How Computer Science grad Areena Akhter took her passion for helping others to Waterloo, Bloomberg, Apple and beyond

By Melodie Roschman

Faculty of Mathematics

“In the tech industry, it’s so easy to lose track of the fact that we are humans designing things for other humans,” says Areena Akhter, who graduates with a bachelor’s degree in Computer Science this month. “Whether we’re thinking about ethics or interfacing with diverse social systems, people need to be at the core of everything we do.”

This fall, Akhter will begin a job as a software engineer at Apple, on the same photo and camera storytelling team where she did her co-op work term in 2023. She’s thrilled to begin the next phase in her career as a machine learning engineer: the culmination of a lifelong commitment to helping people.

Growing up, Akhter wanted to be a doctor, but in high school, she realized her passion for designing better systems while attending a health tech conference. “I heard representatives from hospitals and medical research facilities talk about the systemic problems they faced, and realized that I could do more on a systemic level to help than I could as an individual practitioner,” she says.

Ultimately, Akhter hopes that the next phase of her work at Apple is only the beginning of a career in responsible, human-centred AI. “I’ve learned so much about collaborating with diverse communities, knowing when not to create technology, and using tech in ethical ways,” she says. “Moving forward, I plan to use tech to align with the human experience — to make life better.”

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