Class of 2021

Ela Bandari Headshot

Ela Bandari, MDS Vancouver, Class of 2021

“I decided on MDS because of its 10-month duration, the breadth of topics covered and its focus on community.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science, Honours in Behavioural Neuroscience (Minor in Biology), University of British Columbia
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2021

During my undergraduate degree, I was involved with multiple research projects. In these projects, my favourite stages of the research cycle were experimental design and data analysis. MDS was the perfect opportunity to further my understanding in these topics.

About Ela Bandari

Prior to MDS, Bandari completed my B.Sc. in Behavioural Neuroscience with a minor in Biology at UBC. After completing the MDS program, Bandari will be starting medical school at the University of Western Ontario in the fall. Bandari believes MDS has given her a broad knowledge base and technical skillset that will serve her in her future career and put her in a unique position at the intersection of data science and medicine. Outside of MDS, Bandari loves spending time outdoors like doing multi-day backpacking trips. Read Ela’s Story.

Tanmay Sharma

Tanmay Sharma, Senior Data Scientist - Machine Learning at Affinitiv Inc.

“The MDS program has been carefully designed to impart essential data science skills to make individuals job ready.”

Previous Degree: Master of Science in Computer Science, Santa Clara University
Previous Experience: Senior Associate – Data Analytics, Tredence Inc.
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2021

While I was working with a lot of data and had come to appreciate the bigger picture of data science through my training as a computer scientist, I felt the need for a closer and more rounded hands-on association with the different aspects of the discipline. The MDS program seemed to be a perfect match to help me achieve this goal and advance my career to its next level.

About Tanmay Sharma

Sharma started his career as a Hardware Development Engineer of SSD drives at a leading global data storage company. In that role, Sharma’s interest in data science was piqued as he was seeing the explosion of big data and the increase use of machine learning and artificial intelligence across all industries and its profound impact on transforming global businesses. Sharma highly recommend MDS to people looking to initiate or further a career in data science. Read Tanmay's story.

Selma Duric

Selma Durić, Consultant, Digital Internal Audit at Deloitte

“One of the greatest strengths of the MDS program is their openness to students from different academic backgrounds.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance, Simon Fraser University
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2021

As a CPA, I believe that I am in a unique role where I have a good understanding of the business needs but also have the strong analytical skills needed for programming and statistics. I consider data science as a tool which can be applied to many different fields and see it as being the path forward to significantly improve the work that accountants do and the analytics and reporting that business operations rely on. 

About Selma Durić

Prior to entering the MDS Vancouver program, Selma earned her Bachelor of Business Administration in Accounting and Finance from Simon Fraser University. Selma worked as a senior accountant where much of her accounting work relied on data. It was there Selma realized the potential value she could bring by finding better approaches to working with data. As a long-time Vancouverite, Selma loves spending her time outdoors. When the sun is out, Selma likes to walk/cycle around and explore the different neighbourhoods of Vancouver. Read Selma’s story.

Juan Roesel - MDS Computational Linguistics

Juan Roesel, Senior Software Engineer - NLP/NLU at LexCheck

“While several resources on the Internet can help people get the knowledge and skills needed to become a Data Scientist or NLP engineer, I think the structure of the MDS-CL program and the quality of the teaching staff take the learning experience to a higher level.”

Previous Degree: Masters in International Relations, Field Of Study Development Economics and International Development, Hult International Business School
Previous Experience: Data Scientist, NLP, Helelab
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2021

Back in 2017, I worked as an innovation consultant helping corporations fast-track digital transformation processes by partnering with tech start-ups. Some of these start-ups were using Artificial Intelligence solutions, so I needed to understand them to frame the right integration approach with the businesses' value chains. This experience was an eye-opening moment for me and triggered my decision to transition my career from a non-technical to a technical field.

