Alumni profiles


woman writing on a white board

How to thrive during a recession—with advice from Dave McKay, Larry Smith, Michelle Hung and others

Waterloo math alumni and faculty came together for a day-long virtual event to celebrate the class of 2020 and provide insight as they begin the next chapter of their lives.

Every graduating class must be prepared for new challenges. But the class of 2020 confronts a particularly difficult reality, entering the workforce in the midst of a recession and pandemic.


young man sitting with hands crossed

Calculating the future

How a former Waterloo student is helping local retailers prepare and predict the impacts of COVID-19

With the sweeping arrival of COVID-19, Marcelo Cortes was quick to realize the devastating impact it could have on small, local businesses.

As chief technology officer (CTO) and co-founder of Faire, an online wholesale marketplace that helps emerging brands and boutique retailers grow their business, Cortes recognized more help needed to be offered.  


oscar hero

Waterloo’s Oscar winners

Meet three incredible alumni who received Academy Awards for their contributions to the film industry.

Waterloo alumni make their mark on Hollywood with their creativity and technical innovation. 

Take a peek into the world of filmmaking and see why these graduates were recognized with Oscars for their achievements. 


Susie and Lauren

Math alumna and family mark inaugural celebrating Women in Mathematics Day by removing barriers for future female mathematicians

Susie Foley (BMath ’06, MAcc ‘07) has extra reason to celebrate her birthday this year, as May 12th has been designated by World Meeting for Women in Mathematics as the international day to Celebrate Women In Mathematics.

The date was selected to honour Maryam Mirzakhani, who to date is the only woman to receive a Fields Medal. Sadly, only three short years after receiving the award, and at age 40, Mirzakhani lost her fight with cancer. She was a mathematics professor at Stanford University and considered one of the greatest mathematicians of her generation.


Fred Ngan and Michael Chan

Nothing traditional about this Bowtie

For nearly 20 years, Hong Kong hadn’t issued a license for a new life insurance company. In 2018, a new company with nontraditional ideas founded by Fred Ngan (BMath ’07) and Michael Chan (BMath ’08) received a new license.


Henry and Hussein of SnapTravel smile for the camera

Entrepreneurial Waterloo grads connect to change the travel game

Henry Shi and Hussein Fazal honed their skills, found their passion, and gained confidence while attending Waterloo before founding SnapTravel, a new model for booking hotels that combines convenience and savings as fast as you can send a Facebook message.


Waterloo grad Sam Pasupalak listens at a boardroom table
From Waterloo to Microsoft: An entrepreneur’s hustle

Sam Pasupalak was studying computer science at the University of Waterloo in 2008 when he found out that Bill Gates was delivering a talk on campus. Pasupalak didn’t have a ticket to the Microsoft chairman’s talk — but that didn’t stop him. Once he found a way in, he was so inspired by Gates’ talk that he went on to co-found an AI startup that Microsoft purchased last year.


Karen Kopciuk
Giving back and having a positive impact: the M3 Rock Circle Project

From a young age, Dr. Karen Kopciuk (MMath ’95, GCERT ‘01, PhD ’01) had a passion for learning and for medicine. Starting her career as a dental hygienist, she soon came to realize her interest in research extended deeper than she ever imagined. Making the decision to return to school as a mature student, Karen completed her undergraduate degree at the University of Calgary before coming to the University of Waterloo for her Master’s and PhD degrees in statistics.