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WiCS Panel on Meaningful Careers in Computing

GE Canada sponsored the WiCS Panel on Meaningful Careers in Computing in November. In case you missed the panel, we compiled a summary of our panelists’ careers and insights in diverse fields including: healthcare, education, digital forensics, infrastructure, and cybersecurity.

If you are interested in speaking at our next panel on Meaningful Careers in Computing in November, please contact wics@uwaterloo.ca for more details.

Jennie An, Campus Programs Lead, GE (Panel Moderator)

Jennie An is a Campus Programs Lead at GE. She works with many universities and students to help them prepare for a career. Jennie focused on the importance of soft skills, even in a technical job. She explained that companies are looking to hire employees who have excellent technical skills and can also communicate well and work effectively in a team.

Dr. Daniel Zikovitz, Senior Solutions Architect, GE Healthcare

Dr. Daniel Zikovitz is a Senior Solutions Architect at GE Healthcare. He has worked in many fields, including at the Department of Defence, an aeronautical company, and in cloud software. Daniel moved to GE and now focuses on improving operations and connecting devices in hospitals, using consulting frameworks, analysis, modelling and simulation. His advice is to take advantage of the vast career opportunities in Canada – especially in Toronto and Kitchener-Waterloo.

Dr. Cecille Freeman, Software Engineer, Google

Dr. Cecille Freeman works as a software engineer at Google. She spoke about Google’s efforts to reach the next billion users, particularly in developing countries. To achieve this, Google is working on democratizing technology and making the newest tech accessible to everyone, not just wealthy citizens of developed countries. Cecille offered some great advice for success: know your stuff, stand your ground with your team, and have confidence in your work.

Dr. Kate Larson, Associate Professor, University of Waterloo

Dr. Kate Larson is an Associate Professor at the University of Waterloo and is affiliated with the Artificial Intelligence Group. She enjoys that her work spans from the theoretical to the applied. One of her favourite applied projects is working with firefighters across the country to optimize the sharing of resources, including personnel, equipment, planes, and helicopters. With massive wildfires every year, there are not enough resources in a province when an emergency arises. Kate uses modelling and analysis to best allocate resources in a time-critical fashion and in a way that does not leave another province at risk. Her career advice is to find good mentors and have confidence in your abilities.

Dawn Leetham, VP Customer Success & Services, eSentire

Dawn Leetham is the VP of Customer Success & Services at eSentire. Dawn’s holds a Chemical Engineering degree, but she started working in the tech industry soon after graduating. She has worked in many different fields, including healthcare, digital imaging solutions, and now security. eSentire’s goal is to provide companies with security solutions and alert them of potential threats. Dawn offered some insightful advice; she emphasized that careers do not have to be linear. It can be beneficial to experience many different fields and work for several companies over the course of your career.

Sam McIlveen, Software Developer, Magnet Forensics

Sam McIlveen is a software developer at Magnet Forensics. She likes being in the computing field because it is the perfect combination of creativity and logic. At Magnet Forensics, Sam creates software that police use to search computers, phones, and other devices for investigations of crimes from IP theft, to homicide, to child exploitation. She likes to hear from the police about what cases her software has helped to solve. Sam’s career advice is to ensure that your workplace offers an inclusive environment.

William Zhou, Co-founder and CEO, Chalk.com

William Zhou is the co-founder and CEO of Chalk.com, an education software start-up that focuses on bringing data to educators and school districts to help their students succeed. He finds it deeply rewarding to see users benefitting from his software. William emphasized that an effective employee in the tech industry must not only demonstrate technical expertise, but also be able to present and apply their expertise in a way that non-technical people can understand its importance. William offered some great advice for university students and aspiring entrepreneurs: having a wide breadth of knowledge is more beneficial that depth in one particular subject area if you want to start your own company.