Behind the screen

Gail Banaszkiewicz has been interested in computers ever since her father brought home old models from work. She would fool around with the graphics and wonder how it all worked behind the screen.

So it’s not surprising that she would go on to study computer science and come out of the program with phenomenal grades.

What is surprising, perhaps, is the effect Banaszkiewicz had on all who came into contact with her.

“She has a nice approach with people,” notes Michel Barbeau, acting director of the School of Computer Science at Carleton. “And she’s not an ordinary student. She has something special.”

Banaszkiewicz graduates this June after five years as an honours co-op student in the software and computing stream, with a minor in mathematics. She received a Canadian Information Processing Society (CIPS) scholarship twice during her undergraduate studies and she has earned the coveted Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Canada Graduate Scholarship. Banaszkiewicz will begin her master’s studies in computer science this fall.

Her interests, however, go far beyond logic, computational geometry and automata theory. During her years at Carleton, she has been a teaching assistant and peer facilitator. In the summer, she loves motorcycling and in the winter, snowboarding. And she studies tae kwon-do, yoga and jazz dance.

She also left her mark with the Carleton Computer Science Society.

“In my seven years here,” recalls Barbeau, “there has never been a better president. This year we had the best communication ever between students and professors. She also promoted a website for the society and wrote a guide for computer science students.”

Barbeau is impressed with Banaszkiewicz’s success in what he considers a “tough” program.

An Ottawa native, Banaszkiewicz says Carleton was an obvious choice. She also believes the computer science program has prepared her well for a career in software development.

“It has a good variety, the mathematical base is good and you can go in any direction you want, from software engineering to pure computer science.”

There has been a recent dramatic increase in interest in Carleton’s bachelor of computer science, partly due to its innovative programs.

‘”We are very proactive in promoting new ideas,” says Barbeau. “A specialization in computer game development starts this fall and I believe we are among the first universities to introduce this kind of program.”

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Susan Hickman

By Susan Hickman

For nearly four decades, journalist Susan Hickman has written about every imaginable subject for sundry newspapers and magazines in Canada and abroad, as well as for CBC TV and CBC Radio. She has also managed various publications, including academic newspapers and technology magazines, and was recently commissioned to write a guide for foreign missions serving in Canada. Currently, she is working on a couple of personal memoirs.

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