Dr. Baljeet Malhotra is inspiring the next generation of students by giving a current UNBC student the ability to work with his team at Vancouver-based start-up TeejLab. He’s created the Research in Technology Fellowship which comes with a $10,000 financial award along with a chance to work with TeejLab scientists on a research project.
The support Dr. Baljeet Malhotra received through scholarships at the University of Northern British Columbia had a profound impact on his life.
Malhotra, a UNBC graduate, award-winning researcher, and successful entrepreneur, launched his latest venture, TeejLab, a research-based software company in Vancouver that provides data-driven technological solutions to its customers and partners.
Now he’s inspiring the next generation of students by giving a current UNBC student the ability to work with his team. He’s created the Research in Technology Fellowship through a contribution to the Northern Leadership Campaign. Fourth-year Computer Science student Davis Goulet is the first recipient of the Fellowship, which comes with a $10,000 financial award along with a chance to work with TeejLab scientists on a research project.
“This fellowship will not only give a deserving student important financial assistance as they complete their studies, it will also provide them with mentorship from our experts at TeejLab,” Malhotra says. “Davis will work on a cutting-edge research project while gaining valuable professional experience.”
The partnership between TeejLab and UNBC to create the fellowship is the first of its kind for the University.
“This Fellowship is a rare and wonderful opportunity for our students,” says UNBC Computer Science Professor Dr. Alex Aravind, who was Malhotra’s Master of Science degree supervisor. “The whole purpose of research and development is to solve real-world problems and this fellowship will allow Davis to apply what he learned in the classroom to a project with a respected industry partner.”
The award aims to nurture local talent and has been made available to Canadian citizens and permanent residents studying Computer Science, Mathematics, Physics or a related field.
Goulet was born in B.C., but moved to New Brunswick as a child. He chose UNBC because he wanted to both attend a smaller, research-intensive university and return to British Columbia.
“This fellowship gives me a unique perspective to combine academic research and develop solutions that are important to industry,” Goulet says. “As a small University, UNBC has facilitated my interactions with faculty members on research projects, which has helped me in preparing for this fellowship.”
Malhotra came to UNBC in 2003 to pursue his Master of Computer Science and received a BC Advanced Systems Institute scholarship worth $10,000. He also received support from the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council and the Queen Elizabeth II Graduate Scholarship program.
“These awards helped me a lot, in so many different ways,” he says, noting UNBC gave him his start in research and played a pivotal role in launching his career.
After graduating with a Master of Science from UNBC, Malhotra completed his PhD at the University of Alberta, a post-doc at the National University of Singapore, and began a successful career in the private sector. Throughout that time he remained connected to UNBC through Dr. Aravind and by hiring UNBC graduates.
Last year he received a Distinguished Alumni Professional Excellence Award. He returned to UNBC to accept the award in May and was able to meet with University leaders to discuss the concept of the fellowship as a way of giving back.
Malhotra says UNBC’s status as one of Canada’s best small, research-intensive universities makes it a natural fit for this type of project because he is able to work closely with researchers and administrators to ensure the fellowship’s success.
“Receiving that award allowed me to return to the University and meet face-to-face with the President, the Vice President Research and with faculty,” Malhotra says. “It was through those discussions that we realized a fellowship was possible.”
Malhotra was the second student Aravind supervised at UNBC and is one of many graduates from Aravind’s lab who have gone on to successful careers in research and industry. Aravind is hopeful that fellowships such as this will help attract more outstanding undergraduate and graduate students to UNBC to conduct research.
“The UNBC Computer Science program produces high-quality researchers who are discovering new ideas, solving problems and succeeding in their fields,” he says.
For TeejLab, the fellowship gives the company the chance to work directly with students and help prepare the next-generation of computer scientists for the workforce.
“The talent pool we will nurture through this fellowship will not only help us grow this company, but will also strengthen B.C.’s ecosystem around the knowledge-driven industry we are part of,” Malhotra says.