Even coming from a Brazilian summer, the winter weather did not dampen Dr. Karina Mochetti’s enthusiasm when she arrived in Vancouver on November, 2019. That’s because the Brazilian native had just spent the past two years preparing for her first day on the job within the UBC Computer Science department.
In Brazil, Karina completed her PhD at UNICAMP in Campinas (and completed part of it in Paris at the École Normale Supérieure), did a 6-month internship at Google and then worked for four years at UFF (Universidade Federal Fluminese) in Rio de Janiero. She also attained the Google Brazil Women in Technology Award in 2009. But it wasn’t until 2017 that she began seeking opportunities abroad to suit her teaching methodologies and passion for research within the teaching profession. She applied in 2019 for an instructor position with Computer Science at UBC.
Fast forward to November last year, and Karina had accomplished her goal.
She was keen on UBC, because “Teaching methods are highly valued here,” Karina explains. “There is a sincere desire by everyone to be a better professor, and to help others become better professors.”
Karina has been co-teaching CS 103 (Introduction to Systematic Program Design) since January. Her longer-term plan is to have UBC undergrad students working on and contributing to KDE Education, a community that provides open source software to facilitate better teaching applications for desktop and portable computing. Karina was working with this group in Brazil.
She will also be busy co-creating a Computer Security course for the department over the summer, alongside professor Robert Xiao. “Computer security has become such an important part of computing,” Karina says. The course will be added to the curriculum for January, 2021.
She is also extremely passionate about empowering girls and women to enter the field of computer science. In Brazil, data reveals a very low female contingent (only 11% of CS students are women at UFF).
Learning the CODE
When Karina saw the incredible diversity and inclusion within the computer science department and all over campus at UBC, she was thrilled. She had made great efforts in Brazil to change mindsets, but it was slow and laborious. Here, through specific and organized action and groups, like UBC’s CODE (Committee for Outreach, Diversity and Equity), Mochetti is happy she will be able to make a bigger difference for women.
As for keeping busy outside of UBC, Karina’s two dogs (Milly and Puppy) keep her company as she explores and gets to know the region.