Student Spotlight: Q&A with Mylena

Mylena is one of 8,000 students enrolled in Qubit by Qubit’s Introduction to Quantum Computing

Meet Mylena: a 10th grader enrolled in Introduction to Quantum Computing. She enjoys coding with Python, digital art, playing the piano and much more. This opportunity to learn quantum computing with Qubit by Qubit means the world to her because she gets to learn about things outside of her high school curriculum, learn more about people who are already working in quantum computing (our wonderful instructors), & gets to be part of a young global community of high school students learning about quantum computing.

Why quantum? Why did you sign up for this course?

When I was in middle school, my father, one of my biggest role models, and who worked in STEM (more specifically, operational research and data science), was telling me about some new revolutionary processing of some sort that was called “quantum computing.” Back then, I had no idea what “quantum computing” even meant, and although I had tried googling it, it still seemed too complex for my liking. Two years later, during summer classes, I had taken a course called Career Studies (GLC2O), which was a course required to graduate, and its goal was to help us plan our postsecondary years. By then, I had developed a fondness for mathematics, coding, and physics, so I googled career opportunities that combined those fields. Thus, I encountered the term “quantum computing” once again, and it seemed much more appealing than it had been previously. As I did a little more research on the field, I found out that quantum computing is much more effective than classical computing. Rather than being limited to bits of 0 and 1 and standard Boolean logic, quantum computers use qubits that can be in a ground state (0), an excited state (1), intertwining in entanglement, or even a superposition of both 0 and 1. Thanks to this, qubits would be able to perform large and complex computations that a classical computer with bits wouldn’t be able to perform. A month after the course was over, I decided to start learning more about quantum computing, and I stumbled upon Qubit by Qubit’s website, which offered a free year-long course about computing that would be taught by MIT and Oxford quantum researchers. I was pleasantly surprised because MIT and Oxford were schools of high prestige, and seeing that they were involved in a free program was incredible. Moreover, it seemed amazing that I didn’t even need to have any prior knowledge of quantum computing to apply for the course.

What is it like to be a part of a global quantum community?

Being a part of a global quantum community makes me feel like I will be able to make an impact on society thanks to quantum computing, all while working together with others. It’s truly incredible to see that there are so many students out there that have the same interests as I do, and it means that I will have many opportunities to in the quantum community in the future. Thanks to my weekly lab section, I get to interact with other high school students in the chat! Lastly, being part of such a big community gives me hope that quantum computing will keep flourishing in the coming years and that more people will join us.

What does diversity and accessibility in quantum computing (STEM) mean to you?

Diversity and accessibility in quantum computing are very important aspects that should be valued, as they are crucial to success in any field. To me, the inclusion of everyone is very special, as it allows everyone to come together and offer their strengths, and get their weaknesses covered by others in the team, which would ultimately drive innovation, and make the community grow stronger as a whole. If STEM could be accessible to everyone, it would give people more learning opportunities, and the chance to make a change for the better within their communities. Lastly, when the field is more diverse, it helps emancipate underrepresented communities, and it encourages others from those communities, as well as others, to join the field and achieve amazing things.

What are your current career or academic goals in relation to quantum computing/STEM?

My current academic goals in relation to quantum computing/STEM are to learn more about quantum machine learning and implementing algorithms, maintain my grades on the homework for this course, and finish the app that my friends and I are developing for the Technovation Girls international competition.

What are your favorite applications of quantum that you’ve learned so far or are looking forward to learning more about?

So far, my favorite applications of quantum that I’ve learned are cryptography (especially Quantum Key Distribution, something I researched a little during the summer) and optimization, and I would love to delve into more in-depth explanations of them.

What’s next after this course for you?

After this course, I have many things I would like to do, but one of my priorities would be researching university programs that are relevant to quantum computing in Canadian universities. I will also keep polishing my math skills by participating in various math contests and doing independent studying. In terms of developing transferable skills, I am planning on doing either a summer internship or a year-long internship in STEM. At school, I will do my best to promote quantum computing at my high school and encourage students to join the community. And lastly, I will try making circuit designing (with Arduinos or circuit development software) a new hobby.

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