Trevor Stirling

Trevor Stirling

Trevor Stirling

PhD Candidate, Electrical & Computer Engineering


“Graduate school will shape your career for the rest of your life. ”

I completed my BASc in Electrical Engineering at UBC’s Okanagan campus. Throughout my undergrad, my interest was most caught by quantum mechanics, electromagnetics, and semiconductor devices, so I chose to pursue graduate studies in integrated quantum photonics at the University of Toronto.

I specifically study how to design and fabricate integrated lasers that emit entangled pairs of photons. Integrating these lasers onto CMOS-compatible computer chips (chips that can be fabricated in standard semiconductor foundries) will allow them to be scaled and used in a broad range of applications, including as a fundamental building block for quantum computing.

I chose U of T for a variety of factors, including its position as a world leader in research and its access to key resources to carry out this research. The resources and laboratory facilities I have access to as a graduate student are very remarkable, including characterization labs at U of T and fabrication facilities at the University of Waterloo. These facilities are truly state of the art and allow me to build and analyze semiconductor structures atom by atom.

Most of all though, I came here to study under Dr. Amr Helmy, who is pursuing the exact research I am interested in. Graduate school is a large time commitment and will likely shape your career for the rest of your life. Take your time to consider all the options and find the right research and supervisor for you. If you have the opportunity to, I highly recommend visiting the campus to speak to graduate students and your potential supervisor and to see the laboratories and research being done to make sure it is the right atmosphere for you.

The majority of my graduate school funding has come from sources external to the University, primarily from the National Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC). My next three years will be funded by a Vanier CGS [Canada Graduate Scholarship]. I have also been able to draw on other sources such as the SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship. I am extremely grateful for this support, as without it I would not have the freedom to focus on my research and training.

Outside of school, my biggest passion is definitely trampoline. I have competed in the sport since I was 12, and have continued throughout my studies. I find the training complements academic studies really well, allowing me to take a break and release some energy, and actually think more clearly when I return to studying. I also volunteer in the trampoline community in a number of ways, including as judge and as the trampoline representative on the Gymnastics Canada Athlete Commission. Scheduling time for everything can be a challenge, but has also helped me to become very organized and efficient in my work.

Related: Electrical and Computer Engineering.