LUMS Mathematics Undergraduate Offered PhD Fellowships at Top Universities

Monday, May 2, 2016

Syed Waqar Ali Shah, a student of the class of 2016 at the Department of Mathematics at Syed Babar Ali School of Science and Engineering (SBASSE) has received fully funded PhD offers from Harvard, University of California Berkeley, University of Chicago, Columbia University and a Master’s Fellowship by the University of Cambridge. He recently scored a staggering, best possible 99 percentile on his GRE Mathematics Subject test.

Waqar credits his teachers and their guidance for his phenomenal achievement. In particular, he acknowledged the contribution and influence of Dr. Muhammad Imran Qureshi and Dr. Shaeen Nazir in shaping his research interests in algebraic geometry and algebraic combinatorics. Under the supervision of Dr. Qureshi, Waqar worked on his senior year project on Schubert Calculus on Grassmannian and Flag Varieties. He is now working with Dr. Qureshi on a research project on the Cohomology of Weighted Flag Varieties. “The best thing about Waqar is that he was able to recognise and follow his mathematical interests at the very beginning of his undergraduate years, which helped him make the right choice of courses and projects in the later years of his degree. Algebraic Geometry is an extremely vast and one of the most active areas of research in mathematics and has connections with many other branches of mathematics and science such as Combinatorics, Topology, Analysis, Number Theory, String Theory, Robotics and Biology to name a few. All the departments he got into, host some of the best mathematicians in algebraic geometry, including some Fields medalists,” said Dr. Qureshi. 

“The most impressive part is that not only he has received admission offers with full support, but at Berkeley, Chicago, Columbia and Cambridge he has also been awarded special fellowships which the universities grant to attract the top students among the successful applicants. It was Waqar's hard work, dedication and passion for mathematics which earned him this success,” Dr. Qureshi further added.

Waqar has received the "Berkeley Fellowship" from UC Berkeley - only 7 out of 70 students funded at Berkeley received the award.  At Columbia, he has been awarded the "Dean's Fellowship" and UChicago offered him a named special fellowship.  At Cambridge, he has been awarded the "Trinity External Research Studentship" for his Master's by the prestigious Trinity College. Notably, about one-third of Cambridge’s Nobel laureates and 5 of the 6 Cambridge Fields medalists were or currently are members of Trinity College. 

Under the supervision of Dr. Nazir, Waqar took up a directed research project in algebraic combinatorics on the subject of differential posets. He made significant advances on one of the long-standing conjectures in that area, which ended up in the form of a research article. “His ability to understand complex mathematical ideas quickly makes him standout among his peers. In all honesty, I am not surprised that he got into all of his top choices; he had everything on his application. We are all so proud of him,” said Dr. Nazir. Waqar also mentioned that he greatly benefited from the expertise of Dr. Shamim Arif and Dr. Muhammad Ahsan at different junctures of his undergraduate degree. 

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