Graduating with an honours Bachelor of Computer Science
How did you pick your major of study, and why did you choose the University of Windsor?
I had a knack for computers and technology and I loved video games. Although my dreams of becoming a video game developer were never realized, I found a field that became more interesting to me through co-operative education. It was the field of data management and data visualization, and with my skills as a programmer I've been lucky to work on some great projects at IBM with data visualizations. I chose Windsor because of the program and because it offered competitive scholarships. Furthermore, it didn’t make sense to leave the comfort of living at home and go into debt somewhere else.
What were your expectations of university? Has the University of Windsor met those expectations?
The only thing I knew for certain was that it was going to be more difficult and the tasks would be challenging. There is more on the line when attending university — more time, more money — so I had to be better with my time management. I expected pressure, but it didn't materialize the way I thought it would — at least not until exams rolled around. The pressure got easier to handle after the first few semesters, though. I also expected co-op to hook me up with a sweet job after graduating, and in part they did; as I will explain later, I had to take the steps to secure that job myself.
What would you say is the most important thing you have learned at university: about yourself, about other people, about your field of study, or about the world?
I definitely learned to see issues through other peoples' eyes, especially with such hot topics as abortion rights, God's existence, political extremism, and gay marriage. There was even a debate between Ron Jeremy and a psychology Ph.D. on the impact of pornography held a few years ago in the CAW Student Centre. I also became aware of injustices happening in the world, although I'm not sure how much came from my university experience or from just growing up and having my world perspective expand to more than just Windsor. I also learned more about the ability to vote and to just make a difference in the world.
What would you say has been the most memorable part of your UWindsor experience?
The final ceremony of the 2006 Canadian University Science Games. They had announced the third and second place winners, and the Windsor team was thinking we couldn't have gotten first place, thinking, “Alright guys, pack it in.” When they announced UWindsor as coming in first, it was like a grenade went off: there was a flash and the room was silent for a moment. We had not even been paying attention, and so we all looked up in surprise to see the announcer looking at our tables with his hand open towards us. Then, the rush of sound snapped back into the room, and there was screaming and jumping as we rushed to the stage and raised our winning plaque in the air.
Please tell us why you are proud to be part of the University of Windsor’s graduating class of 2011.
That's a hard question — what would you say here if asked during your graduation? I guess I'm proud to be part of an alumni family of 100,000 people who have come before me. This is kind of a special year to be graduating: they are honouring 100 special students and I get to be one of them.
Did you have a course, professor or classmate who inspired you?
Dr. Goodwin of Computer Science. He is a prime example of someone who went after his aspirations and achieved respect in his area. He plays games for a living! His research is in video games and artificial intelligence. It’s very hands-on cool. You don’t hear or see that every day.
What are your plans following graduation?
I kind of jumped the bullet there! I had co-oped at IBM in 2008, and I technically quit school for 16 months during the 2009-2010 year for a second internship at IBM. I was off the record from school, but my department advisor said my marks were outstanding and that I could return when I was ready. I was already given a job with IBM when I left them last year to return to UWindsor and complete my last five electives. Coming back actually felt redundant at that point, because I felt like I'd already proven that I'd mastered the art of taking courses. I was ready for real world challenges. It was a frustrating time, too, hearing what my team at IBM was accomplishing while I was sitting in first year courses unrelated to my field or to my studies.
Right now, I'm living in Toronto and I'm employed by IBM as an IT Information Management Developer. I specialize in databases, business intelligence, and data visualization. I really enjoy the work that I do at IBM. It’s a very prestigious company, and they just built a computer that beat the best human Jeopardy players. I also get to work with cool technologies like Radio Frequency Identification [RFID] scanners and tags.