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Alumna makes wall of fame

September 9, 2014 — 

Lorisa Dubuc [BSc/02] has been named to the World Association of Co-operative Education Wall of Fame.

WACE is the only international professional organization dedicated to developing, expanding, branding and advocating for cooperative & work-integrated education programs within industry and educational institutions. Dubuc was nominated for their honour by Mark Whitmore, Dean of the Faculty of Science.

As Dubuc wrote in an email to the Faculty afterwards:

…I still remember picking my course when applying to the U of M, and I knew I had to do the Honours degree, just so I could make sure I could apply to the Coop program and take advantage of all the skills and life lessons it provided alongside my academic work.  Coop was always part of the plan.  And, having all of your support in selecting me, 12 years after I graduated, as someone you would want to represent Coop at the U of M at a global level…. well, let’s just say I can’t think of any other honour I have been given in my life that has come close to how special and proud your nomination has made me feel.

The Computer Science Co-op Program at the U of M introduced Dubuc to the world of research within businesses, from small start-ups to an IBM placement that led to her appointment as the company’s campus ambassador and a full time position on graduation in front-end web development for IBM clients.

Moving via Toronto and London, she revived an undergraduate minor interest in psychology with a desire to improve the experience of technological interaction in people’s lives and entered the world of Human Computer Interaction. She was accepted into the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory to pursue a PhD, supported by prestigious scholarships including those from the Boeing and NSERC.

Her PhD work with Alzheimer’s patients allowed her to innovate in technology in a way that could make a profound difference to welfare and quality of life for individuals and their loved ones, with one of her research papers becoming the first by a U of M computer science graduate to be published in the noted IEEE journal.

The rewards of the Co-op experience made it natural for Dubuc to continue to seek industry partners during her PhD study, such as the Fitzwilliam Museum, British Educational Communications and Technology Agency, Alzheimer’s Society, Microsoft Research and Google – carrying out a three-month internship which included foundational research in the early stages of what grew to be the “Circles” element for the +300 million user base of Google+.

In recent years she has moved to different user experience research roles in Citrix and, always finding a unique niche for her skillset as the advocate for customer-centric design from the outset of any project.

In her free time, Dubuc has also voluntarily assisted on the program committee of the UX Cambridge conference, has been a committee member for “Run for the Cure” in Canada, and reinvigorated and raised the profile of the Cambridge University Triathlon Team during her tenure as Club Captain.

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