PhD Candidate, Statistical Sciences
“Toronto has become one of the major research centres for AI in North America.”
I completed my undergraduate program in Mathematics and Statistics and my master’s degree in Statistics at the Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM). During grad school, I worked on using probabilistic models to build a video game artificial intelligence (AI). My initial contact with AI and Machine Learning sparked my interest in research. I realized I could use my statistical background to contribute to that field, and I wanted to do a PhD.
As a doctoral candidate in Statistical Sciences, I focus most of my research on Machine Learning and Statistical Learning models.
I chose the University of Toronto mainly for three reasons. First, the professors are all brilliant researchers in their respective fields, and being in contact with them is an amazing way to learn.
The University also has great expertise in the field of AI. Multiple members of the faculty are working with machine learning and host weekly seminars in Statistics and Machine Learning in my department. Incidentally, thanks to the Vector Institute, Toronto has become one of the major research centres for AI in North America.
Finally, the program here is challenging, taking me out of my comfort zone, which has really helped me in becoming mentally stronger.
Recently, I received the Alexander Graham Bell Canada Graduate Scholarship from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. It enabled me to focus most of my time on research.
Being a student at the University of Toronto grants you access to many resources. I’m glad I have access to multiple training facilities. The athletic centre is a great place to work out; it was important for me because I know I perform much better academically when I’m in good shape physically.
Toronto is a great cosmopolitan city where I had the chance to meet colleagues, professors, teachers and now friends from all over the world. Honestly, everyone I have met here is so kind. Professors, colleagues, the department administration, the athletic centre staff — everyone greets you with a smile and when you move out to a new city, being surrounded by friendly faces really helps making the transition a lot more enjoyable.
If you are considering a graduate program, motivation and passion are key factors. A lot of work has to be done alone and you may receive little feedback for long periods of time. Therefore, you have to be able to motivate yourself and be interested enough in what you’re doing. It’s that passion that keeps you going on. You also have to accept that you don’t know everything. Your colleagues and the professors are knowledgeable, so learning from them is important. Perhaps some of them will learn from you!