Atif Mahmud

Deep Learning Research Scientist Intern at Huawei | 2018 Scholar

“I got an email that said I was accepted into the University of Waterloo for Software Engineering. My best friend Zach was sitting right next to me in class. I said, “Zach, look, I got in!” I then showed him my laptop, but I didn't click on other emails yet. As he's reviewing it, I’m turning around talking to the other people in class behind me. Zach then tapped my shoulder, smiling, showing me a new email that came through saying I got the Schulich Leader acceptance offer. I was just ecstatic, I had to leave the room. I was crying. I called my mom. I gave Zach a big hug. I will never forget it.”


Born in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Moved to Canada at 2 years old.

Atif & Mom ❤️


"I'm in my third year at the University of Waterloo. I'm studying software engineering and combinatorics and optimization- a double major in both of those topics. Professionally, I work as a Deep Learning Research Engineer."

“At my school, I also lead a Deep Learning Research Group called Gaggle, where I run paper readings weekly. I do tutorials on a whiteboard and I try to get other university students as engaged in the topics as I am!"
“I wanted to be an engineer because I want to let other people be engineers. That's really what being an engineer is-creating systems and infrastructures in society that let the next generation of thinkers, builders, and makers to be able to think, build and make exponentially faster, expand exponentially better than anyone has before.”
"If you're interested in fundamental human science, that's where engineering comes in. If you're interested in solving problems that evolve dynamically, that's where engineering comes in. And if you want to work collaboratively, that's where engineering comes in, too!”
“In this digital age, we've never seen this level of collaboration. I work on projects that have four thousand other contributors from all over the world. I've never even met them, but I can see the hard work that they're putting in."



I've often found that there are always going to be people who are going to tell you, you're working too hard etc. It's this kind of mindset that you probably want to avoid when you're ambitious or a high achieving student. Try to find like-minded people who are willing to support your ambitions, because if you're excited about it, that's fantastic, that's the first step. But if you find other people who are just as excited about your success, who are just as excited about working together and collaborating on high achievement and high impact activities, then those are the people you want to surround yourself with.


I met my best friend Zach in grade five. Best friends, especially in STEM, are important because you can talk deeply with another person about a topic and you can pick up right where the conversation left off without having to do all this background rehash.


I wanted to pursue the Schulich scholarship as soon as I heard of it (in grade seven). I started preparing then. If you are a person that is driven and your goals are very clear, having someone who understands you is important because not everybody cherishes that level of success to feel content or happy in life. If you're a high achieving student, you need to surround yourself with people who are willing to accept that you're going to make sacrifices in earlier stages of your life and you're going to need to be more focused in certain areas.


If you have the luxury to love yourself and focus on yourself, that's your first support system. Every single individual should love themselves. But after that, getting close with a specific person or a group of people that share your interests is really important.

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