James Shaw

James Shaw

Current Studies Bachelor of Science, Undergraduate
Degree Computer Science
Hometown Oshawa, ON


James Shaw is a member of Batchewana First Nation, a nation with ancestral territory in Northern Ontario on the east coast of Lake Superior. James was born and raised in Oshawa, Ontario. He is currently enrolled in the Bachelor of Computer Science second degree program at UBC. He is alumni of the Faculty of Applied Science at UBC and holds a degree in Materials Engineering. James is a member of the UBC Chapter of AISES (the American Indian Science and Engineering Society). The UBC chapter of AISES is dedicated to STEM community outreach, mentorship, professional development, and social networking for Indigenous students and professionals in STEM fields.

How did you become interested in your current field of study?

I became interested in computer science while I was studying Materials engineering. There are several urgent, unmet needs at the interface of materials engineering and computer science. An interdisciplinary approach is necessary to get to the core of these challenges, so I thought it would be useful to learn computer science. The learning experience in my faculty is fast-paced and hands-on. One of the outcomes of the computer science program is to become a proficient software developer, I have been encountering new software languages, frameworks and technologies every single term. I find this to be exciting and more interesting than reading theory. 

What advice would you give students who are interested in studying STEM degrees?

I recommend that students look at post-secondary as a place to test out their ideas. Institutions like UBC have put in plenty of effort into giving you a “sandbox” to support your academic/professional endeavors. If you’re like me, you might want to give research a shot. Maybe you’re an entrepreneur or a community builder. Seek out those opportunities and the University will support your success. The most challenging part about living in residence is finding a balance between academic activities and other hobbies. Living on campus can be insular, and makes it difficult to interact with people with different lifestyles than your own. To balance things out, try to get off of campus a few times a week.

How are you involved outside of your Academics at UBC

Outside my academics at UBC, I am a member of The Canadian Indigenous Science and Engineering Society (.caISES), I am a computer vision researcher Dr. Ian Mitchell’s laboratory and I like to bike, run and read in my spare time.