Class of 2020

Swapil Paliwal.

Swapil Paliwal, MDS Okanagan – Class of 2020

“This is an excellent program, in an amazing location. The MDS-O program provides an exceptional foundation in the areas of data science.”

Previous Degree: Master’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Washington, Seattle
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2020

I have always had an interest in multidisciplinary fields which allow for collaborative work, and have applications in variety of areas. Data science is one such field and being able to see its wide impacts in almost all walks of life really got me hooked. Now through the program, I feel confident and prepared to enter the job market knowing the program has provided me with tools and knowledge I will need to succeed.

About Swapil Paliwal

Originally from (Firozabad, India), Swapil obtained a Master’s Degree in Materials Science and Engineering from the University of Washington. It was during his time working as a Data Scientist where he fostered an interest in sharpening his technical skills.  Situated in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, the MDS-O program, with its accelerated learning program and intimate cohort, caught Swapil’s eye. Having now completed the 10-month program, Swapil hopes to utilize the knowledge and technical expertise taught in the MDS program on the Okanagan campus as he prepares to continue working as a data scientist or data engineer in cross-disciplinary teams.
Read Swapil's story.

Cari Gostic

Cari Gostic, Data Scientist at Sonoma Technology Inc.

I’m finishing the program with confidence that I can pick up on new platforms, languages, methodologies, and frameworks on the fly.”  

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science in Atmospheric Sciences, Cornell University
Previous Experience: Analyst, Consulting Team, Risk Management Solutions (RMS)
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2020

I decided to pursue data science because it combines everything I like about research -- uncovering insights, the thrill of discovery, working with new and interesting data -- but is extensible across all fields. I love the idea that I can apply this skill-set effectively in completely different topics from day to day. It makes the future very exciting, because rather than looking for a specific type of job, I can instead look for a specific type of company whose mission and values I really believe in.

About Cari Gostic

New York-native Cari came to the MDS program after previously working as an analyst on the consulting team with Risk Management Solutions, a catastrophe modeling company. While working with RMS, Cari worked to streamline the integration of RMS software into clients’ workflows and complete custom projects like in-depth analyses of exposure or custom app development. Cari holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Atmospheric Science from Cornell University. Read Cari's story.

Alistair Clark

Alistair Clark, Director Data Science at Birch Hill Equity Partners

“I chose the MDS program as a way to quickly build the skills and credibility I needed to transition into data science. I could have tried to build these skills while working at my previous company, but that would have taken longer and would have made it difficult to break into the job market.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering, Queen's University in Kingston, ON
Prior Experience: Lead Product Developer and Head of Product, I Will Teach/GrowthLab and Management Consultant at Accenture Strategy
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2020

At the startup I worked for prior to MDS, I was facing big questions around our product and market strategy. We had plenty of data from our 40,000 customers and 500,000 email list subscribers, but we were only performing superficial analysis. I knew there were insights we were missing, but no one had the skills or experience to use and interpret the data effectively. I discovered the field of data science while looking for new tools and techniques to analyze our data.

About Alistair Clark

Prior to the MDS program, Alistair was the Lead Product Developer and Head of Product for I Will Teach/Growth Labs, an online e-learning startup. He also worked for 4 years as a management consultant with Accenture Strategy focused on financial modelling and business cases. Alistair came to the world of data science while looking for a better way to analyze customer data and make decisions about product and market strategy. Alistair holds a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from Queen's University at Kingston.

Rob Blumberg

Rob Blumberg, Senior Data Scientist at Validere

“There are so many smart and friendly people from different educational and cultural backgrounds in MDS, which makes learning and collaborating so much easier.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science in Physics, McGill University
Previous Experience: Data Science Intern, BMO Financial Group
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2020

It was around my third year of undergrad that I started hearing and learning more about data science. My first real encounter with data science came through my passion for soccer, as I discovered articles and blog posts explaining how data science is used to inform decisions across various departments in professional clubs. I was particularly interested in learning about these models and algorithms that were capable of uncovering meaningful insights about soccer games from data which did not seem to contain obvious patterns

About Rob Blumberg

Prior to MDS, Rob obtained a Bachelor of Science in Physics from McGill University. Right before starting the MDS program, Rob interned as a data scientist at BMO, where he worked on the People Analytics team. His team analyzed employee data, and his job was to analyze employee exit surveys to find out what was driving voluntary turnover. Read Rob's story.

