By Angela Voht
It was Terry (Dapeng) Gao’s strong sense of curiosity that led him to delve into the world of computers upon his arrival in Victoria at the age of eighteen.
“I was fascinated. I wanted to find out how everything worked and what the technology behind the technology was,” he says.
Coming from a medium-sized (population a mere five million) coastal city in Mainland China, Gao quickly fell in love with Victoria. The first year after his arrival, he lived with a Canadian family and faced the formidable challenge of learning English quickly so that he could become a student at UVic. “It was hard at first, but I knew I just had to do it. I worked hard and gave all of myself to learning English.”
Winner of the Computer Science Graduation Medal, Gao was enticed to study computer science by the vibrant computer industry and the excellent career prospects that go with it. “I was curious, and I loved the technology. I also joined the co-op program and got to do many interesting work terms.”
Working at UVic’s computer help desk was a job he enjoyed both for what he learned and for the opportunity it gave him to talk with people. Another co-op position Gao enjoyed was with Syncrude Canada doing systems administration and managing the main servers for the company’s many remote employees.
Today, he is a full-time employee with Research in Motion, in Waterloo, ON. “I miss Victoria, but I am happy to be working for one of the hottest IT companies in the world. I develop software for the Blackberry device and it provides me with a constant challenge in an exciting environment.”
For now, Terry is looking forward to showing his parents around Victoria when they arrive from China for his convocation ceremony.