Science Atlantic Outstanding Alumnus, 2012
Ancienne étudiante distinguée 2012 de Science Atlantique
Dr. Dan Lizotte, a former undergraduate student at the University of New Brunswick (UNB), Fredericton, has been inducted into the Science Atlantic Hall of Fame for being an exceptional science student and science communicator.
Dan graduated from UNB with a Bachelor of Computer Science in 2001. He was rewarded for his outstanding academic efforts by winning the computer science prize for best undergraduate honours thesis, as well as the Lieutenant Governor of New Brunswick Silver Medal for having the highest cumulative grade point average in Computer Science.
It was during his undergrad studies that he attended the APICS (now Science Atlantic) Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science Conference and presented a research paper. What Dan liked most about the conference was that it gave him the opportunity to get to know his colleagues and mentors better outside of work and class.
Attending the conference provided Dan with presentation experience early in his career. He says, “I think the opportunity to work hard, develop a research idea, and then speak about that research with confidence, especially early on, was really valuable. Just being made aware of that as a career path was hugely important for me.”
After completing his BCS, Dan went on to complete his MSc and PhD in Computing Science at the University of Alberta. At U of A he was awarded the Izaak Walton Killam Memorial Scholarship, the most prestigious graduate award that the university gives. He was also very involved and enthusiastic about his education, becoming the president of the Computer Science Graduate Student Association at the University of Alberta.
Dan went on to complete his postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan from 2008-2011. Here he worked for the Department of Statistics and the Institute for Social Research. Afterwards, he found his first position by searching online job postings, becoming an Assistant Professor in the David R. Cheriton School of Computer Science at the University of Waterloo. In 2014, he went on to become an Assistant Professor at Western University in London, Ontario, in the Computer Science and Epidemiology and Biostatistics departments.
In 2006, Dan got the opportunity to take his research to the Smithsonian Folklife Festival in Washington, DC. Did we mention that by research, we meant his work with robot dogs? These dogs can bark, wag their tails, flop their ears, and more! His research with the dogs involved testing a method to improve how fast a robot could walk.
Dan’s key piece of advice to university students is to work hard and focus, but try not to worry too much at the same time. Perhaps that’s easier said than done, but it’s possible: he was able to excel in his academics and participate in student activities and have fun at both!
We are pleased to recognize Dr. Dan Lizotte in the Science Atlantic Alumni Hall of Fame for his outstanding achievements as a former Atlantic Canadian student and in his career as a computer scientist.
Listen to Dan’s radio interview June 27, 2006, for Innovation Alberta!