Toshiko Shibano MDS Computational Linguistics

Toshiko Shibano, MDS Computational Linguistics – Class of 2020

“If you are like me and enjoy devising solutions to real world problems, have a desire to transfer knowledge and skills from a previous job to the digitized world, or are passionate about language, this program is worth the money and time.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts in Psychology, University of British Columbia
Prior Experience: Executive Vice President, Senior Translator and Programmer, Simulingual Inc.
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2020

“If you are like me and enjoy devising solutions to real world problems, have a desire to transfer knowledge and skills from a previous job to the digitized world, or are passionate about language, this program is worth the money and time.”

As a professional translator, I have always been interested in machine translation. In particular, I wanted to know how linguistic data were processed in deep learning models. I wanted to be able to test out my hypotheses about how to improve the current machine translation models.

About Toshiko Shibano

Prior to the MDS Computational Linguistics program, Toshiko ran a translation business in Japan, which specialized in financial accounting and her clientele included major international audit firms, listed companies, and multinational corporations. Toshiko picked up programming to automate routine processes so that she could spend more time on translation. After handing over her business, Toshiko moved to Canada and pursued a Bachelor of Art degree in Psychology from the University of British Columbia. Read Toshiko's story.

Niki Hajmoshir MDS Computational Linguistics

Niki Hajmoshir, Language Engineer at Amazon

“What I really like about this program is that we get more hands-on experience and work with data sets and corpora so when we go into industry we won’t be lost because we know how to handle these things.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor's in Medical Laboratory Science, University of British Columbia
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2020

Everything I am learning in MDS CL, from coding to statistics to Natural Language Processing is all interesting, relevant and applicable to what we've seen every day in the world. It makes you think how I can use this in my life and I like how the instructors put it in a way that I can easily apply these to multiple fields.

About Niki Hajmoshir

Niki received her Bachelor's in Medical Laboratory Science from the University of British Columbia. It was towards the last few years of her degree that Niki realized she wanted to switch fields into something more computer related and found herself working on projects that used Natural Language Processing. This resulted in Niki becoming very interested in Computational Linguistics and to apply to the MDS CL program. Meet Niki.

Aaron Tian MDS Computational Linguistics

Aaron Tian, Data Engineer at KPMG Canada

“The biggest benefit you get coming into this program is you get to work with a lot of people with different backgrounds, in terms of the fields they come from, and who tend to approach the same question from different angles.”

Previous Degree: Master of Science in Computational Finance, DePaul University
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2020

With MDS CL, the data science courses are very essential to becoming a computational linguist. The program gives us a solid foundation for us to use our linguistics skills and put them into practice.

About Aaron Tian

Originally from China, Aaron has a Master of Science in Computational Finance from DePaul University. Coming from the finance industry, Aaron noticed that a lot of people were using Natural Language Processing tools to measure sentiment of the market to make better investment strategies. Seeing this, Aaron saw that the MDS Computational Linguistics program would give him the skills in sentiment analysis that he can apply to the finance industry.

Christian Hluchy

Christian Hluchy, Data Scientist at Irwin's Safety and Industrial Labour Services Ltd

“The smaller cohort in the Okanagan makes it more personable and it makes me feel more connected to the program."

