Fraser McLeod received an award for his academic achievement at this year’s USask Indigenous Student Achievement Awards, which took place on March 6. (Photo: Nicole Denbow)

USask double honours student has passion for volunteering

“Follow your interests,” says award-winning student Fraser McLeod.


McLeod is a proud Métis citizen in his final semester of a double honours degree in computer science and mathematics. He has accomplished many things during his university career: every year he’s attended the University of Saskatchewan (USask) he has been named to the Dean’s Honour List and was named an Academic All-Canadian during his time as a Huskie student-athlete playing soccer.

More recently, McLeod received an award for his academic achievement at this year’s USask Indigenous Student Achievement Awards (ISAA), which took place on March 6. Indigenous students from across the university were honoured at a ceremony to recognize their academic achievement, community engagement, leadership, research endeavours, or resiliency.

The ISAA is part of Indigenous Achievement Week (IAW), which celebrates the successes and contributions of Métis, First Nations and Inuit students, staff and faculty at USask.

We asked McLeod a few questions about his time at USask and what motivates him.

Is there someone in your life who inspired you to get where you are today? 

Both of my parents have been extremely supportive throughout my academic journey and always inspired me to be a life-long learner. Additionally, I've been deeply influenced by several professors whose passion and expertise in their respective fields have left a lasting impression on me.

What are your goals for the future? 

I aspire to continue learning and gaining expertise in the theory and application of technology. Ultimately, I aspire to become a leader in this field, leveraging technology to affect positive change.

If you were to give a first-year undergraduate student advice about attending post-secondary school, what would you tell them?

Get involved in as much as you can! I have found that extra-curricular teams and student groups have been immensely rewarding. Furthermore, for me, they have yielded many great connections and opportunities.

Pursue the activities and courses that interest you and don’t be afraid to change your path! I entered university as a business student but changed to computer science and then again to math and computer science after taking elective courses in these areas that I really enjoyed. Moreover, at USask you have a lot of choice in your non-degree courses, so pursue classes you think are interesting (even if they may be more work). You get out what you put in. Consistently, I have found that the courses, relationships, and activities that I have given the most too, have in return yielded the most as well. Progress and success can come slowly, so be patient. For me, positive outcomes have usually followed consistent commitment over long periods of time.

You are involved in a lot; a student, a tutor, and a teaching assistant. How do you balance everything?

Organization is key! I rely on weekly schedules to manage assignments and commitments, allocating specific time slots for each activity. Prioritizing family, friends, and personal well-being is equally crucial, as it ensures I remain energized and motivated in my many pursuits.

You are receiving this award for academic achievement. What does success in academics mean to you?

It means a great deal. Over my undergraduate degree I have been very dedicated to my studies and pushed myself to do as well as possible. So, it is wonderful to receive recognition for my efforts.

What are you most proud of in your work in quantum computing, and why?

I am very proud of the ideas and algorithms I have come up with throughout the research process. I feel immense pride to be tackling problems that currently have not been addressed in the literature. I am very grateful for my supervisor, Dr. Debajyoti Mondal (PhD), who has been a great mentor and facilitator throughout. 

You spend a lot of time teaching and tutoring. What do you love about this kind of work?

I love a lot of things about teaching. I find it very rewarding to help students grasp a new concept or get through a challenging problem. I also find it very fun to think of different ways to approach and explain concepts. Moreover, I have always found enjoyment in learning, and I like to be able to share that with others.

Is there anything else you’d like to share? 

On a final note, I'm excited to share that I'm actively involved in organizing the AISES (American Indian Science and Engineering Society) Regional Conference in Saskatoon from May 3rd to May 5th. Having recently attended the AISES National Conference, I was inspired by the talented individuals I encountered and eagerly anticipate the upcoming event in our city.

Together, we will work towards Truth and Reconciliation. We invite you to join by supporting Indigenous achievement at USask.