what they desire. I wouldn’t have received the scholarship without her!

BRING ON FAILURE

A lot of things have worked out but it’s not until recently, that I’ve experienced hard failures. I'm like, holy crap, this sucks! But it's so good for character development. Embrace rejection as much as do your successes, otherwise you're not going to learn and grow as a person!

KEEP IT REAL

I see many young people posting beautiful photos of themselves and of the great things they are achieving. I sometimes think, ‘I want to be like that'. But as soon as I start comparing myself to other people, it's over. There's no point, because they are posting a highlight reel. You're not seeing everything that goes on behind the scenes, like the real struggles and failures.

START SOMETHING

Computer science is a lot more hyped up so a lot more women are doing it- but we still need more. My friends and I started a coding camp for high school girls and non-binary students who have not had experience coding. We show them the basics, give them a bite sized taste for what coding is and encourage their interests to pursue more!

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