Throughout my undergraduate years, I went from studying the great works of philosophy, to Buddhism, to cognitive psychology and neuroscience, to human physiology, and finally to how human physiology and psychology influence one another. I did well in my courses despite lacking a relevant background. I learned that doing what interests you most combined with a drive to do it really well is often enough to overcome a lack of experience and relevant background. The help of great mentors such as: Dr. William Abbott, Dr. Michael Dixon, and Dr. Richard Hughson certainly helped!
Towards the end of undergrad, I began to hear a lot about the success of the University of Waterloo’s VeloCity Garage startup incubator. With the goal of becoming a part of “the Garage”, I applied to, attended, and completed the Master of Digital Experience Innovation program at the new University of Waterloo Stratford campus. While there, Professors and mentors Paul Doherty, Karin Schmidlin, and Shirley Lichti helped me get closer to finding my way into this tight network.
It worked! I now work in a startup called Marmot Labs Inc. in the VeloCity Garage, where I’m surrounded by energetic entrepreneurs. Our first product, Decision.io, is making it easy for teams to collect and review online submissions and applications. We have a growing number of teams across North America using and paying for our product. It’s been a great experience so far!
Receiving my Master of Digital Experience Innovation degree at the fall 2013 convocation was first and foremost an opportunity for my family to enjoy this achievement as much as I do – without them, you aren’t reading about my successful journey today.
It also validated my gut feeling that pursuing whatever gets you fired up, and changing what you pursue when your interests change just plain works. The fact that this exploratory approach led to two degrees from the University of Waterloo, great marks, and a couple of scholarships goes to show why it’s consistently rated Canada’s most innovative university. This university doesn’t just graduate people with a skill set that matches a particular job description – it graduates leaders that are passionate about solving important problems in a world that is rapidly changing.
So, what’s next? Right now, I love being a part of Decision.io, and am committed to help build this company. After that – I’ll look for another problem to solve, and find a way to solve it.