About Juan Roesel

Before joining the MDS-CL program, Juan was working full-time running his consulting firm Helelab, which specialized in delivering and deploying digital solutions that leverage analytics, Natural Language Processing (NLP), and web development. As Juan was taking on more technical projects and learned new concepts, he realized that he was just barely scratching the surface of the data science universe, which led him to apply to the MDS-CL program. Outside of the MDS-CL program, Juan enjoys hiking, sailing, and mountain biking. Read Juan’s story.

Samuel Velez

Samuel Vélez, Data Scientist at Square

“The capstone project is the biggest positive point for the program. It makes you work directly with an industry partner on a real-life project, but you get the program’s supervision and support throughout. It makes you feel prepared for the future.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the National University of Colombia
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2021

Working in the finance industry, I realized how data can shape the future of industries and companies. I wanted to be part of that and help as much as I could. Having now moved through the MDS-O program, I can say the quality of the program is world-class, the students come from many different industries and backgrounds, and the campus and surrounding areas are beautiful. I recommend it completely.

About Samuel Velez

Samuel obtained Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the National University of Colombia, before moving into a career in the world of finance. It was during his time where he discovered how data can shape the future of industries and companies. The MDS-O program, located in in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, offered an accelerated program and intimate cohort, caught Velez’s attention. Now that he has successfully completed the 10-month intensive program, Velez feels more than ready to begin a career where he can help to shape the future. Read Samuel’s story.

Darya Shyroka - MDS Computational Linguistics

Darya Shyroka, Language Engineer at Amazon

“If you are like me and have a passion for languages and an analytical mind, and want to combine those skills to do something really interesting and impactful, then this program is for you.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts and Science, Computer Science, University of Toronto
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2021

I decided to pursue a career in data science because I wanted to use my programming skills to work with language data. I was always interested in languages and linguistics, but I did not see myself as a translator or language instructor. I have an analytical mind, and I knew that using my skills in mathematics and programming to analyze language could be really interesting. The MDS-CL program seemed like a perfect way for me to merge my skills from both areas. 

About Darya Shyroka

After completing her Bachelor of Arts and Science in Computer Science (with a minor in Linguistics) from the University of Toronto, Darya knew she wasn’t quite done with her education. Darya was looking to specialize in a particular area of programming that she would be interested in and it led her to the MDS-CL program and its more immersive computational linguistics curriculum. Outside her MDS-CL studies, Darya loves outdoor activities such as hiking, bike-riding, swimming and camping. Darya also loves reading, watching TV, and cooking (especially trying new recipes!). Read Darya's story.

Celine Liu Computational Linguistics

Celine Liu, Applied Scientist at Amazon

The MDS-CL program offers a strong focus on applied NLP, a perfect match for what I was looking for.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Computer Science, University of British Columbia
Program: MDS Computational Linguistics, Class of 2021

While working with intelligent systems in the industry and conducting research in the public health domain with text mining techniques, I witnessed the tremendous impact and potential that modern AI could have over solving global societal and business challenges, coming to the realization that NLP models are the foundation towards building a strong AI.

About Celine Liu

Celine obtained her Bachelor’s of Computer Science degree from the University of British Columbia. It was during an undergrad internship at Microsoft and Hootsuite that exposed Celine to the world of NLP and machine learning techniques. During the internship, Liu had the opportunity to build Natural Language Processing (NLP)-based machine learning (ML) systems and participated in a text mining research project with a group of public health researchers from UBC and BC Center for Disease Control to understand the landscape of digital public health. With the MDS-CL program now complete, Liu believed it offered here a holistic view of the classic ML models and a variety of language models as well as a great number of skillsets to her toolbox working with not only in NLP but machine learning in general. Read Celine's story.

Nathan Smith MDS Okanagan

Nathan Smith, Data Scientist at TerraSense Analytics Ltd.

