Why we're very, very proud of Céline GravelinesSaturday, June 23, 2012 by: Donna Hopper
Sault Ste. Marie's own Céline Gravelines was one of 79 Google Anita Borg Memorial finalists from Canada, the United States, Europe, the Middle East and Africa selected to attend an all-expenses-paid three-day Google Scholars Retreat at Google's corporate headquarters, The Googleplex, in Mountain View, California.
The recent graduate from the University of Western Ontario, BSc. (Honours) in Physics and Computer Science, attended St. Paul Elementary and St. Basil Secondary School in the Sault and is mapping out a career in bioinformatics and biocomputing.
"I didn’t decide to focus on computer science until I was away at Western, but many of my math and science teachers throughout my education back home provided me with the logic and problem-solving skills essential to computer science," Gravelines told SooToday.com.
"As a physics major as well, I started with basic programming and I quickly saw the significance of computing, a vital tool in the understanding of the universe."
Gravelines explained that bioinformatics and biocomputing is the science of computer programming as it relates to biology, neuroscience in her case.
"In my research, I will be using my physics and mathematical background to model and simulate blood flow in the brain based on oscillations (repetitive vibrations)," she said.
Gravelines first learned of the Google Anita Borg Memorial scholarship from an associate at Western University who suggest she would be a strong contender for the award.
"The application process was quite involved, used to convey both academic success and my philosophy and personal history of leadership, especially pertaining to young women in technology," she told us. "The idea of going to Google motivated me to apply and I was absolutely thrilled when I was selected."
Her selection as a Google Anita Borg Memorial finalist has already impacted her career and opened new exciting opportunities.
As soon as one of Gravelines' professors discovered she had applied for the award, he offered her a position in his Masters Degree program.
"It is because of this scholarship that I am pursuing my graduate degree next year, providing me with an entirely new set of career options in research fields of computer science," she explained. "The Anita Borg Scholarship is a world-renowned honour and I hope that the leadership and determination associated with the award is carried with me wherever I go."
A primarily male-dominated field, computer science can be intimidating but also incredibly rewarding, Gravelines said.
She encourages any woman seeking a fun and challenging career to give computer science a shot.
"The job market continues to grow and there is such a wide range of subjects within computer science, from software development to game design and artificial intelligence," she said. "Females can add a new dynamic to technology through creativity and unique thinking."