Kevin Dsouza, PhD '19, Electrical and Computer Engineering

“Have an open mind, be willing to learn new things, take risks and go beyond the comfort zone.”

Kevin Dsouza

Kevin Dsouza

I joined UBC as a master’s student working on information theory and machine learning, and after successfully completing that degree, have continued towards a PhD at the intersection of machine learning and genomics. While a master’s student I received the Mitacs Accelerate Fellowship to partner with Skycope Technologies, an anti-drone startup, in building automatic modulation classification systems using deep learning leading to a provisional patent. During my time at UBC, I have also been involved with the Climate Hub as a mentor and with Let’s Talk Science and Geneskool, as a volunteer.

Why did you choose engineering?

I have an application-oriented disposition and while I love science by itself, the application of the science in creating working systems excites me more. I also want to understand and model natural systems using techniques in applied science.

What has made your time at UBC the most memorable?

The possibilities for interdisciplinary collaboration and action at UBC have made my time here very exciting. Some of my most memorable moments have been at events and projects that engage with multiple disciplines and talks by world renowned scientists, journalists and leaders.

How are you applying the skills you learned through your studies at UBC?

My PhD research deals with the application of machine learning in modelling the genome, and the courses I have taken in machine learning have been very valuable in this regard. The multi-pronged focus of the courses involving both theory and practical knowledge is helpful when one is venturing into new concepts and this has been the case for me.

What has been your most memorable/valuable non-academic experience studying engineering at UBC?

Being a mentor for the UBC climate hub and working with undergraduate students to look at climate change from different perspectives was rewarding. These projects don’t always go as planned due to the varied schedules of the people involved, but there is always something to learn from the experience. Volunteering for Let’s Talk Science and Geneskool to teach science to high school kids was a lot more difficult than I expected, but was also a lot of fun.

What advice would you give a student considering a graduate degree in engineering?

I would encourage them to have an open mind, be willing to learn new things, take risks and go beyond the comfort zone.

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