“The program was able to quickly get me to a point that would have taken much longer working away on my own time. It provided me with a better understanding of data science in areas I was familiar with and also exposed me to new concepts.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering from UBC Vancouver
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2021

I started using interactive data analysis tools and machine learning to support my work. Much of the data science aspects that I had been incorporating in my work were learned during evenings and weekends. I felt that I wasn’t going to get where I wanted to be without diving into a program. Having now completed the program, I feel it has provided me with a strong understanding of concepts that can be better applied in my work.

About Nathan Smith

A resident of Squamish, B.C, Smith obtained a Bachelor of Applied Science in Civil Engineering from UBC Vancouver. It was during his time working as a senior water resources engineer where he fostered an interest in further developing his technical skills.  Situated in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, the MDS-O program, with its accelerated learning program and intimate cohort, caught Smith’s eye. Having now completed the 10-month program, Smith will be utilizing the knowledge and technical expertise taught in the MDS program on the Okanagan campus as he continues his career. Read Nathan's story.

Rain Shen

Rain Shen, Data Scientist at Axine Water Technologies

“The accelerated 10-month learning period will equip you well to get started in a career in data science.”

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Science in Food Science, from UBC Vancouver
Program: MDS Okanagan, Class of 2021

I realized I needed to learn new data analytical techniques to analyze large amount of data. I found myself becoming really interested in data analysis. I was amazed how the data can help solve complex problems in the real world. UBC’s reputation and the opportunity to learn in immersive environment really appealed to me and now that I have come through the program, I have developed the data science skills and learning techniques that will help me step into a data science career.

About Rain Shen

Rain obtained Bachelor of Science in Food Science from UBC Vancouver, before moving into a quality assurance coordinator position with a major manufacturing company specializing in geosynthetic and medical products. It was during her time there working with historical data where she fostered a desire to learn new data analytical techniques in order to analyze large amount of data.  Situated in the beautiful Okanagan Valley, the MDS-O program, with its accelerated learning program and intimate cohort, caught Shen’s eye. Having now completed the 10-month program, Shen will be utilizing the knowledge and technical expertise taught in the MDS program on the Okanagan campus to pursue a career related to the health and food industries. Read Rain's story.

Rafael Pilliard Hellwig

Rafael Pillard Hellwig, Data Scientist at Action Against Hunger

"Coming from a non-STEM background, one of the things that drew me to the MDS is that it has a broad and diverse mission statement for recruitment. This program is known for being diverse, and I continually gain insights from the experiences that my peers bring to the table."

Previous Degree: Bachelor of Arts, Honours in Law and Political Science, Carleton University
Prior Experience: Monitoring & Evaluation Lead, USAID Jordan Local Enterprise Support Project
Program: MDS Vancouver, Class of 2021

An increasing number of tools now exist that fully automate the machine learning pipeline, such that anyone can fit a powerful model with little to no code. In some ways, that is wonderful because it democratizes the field. But it also opens up the risk that people use AI without understanding their models. This is why for me, a critical function of the data scientists is to interpret and explain. It is about knowing how to frame a problem before crunching the numbers. For anyone worried about the future job market, these human roles are going to be replaced by machines for a long time. With its emphasis on communication, ethics, and extracting knowledge from data, the MDS will give you the technical and critical thinking skills to become a thinking data scientist who can tackle a broad range of problems.

About Rafael Pilliard Hellwig

After completing his undergraduate studies in the social sciences, Rafael moved to the Middle East to work in organizational development, sustainability consulting, and economic development. In these roles, a common thread has been that Rafael helped companies and governments make complex data intelligible and accessible. His experience includes leading large-scale enterprise surveys, answering causal questions through quasi-experimental analysis, championing open-data initiatives and corporate transparency, and creating tools that automate the analytics pipeline. After moving back to his hometown of Vancouver in 2019, Rafael focused on helping foreign aid implementers communicate complex concepts through visualization. Rafael chose the MDS Vancouver program to deepen his technical acumen and build a network of like-minded professionals.

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