The University of Winnipeg



Seeing the world differently with quantum chemistry

This profile is part of our Education with Impact series. Find out how you can make a difference by studying chemistry at The University of Winnipeg here.

Megan Rutherford’s quantum chemistry journey started in a roundabout way. After initially declaring as a biochemistry major, taking time off school to travel, and working with exploited youth in Manitoba, Rutherford returned to UWinnipeg and took a course called Atoms, Molecules, and Spectroscopy. 

“This introductory course in quantum chemistry opened my eyes to an entirely different way of viewing the world,” she said. “It was then that I gained valuable laboratory experiences as I took more and more chemistry courses.”

Following this path has allowed her to engage in several high profile research projects as an undergraduate student. In particular, her work with Dr. Chris Wiebe — UWinnipeg’s Tier II Canada Research Chair in Quantum Materials Discovery — and the University’s Quantum Materials Research Group has helped Rutherford explore her passion for experimental condensed matter physics and solid state chemistry.

In 2017, she took an opportunity to study crystallography and large scale facilities in Grenoble, France. While abroad, she was invited to participate in a two-week internship at the Institut Laue-Langevin, a world-class neutron scattering facility. 

“These events helped to mould me into the student that I am today, and gave me the tools that I need to pursue a career in a field that I may never have even known about had I not attended The University of Winnipeg,” she said, adding that she plans to pursue graduate studies in condensed matter physics.

Rutherford is one of this year’s recipients of UWinnipeg’s 2018 Sir William Stephenson Scholarship, which is awarded to two students annually who have a record of achieving academic success and demonstrating extensive community service and volunteerism.