She’s a professional golfer splitting time on both the Symetra Tour and LPGA Tour, but something you may not know about Brittany Marchand (Mississauga, Ontario) is that she has a Bachelor of Science in Chemical Engineering from North Carolina State University.
“In high school, I loved math, physics and chemistry. I had great teachers my senior year who encouraged me to pursue a major in engineering,” said Marchand, currently No. 10 in the Volvik Race for the Card standings. “I decided that even though my main focus was golf and I wanted to turn professional, it would be smart for me to pursue a major that I enjoyed. At one point I thought it would have been cool to concentrate in Biomanufacturing, but I knew that a biology-based concentration would have added even more labs to my schedule, which I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish with golf.”
Her degree has been of great value on the course, but especially off it.
In early March, Marchand presented at the Canada 2067 Regional Youth Summit in Calgary. The event is a national initiative to help shape the future of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) in Canada.
Others that spoke include Robert Thirsk, a former astronaut for the Canadian Space Agency and current Chancellor at the University of Calgary, as well as several bright, young students such as Mac Smith, who created a helmet for hockey players that detects concussions.
“My first TED-style talk and it was great to speak to my background and the STEM-based careers in golf,” Marchand said. “I got involved because I wanted to use my degree. I have this great degree and although I’m working towards being a full-time professional on the LPGA, my degree and interest in science and math is very much a part of who I am.”
Engaging youth in STEM is a prominent issue across the entire country of Canada, especially when it comes to young females getting involved and staying involved with women comprising only 22 percent of the STEM workforce.
One of the leaders in promoting STEM to youth and making it appealing to girls is Let’s Talk Science, the top non-profit organization promoting STEM education amongst young people in Canada. They have partnered with more than 30 universities across Canada to conduct STEM clinics with elementary and high school students.
“As ambassadors for Let’s Talk Science, university students go into communities and classrooms to engage youth in STEM-based activities,” said Marchand. “I think it would be amazing to bring STEM to golf, show students just how much math and physics are involved in the game.”
While the former three-time All-ACC selection for the Wolfpack has utilized her studies away from the course to influence and mentor the next generation, Marchand has also found good use when it comes to her game.
“Having a background and understanding of STEM has really allowed me to understand the game at its most fundamental level,” Marchand said. “When I was learning new things growing up, or even when I am learning new things now, it helps me to understand why I am doing certain movements or using a certain technology. I also think that the engineering mindset I learned throughout school has helped me get to where I am now. I always learned how to problem solve and that’s an attitude I try to carry with me in golf.”
Even so, she still finds a way to make it about others.
“I could talk to the projectile motion of the ball, or the friction created by grooves, or the forces your body has to create to hit the ball far,” said Marchand. “With that, you could engage a lot of kids who are very sports-oriented, who might have never thought that math and science could be important to them in their sport. On the flip side, it can show kids that being fit and active is important too.”
To watch Marchand’s talk at the Canada 2067 Regional Youth Summit in Calgary, click here:
To find out more about Marchand, visit her Career Discovery profile at http://explorecuriocity.org/Explore/ArticleId/6275/brittany-marchand-professional-golfer-lpga.aspx