Couple encourages Math grads to “make a difference in your own way"

Meet April Gale-Seixeiro (BMath '95, Actuarial Science and Statistics) and Steve Seixeiro (BMath '95, Computer Science)

When April’s parents unpacked their first computer in the early 80s, with its 3 ½-inch floppy drives and diskettes, a fascination with coding was born. Coupled with the concepts she would learn in her Ontario Academic Credit (OAC) statistics class, and receiving the top score in Northwestern Ontario for the Fermat math contest, April’s destiny was set.

For Steve, elementary school was a time of impossible boredom. It wasn’t until an intuitive teacher noticed the frustration of a bright kid being under-stimulated, and redirected his energies to a gifted program—a program that introduced the youngster to computers—that set his life’s course in motion.  For him, the magic box that responded to logic was fascinating.  When it came time to choose a university, the choice was simple, “I wanted to go to the best school I could think of for working with computers.” 

At the University of Waterloo, April received the theoretical foundation and application of that theory that she craved. Steve learned time management and a resiliency—to stick with things even when they looked bleak—a skill that would serve him throughout his career.  It was this determination that he called on for many of his projects with Microsoft, including the one that had Bill Gates sit down with him to better understand the results.

For Steve, it was a career highlight to have the famed entrepreneur and programmer engrossed in his presentation. Gates continued to ask questions long after their allotted time ended. Today, a Partner Development Manager on Cortana on the Windows team, Steve admits with pride, “I still have the chair that he sat in”. 

April’s highlights can be described as a series of career-building moments, onto which a solid professional reputation was built. As a co-op student, she discovered a valuation calculation that had been incorrectly programmed, saving client time and resources. Another time, while on placement, April performed a statistical analysis on airplanes crossing the north Atlantic. In her work, she modelled a change in the separation procedure, a change that she would later learn, had been accepted by the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO). For a woman who had considered a career in aviation, this was especially exciting. Another time, nearly a decade into her first job, the company she worked for was bought out. Their office was closed and people laid off in short order. With the strong reputation April had established, the clients made the strategic decision to create a role within the new company for her. Their faith in her abilities was rewarded with seven years of industriousness and a new pension calculation system. Today, April lends her talents as a Requirements Manager in Defined Benefit Pension Administration at Mercer.  

“My time at Waterloo made me who I am today,” said April. “It opened pathways that would not have been available to me otherwise.  I always knew there was a big world outside of Northern Ontario and I really wanted to get out there and see it - and my Math degree from Waterloo made it possible.”  Adding, “[In return] I want to help someone else to have this same opportunity.” 

And they did! At the upcoming Faculty of Mathematics Awards Banquet marking the 50th anniversary of the Faculty, the inaugural Gale/Seixeiro Entrance Scholarship will be awarded to an outstanding undergraduate student entering Year One. Selection will alternate between students from the province of Ontario and a female student from Northern Ontario.

“I really like the idea of supporting someone like me who could use the extra boost so that they can also attend such a wonderful place that will change their lives forever,” said Steve, adding, “I will always have fond memories of Waterloo.”

Steve and April liked the idea of building a meaningful scholarship as a couple, and were very excited to return to campus to sign their endowed award agreement on their 20th wedding anniversary.  “This seemed fitting”, says April, “as we met here at Waterloo”. 

“Those of us who have attended Math at Waterloo have gone out into the world and made a difference in big ways and small ways. Waterloo inspires us to be excellent.  Be proud that you are part of this community.”

And to those who have yet to graduate, the Seixeiros say, “enjoy your time, learn, and go make a difference in your own way!”