By Grace Templeton ’22
After falling in love with her “Intro to Computer Science” and “Calculus I” courses as a first-year student, Gabby Trudeau ’21 made Westfield State University history by becoming the first student to declare a double major in computer science and mathematics. Although knowing it would be a lot of work to plan and organize her courses and take a few in the summer and winter sessions, Trudeau still said, “Sign me up.”
The West Springfield native’s passion for computer science runs in her family: Her father Mike Trudeau ’88 graduated from Westfield State as a computer science major and math minor.
“I always like to say I one-upped my father with my double major,” the President’s Award recipient jokes.
Throughout her time at Westfield State, Trudeau was a math tutor and a tour guide.
“Serving as a tour guide has been my favorite and most rewarding community involvement,” she says. “It’s really cool to be such an integral part of prospective students selecting their future college.”
Trudeau has also woven her passion for causes into the lives of those around her.
“The past few springs I organized an American Cancer Society Relay for Life team in honor of my mom, who conquered breast cancer,” she says.
Her academic achievements include receiving the Pasquino-Lavoie Scholarship in 2018 and 2019 and an Alumni Scholarship in 2019. In addition, Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito recognized Trudeau during Polito’s fall 2019 visit to campus as part of a Massachusetts’ STEM week celebration.
Trudeau has showcased insightful and promising goals that will not stop upon her graduation. She dreams to find herself in a career where solving challenging problems is the norm, as she aims to help people and make the world a better place. She believes that mathematics is ever changing, and she cannot wait to tackle some of the world’s leading problems in the process.
“My biggest dream is to become an astronaut, or even to just work for NASA or SpaceX,” she says.
As Trudeau readies herself to attend either a master’s or Ph.D. program for applied mathematics next year, she reflected on her Senior Honors Project with Karin Vorwerk, Ph.D., professor of mathematics, on the different representations of the Fibonacci sequence through graph theory and linear algebra.
“This process has helped me realize how much I enjoy doing research in mathematics,” she says.
Until arriving on the Westfield State campus four years ago, Trudeau had never found herself in an environment where she needed to prove her worth due to her gender.
“As a female in the STEM field, I have had to go above and beyond to be seen on the same level as many of my male classmates,” she explains.
After serving as a student representative for the College of Math and Sciences, Trudeau has begun to foster her dreams of becoming a role model for young prospective STEM students, particularly women. With a newfound confidence in expressing her ideas and thoughts, she has recognized pride in learning to prove herself—to herself.
“Imposter syndrome is real,” Trudeau says, “and most importantly, I’ve learned how to advocate for myself.”