Alumni Stories

“When I was in secondary school, I would have never thought of going into computer science,” says Homa Javahery. “I messed around on computers, but I was always interested in health sciences and there are a couple of doctors in my family, so I thought I’d go into medicine.”

Attending McGill University in the mid-1990s, Homa studied human nutrition and supported herself by working in a diabetes research lab, where she found a...

A focus on finding a direct route to a meaningful outcome seems a distinctive characteristic of Sohrab Shah’s life and work to date. As an undergrad in biology at Queen’s University, he had little knowledge of computers, but he figured out how to use them anyway to develop multi-media tutorials “functioning as souped-up lab manuals,” he notes, to help other students have a better understanding of biological diversity. After graduating from...

When Elena Kholondyreva was 10 years old, she had a hankering for a Barbie-styled dollhouse. In her hometown of Minsk, Belarus, where the average annual income is less than $1,500, such dollhouses simply didn’t exist. So Elena decided to build one. “But it was a house with a difference,” she says laughing. “I completely wired it with electricity and had a little 10-switch panel that controlled the lighting in all of the rooms. It even had a...

“Why do things in life if you’re not going to engage?” asks David Greer rhetorically, and if you talk for more than five minutes with him you’ll realize there are definitions to the verb to engage that are as yet unexplored by Merriam-Webster. For David, a 1980 UBC grad, computer scientist, entrepreneur and married father of three teenagers, engagement seems synonymous with hyper-intelligent professional focus, ferocious...

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