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16-Year-Old Becomes U of T’s Youngest Graduate Since 1979

An international student, Daniel Honciuc Menendez is set to become the youngest graduate from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences since 1979.

International student Daniel Honciuc Menendez is set to become the youngest graduate from the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences since 1979.

Honciuc Menendez will graduate on Friday with a specialist in physics and a major in mathematics with high distinction, making him the youngest to achieve this milestone since the university began tracking such records.

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Originally from Ecuador, Honciuc Menendez first visited Canada at age 11 in 2019 to participate in a summer program in theoretical physics at the Perimeter Institute in Waterloo. Reflecting on the experience, he said, “I’d known for a long time that I wanted a career in physics, but it was in this program that I learned for sure that this was what I wanted to do with my life.”

At just 12 years old, he was accepted by twelve institutions across the U.S., Ecuador, and Canada. He chose the University of Toronto, receiving a U of T International Scholars Award, and began his undergraduate studies at University College.

Honciuc Menendez has a strong interest in quantum information and high-energy physics. “I’m interested in quantum information and high-energy physics,” he shared.

For his next steps, he has secured a full scholarship from the European Union to pursue a master’s of science in physics with a concentration in quantum science and technology. This program will take place over two years at Sapienza University of Rome in Italy, Université Paris-Saclay in France, and finally at U of T.

“I’ll be taking courses and developing my career in quantum technology in academia and industry, exploring the interdisciplinary possibilities of the quantum science landscape, including in high-energy physics, medicine, cybersecurity, and finance,” he explained. “Later, I want to pursue a PhD in physics where I can go deeper into the intersection between quantum information and high-energy physics.”

Honciuc Menendez credits his success to his mother, who has been a constant source of strength and inspiration. “All of this would not have been possible without the unconditional support from my mother, a single mom who has been my constant source of strength and inspiration, and who accompanied me as I pursued my studies in Canada,” he said.

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