Mohsen Zardadi and his family

A Graduate’s Path: Mohsen Zardadi

Jul 10 / 2020

Students choose graduate studies for a number of reasons.

For some, their chosen profession requires it, while others want to change career paths or advance more quickly in their current roles. Many others want to conduct high-level research in an area close to their hearts or one that can change the world.

Opportunities like these are enabled by in-depth study, the result of years of inquiry and investigation that extends beyond the learnings gained in a bachelor’s degree. In fact, at global research universities like UBC Okanagan, graduate students play an important role in contributing to the innovation and discovery currently shaping our communities and our planet.

While every student experience is unique, graduate students at UBCO often share one commonality: a strong appreciation of the world-class academic programs offered within a supportive community. It’s this environment which has students like Mohsen Zardadi excel along a path marked by firsts.

Zardadi is one of the first to graduate from the newly-developed Master of Data Science (MDS).

Master of Data Science alumnus Mohsen Zardadi moved to Kelowna from Metro Vancouver to pursue a graduate degree and landed a job offer three months before he graduated. Now, he’s settled in Kelowna with his family and works as a data scientist at TerraSense Analytics.

“I’m involved in using artificial intelligence to analyze data and train neural networks,” he explains.

In one project, Zardadi works on military aerial surveillance systems to enable aircraft operators to analyze data in real time and gain critical intelligence. Using airborne data and deep learning on cutting edge devices, he trains neural networks to track mobile targets and classify objects from different sensors in real time.

“The Master of Data Science program at UBC Okanagan was a game changer for me,” he says. “It gave me expertise and taught me how to find the tools I need to solve these kinds of problems. And, being surrounded by highly-educated professors and students gave me much more confidence than I had before.”

The program was also a personal game changer for Zardadi, who says he felt like he was home as soon as he arrived.

“Although it’s only a four-hour drive from Vancouver, the people in the Okanagan are different,” he says. “They’re easy to talk to and easy to connect with. I knew it would be a good city to live in and raise kids, so I went out and looked for a job.”

Zardadi and his wife first arrived in BC in 2014, when he had the opportunity to conduct a six-month research project while completing his PhD in Iran. They took advantage of the opportunity to explore Canada in the short amount of time they had, and after returning to Iran so Zardadi could graduate, the couple quickly came back and made Canada home.

But after four years of working in his newfound country — and despite already possessing a PhD in image processing — Zardadi decided to pursue a Master’s degree.

“Students in Canada learn how to solve problems with a local way of thinking. I knew that I needed to understand this to work with Canadian teams in the technology and data domain,” he explains.

“UBC has a stellar global reputation, so I had no doubt that the newly-created Master of Data Science program would be outstanding,” says Zardadi. “Belonging to the first MDS class inspired me to make history, so I got involved in the data science community while studying and became the first student to get a job offer in the program.”