UBC Reports | Vol. 49 | No. 5 | May
Computer Science Grad Makes an Impression at Microsoft
Then lands major job at Electronic Arts.
By Michelle Cook
Its a long road from Russia to the backyard of Bill
Gates house, but Computer Science student Natali Altshuler
made the trip in just nine years.
The vivacious 22-year-old even got a chance to meet the Microsoft
chairman in person. The brief encounter occurred last year
during a barbeque for interns at Gates home. Altshuler
says it was one of the highlights of her experience in the
Computer Science Co-operative Education Program.
I got to shake his hand and how many people can say
that? says Altshuler. The co-op program gave me
opportunities I would not have had otherwise.
Altshuler, who will receive her Bachelor of Science with
a minor in Commerce this month, immigrated with her family
to Canada when she was 13. Her parents -- both musicians --
wanted to give her and her sister a better life.
She arrived from Russia speaking no English and began Grade
8 as an ESL student. When she graduated from high school,
Altshuler was not only fluent but had an unconditional offer
of acceptance to UBC with an Outstanding Student Initiative
She says getting accepted into the computer science co-op
program in her second year was one of the best things that
ever happened to her.
Through the program, she worked in software development at
Motorola Canada Ltd. (which named her Motorola Ambassador
to UBC after she completed her work term), and at MacDonald
Dettwiler & Associates (MDA), where she worked on a naval
combat operator-training simulator (MDA gave her a scholarship
based on her contribution to the project). Those co-op experiences
helped her to land a position as a program manager intern
at Microsoft Corp. in Seattle.
An engaging blend of intelligence and charisma, Altshuler
shatters the image of computer science majors as quiet, shy
In her co-op placements and on campus, Altshuler says she
always looked for ways to make an impact. At Motorola, she
co-ordinated several large events. At UBC, she was a long-standing
executive of the Computer Science Students Society -- eventually
becoming president in her final year -- and helped to organize
numerous activities including information sessions and a computer-industry
Although driven by a desire to do her best and make her family
proud, Altshuler believes in balancing work and play. Its
a philosophy that will serve her well in her new job as development
director at Electronic Arts, the worlds leading developer
of electronic games.
EA is a perfect match for me, Altshuler says.
What appealed to me is that youre creating something
that people can use and enjoy.