Maya Burhanpurkar

Student and Researcher in Waterloo, Ontario, Canada

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Maya will begin undergraduate studies at Harvard in the fall of 2017 in Engineering Physics and Computer Science. Currently on a gap year, Maya was part of a team at the Institute for Aerospace Studies at the University of Toronto developing a self-driving wheelchair to assist people with severe physical disabilities, in which she wrote novel code for autonomous traversal of a narrow doorway. She is currently working at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics as part of the team working toward solving one of the most enigmatic mysteries in astrophysics – the source and cause of cosmic Fast Radio Bursts. She also currently serves as a Fellow at MaRS Discovery District in Toronto working as part of a team developing a new educational artificial intelligence platform.

As an advocate for climate change awareness, Maya traveled to the Arctic to produce an open source documentary about climate change featuring author Margaret Atwood, astronaut Chris Hadfield, famed explorer Wade Davis, and Nobel Laureate Brad Bass. The documentary “400PPM” was recently awarded the prestigious international Gloria Barron Prize. As an advocate for girls in STEM, she has also served as the President of a national non-profit which provides science outreach to over 120,000 youths across Canada. Passionate about educational reform, she has been an advisor to the Minister of Education and as a Trustee of her public school board.

For her work, she has twice won the Grand Platinum award at Canada’s national science fair, represented Canada at the Intel International Science Fair, and taken honors at the Google International Science Fair. She was also named one of Canada’s “Top 20 Under 20”, the national Brescia Emerging Female Leader of the Year (presented by actor Gena Davis), Ontario’s Junior Citizen of the Year, and was presented with the international Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee medal. In 2016 she was inducted into her high school’s Wall of Honour.

  • Work
    • Perimeter Institute
  • Education
    • Harvard University