Meet the graduands of October 2021 convocation

October 05, 2021

Meet some of the amazing students who are graduating from the School of Computing Science in October 2021 convocation!

Hilal Asmat

BSc, School of Computing Science

Asmat graduates this fall with a Bachelor of Science degree from the School of Computing Science. After beginning her undergraduate degree in biology, Asmat transferred to the software systems program where she was attracted to the project-based learning and group work that the program offers. She excelled in the program, joined the Software Systems Student Society shortly after, and served as president of the Software Systems Student Society from 2018 to 2019. “The difference between having an okay experience and having a really good experience was getting involved,” says Asmat. “My biggest focus was fostering more of a sense of community.” She also co-founded the club SFU Surge with SFU alumnus Jeffrey Leung, which provides events and project opportunities to SFU students. Her highlight at SFU was meeting new students at frosh week and introducing them to the university. Some of the projects that stood out to her were building a robot in MSE 110 and building an android app in CMPT 276. Asmat received the Inspiring Women in Applied Sciences Award and the EA Linda Srere Award for Women in the Faculty of Applied Science. She is passionate about program management, and worked in a project management role both as an intern for Microsoft and as part of a software systems capstone project, DataPrep, with SFU computing science professor Jiannan Wang. Currently, Asmat is preparing to work at Microsoft as a program manager beginning this winter in Redmond, Washington.

Geoff Nagy 

PhD, School of Computing Science

Nagy is graduating this fall with a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the School of Computing Science. He is passionate about multi-robot systems, and building both hardware and software systems. His research was on biologically-inspired drone behaviours, particularly looking at how flocking patterns for birds can be incorporated into multi-drone flying practices. Through this, he learned about bird behaviors, such as how birds often fly in pairs, and found that these practices can also be helpful when applied to flying drones in groups in both simulated and real environments. In his research, he also focused on finding ways to lower the costs of building drones through 3D printing. His highlights at SFU included first meeting his potential lab mates and travelling to Cornwall, UK to observe bird flocking patterns with his research collaborators. This allowed him to work closely with his supervisor, SFU computing science professor Richard Vaughan. While there is a long list of awards, scholarships and fellowships that Nagy has received, he is most proud of receiving the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Canada Graduate Scholarship during his time at SFU. We asked him, “What advice would you give to your first-year self?” Nagy responded, “I took a relaxed and balanced, but still serious, approach to graduate school and I think it worked well for me. I wouldn’t change that. If I am to give advice to another first-year, I would encourage them to focus their efforts on what they enjoy.” Nagy is joining Vaughan at Apple as a Research Scientist this month. 

Hossein Sharifi Noghabi

PhD, School of Computing Science

Sharifi Noghabi graduates this fall with a Doctor of Philosophy degree from the School of Computing Science. He is passionate about the research areas of machine learning and bioinformatics. His research focused on predicting accurate drug responses for cancer patients by designing tools, models and algorithms to analyze data. His highlights at SFU include presenting his research at the Intelligent Systems for Molecular Biology conference in 2019 to approximately 500 people and at Mayo Clinic's Artificial Intelligence webinar series. Another highlight was having his papers accepted for publication. We also asked him, “What advice would you give to your first-year self.” He said, “Never be afraid of reaching out to those that you are interested in working with; graduate life will be much easier when you are adaptable and ready to expose yourself to new topics and skills to learn.” He always knew that he wanted to travel the world and conduct research, and feels that moving to Vancouver from Iran to do his PhD made him a better person both personally and professionally. He is especially grateful for the people he met during his time at SFU and for the beautiful trails near Burnaby campus. He even named one of his algorithms after the Velodrome Trail on Burnaby Mountain. Sharifi Noghabi started working at Novartis, one of the leading pharmaceutical companies in the world. As part of the AI for Life Residency Program in Basel, Switzerland, he is working with a team of researchers from different backgrounds to tackle major challenges in pharmaceutical research.