Faculty of Science grad Samiha Hoque begins her career as a web application developer with Sproule, a Calgary-based energy consulting company.
Faculty of Science grad Samiha Hoque begins her career as a web application developer with Sproule, a global energy consulting company. Riley Brandt, University of Calgary

May 31, 2024

Class of 2024: Community builder seized every student life opportunity

Computer science graduate Samiha Hoque from Bangladesh makes Calgary home

Samiha Hoque knew she liked math and she discovered she had a thing for programming when she took a computer science course in high school. Born in Bangladesh and raised in Malaysia, Hoque moved to Calgary in 2021 to pursue a computer science degree in the Faculty of Science. 

As she launches her career — as a web application developer with Sproule, an energy consulting company headquartered in Calgary — she can’t help but contemplate everything she’s learned during her years at the University of Calgary: from supporting students in residence, researching data science with a Program for Undergraduate Research Experience award, and joining clubs, including Women in STEM and Women in Computer Science. 

Raised in a small town, Hoque says she always had big dreams of pursuing an education at a large university. “As soon as I went to my first in-person class, it was very clear there were very few women. It's just really rare to see female faces in those classes,” she says. “We’d sit together and I felt like I could go to them for help and resources when I was stuck with homework.”  

Aligning values with university activities

Attending club events helped her meet more women in her field — including other comp sci majors who had moved to Canada to study. “Even though we were a small number, most of us knew each other and we felt very connected.” she says. 

Hoque, who speaks five languages, connected with other clubs, too — serving as vice-president of finance at Learning Beyond Borders UCalgary Chapter, which helps children in rural Uganda get access to education. And she was a community ambassador for Aurora Hall, the residence where she lived. “I was very involved with lots of initiatives on campus, especially ones that aligned with my values.”

One of those initiatives — Work-Integrated Learning for Neurodiverse Students at the Taylor Institute for Teaching and Learning — is “close to my heart,” says Hoque, who helps neurodivergent students find work with different employers. The role also impressed on her the need for universal design in software. 

“It helped me understand how I can make technology a lot more accessible for neurodivergent individuals, which makes it better for everyone,” she says.

'Really thinking about student experience on campus'

“Samiha came on really quickly, got up to speed really quickly, and was a huge value-add to the team,” says Greta Heathcote, associate director of the initiative. “She has a real commitment to social justice working in EDIA spaces (equity, diversity, inclusion and accessibility), really thinking about student experience on campus and how can we do a better job of it. She is really fantastic.” 

During her undergrad, Hoque received several scholarships and awards including the University of Calgary International Undergraduate Award from the Board of Governors. Her family is coming from Malaysia to attend Hoque’s convocation.

“It can definitely be lonely not having any family and just moving to a whole new country all by yourself,” she says. “But I met a lot of amazing friends through residence and my community ambassador position. That's really how I was able to find my community away from home.” 

Campus was “my little cocoon and hub where I live, work, eat, study,” says Hoque. “I felt really integrated with the campus community. I really delved into every opportunity.”

Read more inspiring stories about the accomplishments and journeys of the Class of 2024.

Graduates, as you prepare to transition away from student life, we'd like to also welcome you into the UCalgary alumni community. Learn about the programs, benefits and services available exclusively to UCalgary grads, and be sure to keep in touch. 

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