Chava Weitzman

Chava Weitzman

What education haveyou taken?

Prior to my study of computer science and mathematics, I studied fine arts, graphic design, and was a graphic artist and website designer for several years. Additionally I have extensive training and experiencein the writing of grants and proposals, and strategic planning of foundations and charitable organizations.

What accomplishments are you proud of?

In the past:

  • overcoming a difficult childhood which included a mentally disabled parent, foster care and homelessness
  • my service to thepoorwith Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, and my extensive work with the poverty coalition
  • grant writing for several charities when I lived in Saskatchewan. My efforts resulted in these charities receiving a combined total of over 2 million dollars in government funding. As a result, I received Saskatchewan’s Centennial LeadershipMedal for my efforts and I am very proud of that!

In the present:

  • my membership in Mensa
  • returning to university and doing well in spite of a disability
  • mentoring teenage girls in the community
  • building my first robot (a simple photovore) with no previous technical experience

Tell me about yourself.

I spent alarge part of my childhood in Manitoba but have lived in other parts of Canada, the United States, and overseas. I returned to Manitoba approximately 18 months ago and I am enjoying my new life in Brandon! I have many varied interests, including robotics, computer programming, science fiction, mountain biking, tropical birds (as pets!),illustration, and various forms of artistic expression. I enjoy spending time with friends, learning new skills, and being out in nature.

How did you become interested in your field of study?

Quite by accident! I was asked to assist an elderly lady with setting up her new computer. This soon progressed to my tutoring her in the basic use of computers. Then by word of mouth I began to assist several other seniors. Many of them had experienced strokes, mild dementia or aphasia. I discovered thatworking with computers kept their minds active andgave them a sense of pride, thus reducing their disabilities.As I was very busy, I couldn’t always be there in person to assist them, so I designed a computer program which they could use as a “virtual tutor” of sorts. This got me interested in programming professionallyand the rest is history!

What is your philosophy in life?

“There is no such thing as a problem without a gift for you in its hands.”- Richard Bach

“Experience is not what happens to you. It’s what you do with what happens to you.”- Aldous Huxley

The above quotes sum up my philosophy in life. I striveto think positively about every situation. I look for unique solutions anddifferent waysof accomplishing tasks. I treat problemsas ways to learn and grow. I am constantly “reinventing” myself. Without problemsand pain, I doubt life would be as interesting, rewarding or meaningful. I try to have a sense of humour regarding my shortcomings, and as Richard Bach says, I look for the gift in every situation, no matter how negative or hopeless it may seem in the present. Life is a tapestry made upof the threads of many experiences.

Where to do you see yourself in the future?

Technology is advancing exponentially, andone unfortunate result is,many in the third world are getting “left behind”.The gap between the haves and the have-nots is massive and constantly increasing.One of my dreams isto workoverseas in thefield of computers / technology, bringingtechnology to the third world sothat people there can experience thesame advantages and opportunities as we in the first worldenjoy.

Nominator’s commendation:

“I had Chava Weitzman in my class last year. She always went the extra mile. She took remarkable notes in class. They were so good that I placed a copy of her notesin the library for other students. Also, she often brought articles and “youtube” videos on relevant topics that enhanced the learning. She also achieved the highest mark in the class. This year I asked her to mark this course for me, and to serve as a lab assistant. She is just amazing. An excellent marker and very good at explaining concepts to students. In her third course with me, her excellence continues. She is a clever, hardworking, conscientious, pleasant student and very much deserves to be honored.”