Previous Degree: Master's of Business Administration, University of British Columbia
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2020

While I was born and raised in Kelowna, I always knew I wanted to pursue an education in a different city. After obtaining my undergraduate degree from the University of British Columbia’s Vancouver campus, I worked for seven years before returning to UBC, where I obtained my master’s degree. I then moved to Calgary where, in my operations role using large data sets to inform drilling locations, I began to see the importance and value of data analysis. When it came time to return to the Okanagan while also pursuing a master’s degree in data science, the more research I did about the MDS program at UBCO, I knew it was the right fit.  Now I’m combining my business acumen and technical background with working knowledge taught in the MDS program.

About Christian Hluchy

A Kelowna native, Christian relocated to Vancouver where he received his undergraduate degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of British Columbia.  Christian then obtained a Master’s degree in Business Administration nearly a decade later, also from the University of British Columbia, before moving to Alberta to pursue a career in the oil and gas sector. After a successful stint as an operations manager that exposed him to the value of statistical analysis, Christian began looking for different career options that would help him find employment in the Okanagan. His research into the best data science program led him directly to MDS program on the UBCO campus, where he has excelled in the smaller learning environment. Christian hopes to combine his business background with the working knowledge taught in the MDS program to pursue a data related role in the Okanagan.

Elizaveta Volkova

Elizaveta Volkova, Analyst at Hootsuite

"Everyone in the program has different backgrounds, which is terrific because we get to see and hear different perspectives, but there is also a sense of community as everyone is willing to help each other."

Previous Degree: Bachelor’s Business Information Systems, Bauman Moscow State Technical University
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2020

While managing a system that collected vast amounts of data for a company I worked with in Moscow, I came to the realization that our customers would be interested in accurate predictions of both their revenue and future customers. This prompted a personal interest in building predictive models, however, I knew I would need to further develop my skills and experience in interpreting and using data. I recognized that the field of Data Science would provide me the skills I needed and the MDS program in Okanagan offered the perfect balance of small class sizes and accelerated learning. Now immersed in the program, I am gaining the technical expertise and practical experience that I know I will be able to apply when entering back into the workforce.

About Elizaveta Volkova

Originally from Moscow, Russia, Elizaveta received her undergraduate degree in Business Information Systems from the Bauman Moscow State Technical University. During her undergraduate studies, Elizaveta also took work with a Russian company that optimized business processes where she helped to manage a system that compiled and stored significant amounts of data. As a part of this work, Elizaveta identified the need to improve her skills and experience in interpreting and using data and it was in searching for different tools for data analysis and predictive modelling that she realized that the field of Data Science would provide her with the skills she was interested in. Having moved to Kelowna to enter into the MDS program, Elizaveta is now gaining the technical skills she so greatly wanted to enhance, from programming to practical experience, which will make her stand out as an exceptional candidate when she seeks opportunities after graduation.

Kaitlyn Hobbs

Kaitlyn Hobbs, Data Scientist at Statistics Canada

“UBC MDS Okanagan offers intimate class sizes and specialized professors that motivate participation, networking, and rapid skill development.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Medical Sciences Degree with an Honors Specialization in Biochemistry, Western University's Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2020

[While completing my undergraduate studies], I was lucky to land myself in dry labs, where I found myself enjoying statistical analysis and introductory-level programming. I wanted to elevate my foundational skills as I believe . . . data science is an effective tool that leads to a measurably impactful career in an array of disciplines. When looking at programs with accelerated learning combined with small class sizes and a campus with a close-knit community feel, the MDS program on the UBCO campus presented itself as the perfect fit. I hope to utilize the working knowledge taught in the MDS program to pursue a data related role in the global health sector.

About Kaitlyn Hobbs

Originally from Mississauga, Ontario, Kaitlyn obtained a Bachelor of Medical Sciences degree from Western University. It was during her undergraduate studies where she developed a deep appreciation for statistical analysis and programming and it was Kaitlyn’s investigation into the best data science program that led her directly to UBCO’s MDS program. Kaitlyn hopes to parlay the knowledge taught in the MDS program on the Okanagan campus into a job in the global health sector, where she would like to work on improving data collection. Read Kaitlyn's story.

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