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Miriam Zia

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I’m currently a Masters student at McGill University’s School of Computer Science, where I also completed my Bachelors degree. My research interest lies in the use of modelling and simulation based processes for the engineering and design of complex systems. My masters’ work is geared towards designing frameworks, for the Belgian government, which make use of electronic identity cards for applications in e-archiving, e-health and e-government. These applications must protect the privacy of citizens, and so my focus is on developing a methodology for verifying and proving the privacy and security properties of such frameworks. I have to say that grad school has been great! In 2005, I got a chance to present some of my work at a “Model Driven Engineering Languages and Systems” conference (in Jamaica, of all places!), and recently published a paper in the Software and Systems Modeling journal.

As an undergraduate, I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to pursue a Masters or get started in the workforce. I mostly had student interest in mind! I served on the “Computer Science Undergraduate Society” for three straight years, starting off as the First Year Representative, and moving my way up to the position of President. Outside the university, I tutored under-privileged children in Math, as part of an after-school program offered by the Welcome Hall Mission. Nowadays, I’m still trying to stay active within the department, and have been involved in organizing the school’s Summer Camp. I’m also chairing the CS Games organizing committee, and I’m setting forth some initiative for creating a graduate student society for our department. Getting involved in such activities definitely gave me the opportunity to develop what some call "soft skills".

On the side, I love to dance! I've taken some salsa and merengue classes, and I'm now picking up Argentinean tango. I'm also a globe-trotter, and am trying to travel as much as possible before I step into a job that will only give me two weeks off per year! My recent adventures lead me to Egypt, and I'm planning a trip to Madagascar and Tanzania in 2007.

The greatest reward has been, over the six years that I have been here, to see how the School of Computer Science has evolved and has taken every initiative to develop more outreach programs. Our faculty is growing and we have much more exciting and innovative research being conducted, and this just makes it harder to leave school!