As a highschool pupil making an attempt to resolve on a college main, Robert Lee recollects desirous to discover a area the place he may domesticate his eager curiosity in science, develop revolutionary applied sciences, and make a optimistic impression on the planet.
“Ever since I used to be a toddler, I used to be enthusiastic about science, math and expertise,” says Lee, who graduates this spring with a BEng in pc engineering, specializing in computational intelligence and machine studying.
I noticed engineering as likelihood to mix my strengths and pursuits in science with a chance to design and construct the subsequent breakthrough applied sciences, whereas additionally embodying the optimistic change I need to see on the planet.
—Robert Lee, UVic class of 2021
It’s exceptional how efficiently Lee has already been in attaining these early targets.
Constructing breakthrough applied sciences
Throughout his time at UVic, Lee spent three of 4 co-op phrases at Microsoft, engaged on software program options which have since been deployed and made out there to the general public. Within the firm’s Vancouver workplace, he labored as a part of a workforce in an incubator-style setting to construct a cell software that demonstrated the deployment of machine-learning fashions. Later, on the firm’s location in Bellevue, Washington, Lee labored on a software program characteristic that generates a demo software for a search service. His last co-op, throughout which he labored remotely, concerned creating one other characteristic that improves search outcomes when filtering or sorting knowledge.
Final semester, Lee led a pupil workforce to develop a pc imaginative and prescient software that performs human pose estimation (HPE)—predicting the situation of 17 key joints given an individual’s enter picture.
“HPE is a tough downside area due to its distinctive challenges – variations in clothes and physique physique, overlapping and strongly articulated joints, and complexities of the human skeleton,” explains Lee, whose work was featured on Streamlit, an internet site that helps builders construct and deploy net purposes for his or her knowledge science initiatives. “Enhancements in HPE can profit industries equivalent to animation, safety programs, pedestrian detection, and rather more.”
Later this summer season, Lee can be becoming a member of Microsoft in Redmond, Washington, as a full-time software program engineer with Azure, the corporate’s cloud platform for constructing, testing, deploying and managing purposes and providers.
Pursuing a ardour for STEM
Along with the hands-on expertise Lee gained by way of co-op and course work, he embraced a number of alternatives to check his STEM and management abilities throughout quite a few pupil competitions, which he says supplied among the greatest recollections of his undergrad.
In his first 12 months, after profitable the UVic Engineering Competitors, his workforce headed to the inter-provincial Western Engineering Competitors (WEC), which was held in Banff in the course of the center of winter.
“In between competitors days, we loved scorching springs, dinner occasions and video games, and my workforce even hiked up Mount Sulphur regardless of all of the snow,” Lee recollects. “I met some very shut mates throughout that point and can cherish the expertise endlessly.”
Early in 2020, Lee was a part of a workforce that positioned first in WEC’s Senior Design competitors in Saskatoon after which competed nationally two months later on the Canadian Engineering Competitors in Winnipeg. The occasions, which passed off shortly earlier than COVID-related journey restrictions went into impact, concerned engaged on intense, timed engineering challenges with restricted supplies.
In hindsight, says Lee, the workforce was extraordinarily fortunate to have been in a position to compete in particular person.“These competitions have been the spotlight of my senior 12 months,” he says. “It was an unbelievable expertise to satisfy engineering college students from throughout Canada, and to use 4 years of concept from my programs to design, construct, program and take a look at an autonomous robotic inside eight hours.”
Championing optimistic change
Within the midst of programs, co-op phrases and pupil competitions, Lee has nonetheless discovered time to provide again.
He based and led the UVic Senior’s Program, an ongoing collection of free workshops designed to assist seniors grow to be extra snug with utilizing computer systems and the Web. Over the previous a number of years, this system has introduced collectively UVic pupil volunteers and seniors from throughout the neighborhood. Throughout 4 semesters, Lee additionally co-chaired the UVic IEEE Scholar Department, organizing ability growth workshops on matters starting from circuits to machine studying.
Late 2019, he led a convention attended by greater than 200 individuals that includes product managers from three prime US tech firms who spoke concerning the fusion of expertise and enterprise technique.
Lee, who in the beginning of his undergraduate diploma received the extremely prestigious Schulich Chief Scholarship, intends to maintain in search of alternatives to make a distinction, notably within the space of local weather change.
“Rising up in BC, I’ve been fortunate to expertise the sheer great thing about nature and need to do every little thing I can to assist protect the Earth for future generations,” he says. “I hope to make a optimistic distinction and deal with the most important challenges going through the world at the moment.”