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Tim Lethbridge's Years as an Undergraduate at UNB

While still at Bathurst High School I was uncertain about what to study. I was interested in Computing, Meteorology and Broadcasting (not necessarily in that order). The guidance counsellor suggested that I try to find a program whereby I could keep all three interests alive. I managed to at least keep the first two alive when I decided to attend the University of New Brunswick in Fredericton.

The decision of university was clinched, however, when the University of New Brunswick invited several top math students to attend "CS-days" at the department of computer science. That day, I had a chance to program my first "real' computer using punched cards -- I wrote a program to compute pi using Taylor series -- and became hooked.

Before starting my computer science studies, I spent the summer of 1991 in total French immersion at Mount Allison University

My education at UNB

I think my computing education at UNB was excellent. Looking back, I am especially pleased at the following aspects:
  • The co-op program. I feel all computing students should have co-op experience.
  • The large amount of programming I had to do. I believe that, although theory is essential, computer science students need to do a lot of raw programming to hone their skills. Those long nights spend finishing big programming projects were well worth while. When I later was taught theory and software engineering discipline, I could immediately see how to apply it.
  • The flexibility of the program. I am extremely pleased that I was able to take courses in ecomonics, politics, business and electrical engineering.
  • The quality of teaching. Certain professors were excellent at stimulating the attention and interest of students.

Extracurricular Activities

While at UNB, I lived mostly in residence (Neville House in my first year, the Jones House, then Aitken House as a proctor or residence assistant).

I also spent much time in three other pursuits:

  • The Brunswickan: I started writing for the student newspaper in my first week of University. By the end of the first term I was promoted to News Editor and spent much of the next year's free time writing prolifically. In time I became Managing Editor and after academic work became too time consuming my role faded to 'Technical Coordinator'. Finally, while studying for my Master's degree I became the Movies columnist. These journalistic experiences greatly enhanced my writing and exposed me to numerous aspects of the journalist's trade.
  • CHSR-FM: I also spend time as a regular news broadcaster on the campus radio station. In addition I did some interviewing and DJing (although I admit I am not knowledgeable about music). This experience helped develop my public speaking abilities, which later became valuable when I started teaching..
  • Campus Politics: I ran in numerous elections at UNB and at various times held postitions as Vice President of the Student Union, member of the university Senate and member of the university Board of Governors. I learned much about how universities work, and also about how to negotiate and work with people with diverse interests. Towards the end of my stay at UNB I spent several years as chair of the student council.

In 1985 I graduated with a BSc(Computer Science). After spending a summer exploring Europe, I started studing for my Master's degree.

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