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Sara Faridi

“Mathematics, to me is . . .Building beautiful things and then adding to them. Sometimes you go back and destroy so you can build better objects with the same design. It is also discovering how what others build are magically related to your structures.”
Sara's biography

I grew up mostly in Iran and completed high school and my undergraduate degree there. I moved to Boston in 1994 to join the graduate program at Brandeis University. While at Brandeis I started working with Karen Smith who was at MIT at the time. When Karen moved to the University of Michigan, I followed her there and graduated in 2000 with a PhD from Michigan.

I had applied to immigrate to Canada during graduate school, but the process took a few years. I spent two years working as an Assistant Professor at George Washington University while waiting for the immigration process to complete. In 2002 I joined LaCIM (Le Laboratoire de combinatoire et d’informatique) in UQAM, Montreal, as an NSERC Postdoctoral Fellow.

I met my future husband in Michigan, so all the time afterwards we were trying to solve the two-body problem. He also applied for Canadian immigration, and had a position at the University of Ottawa by the time I moved to Montreal. After that, we started a joint search and finally I moved to Ottawa in 2004, and then both of us moved to Halifax for positions at Dalhousie University in 2005. I won an NSERC University Faculty Award which made the job search easier.

Communication. It is easy to get lost in what you do and forget why you started doing it in the first place. My advisor was always able to explain what she was doing, no matter how complicated. I tried to learn from her.

Having a few days to myself to just build. It happens rarely nowadays, though.

I have small children, so there is not much relaxing. But I love to read.

They have played significant roles, either directly and knowingly, or indirectly. Often people just say something small that makes a light bulb go off in your head, and changes the direction your career.

Don’t give up! Keep working hard and remember that hard work pays off more than anything else. Also, act like a woman and expect to be accepted and respected as one.

Through outreach and professional development activities, research, partnerships, thought leadership and online initiatives, we work with industry and academia to educate on the value of diversity for innovation, to inspire women to thrive and to celebrate the contributions of women in science and engineering.
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