Member Profile: Myriam Beauvais

1. What do you do, and how long have you been doing it?

I am a graphics programmer; I make magic happen mixing Maths and Computer Science! Since January 2017, I have been working on a Master’s degree in Electrical and Computer Engineering as part of the GIL (Graphics and Imaging Lab) at McGill University under the supervision of Derek Nowrouzezahrai. Our lab is fairly new and along with researching and implementing some cutting edge rendering techniques, we are setting up the GIL and working on making it the best lab ever! Outside my master’s, I contribute to the SIGGRAPH 2018 Creative Development Committee, I support the CS Games’ organization each year as a member of the permanent council and I am working with Caroline Beyne and Marie-Soleil Chabot (dream team) to re-launch that ACM SIGGRAPH Montréal Chapter!

2. What was your first job?

My very first job was as a sale clerk for a Video Game store in my hometown. I loved that job and I believe it’s what sparked my side interests in Business and Marketing. My first job related to my field was as a NSERC research intern at Université de Sherbrooke. I was developing a 3D reconstruction application to use with the University’s VR Cave. I completed 3 other internships afterward, two of which were at Eidos-Montréal working on the Tomb Raider Franchise! My first job out of school was as a Graphics Programmer for Volta FX.

3. Where did you complete your formal education?

I have a Bachelor of Science degree in Imaging and Digital Media (free translation of Sciences de l’image et des médias numériques) from Université de Sherbrooke prior to which I also completed a degree in Business Administration at the same University and a CÉGEP Degree in Sciences, Letters and Arts from CÉGEP de Sherbrooke.

4. How did you first get involved with ACM SIGGRAPH?

In 2015, during my image synthesis course, an invited speaker talked to us about the existence of ACM SIGGRAPH and then existing Montreal’s chapter. I Googled if there were any volunteering opportunities at the conference and landed on the Student Volunteer Program page. It seemed fun and I applied! I was rejected on the first round but still was waitlisted. I got lucky and ended up getting a spot in the Program, for which I am super grateful! That was the beginning of my amazing adventures with the SV Program which I got to serve as SV and TL since then!

5. What is your favorite memory of a SIGGRAPH conference?

I have so many good memories of SIGGRAPH! My most precious SIGGRAPH moments are related to the people and friends I have there whom I can difficultly see outside of the context of the conference. Last year (2017), there was an evening a lot of the TLs were just too tired to go out and as my TL roommates and I had the largest hotel room, we invited a bunch of our SIGGY friends around to join in. We shared all of the exciting stuff we’ve experienced until then while eating food brought from every corners of the world. It was golden!

There is also one very powerful moment that happens each year for Team Leaders that I love a lot. Team Leaders arrive a few days before the conference starts and, very organically, everyone end up gathering in the lobby of our shared hotel. This is in part a very exciting reunion with friends you only see at SIGGRAPH and it’s in part when we meet the other Team Leaders face to face for the very first time. It’s such a welcoming and friendly moment; it feels like we’ve all known each others for years! It makes me all warm and fuzzy inside when I think of it.

6. Describe a project that you would like to share with the ACM SIGGRAPH community.

At SIGGRAPH 2017, I organized a Bird of a Feather session on VR Ethics. We had four amazing panelists and the contributions of attendees to the discussion were super interesting. Techno Ethics is a very important topic to me and I love having discussions on the different ways we can continue pushing the state-of-the-art while respecting the involved users and communities in their psychological, sociological, economical and political aspects. I am glad this discussion happened and I came out of the experience with a lot more ideas and perspectives on the topic.

7. If you could have dinner with one living or non-living person, who would it be and why?

I’ve been spinning this question in my head for a while now, trying to find one smart answer, and there are just too many inspiring and great people I’d like to meet for all different reasons: I’d have dinner with Ada Lovelace, I’d love discussing with Walt Disney, I’d love picking the brain of Leonardo Da Vinci, I would like to hear Nina Simone’s story from her own point of view, I have questions for Elon Musk and Coco Chanel, I have a teacher I think is super inspiring and I’d definitely love to exchange more with him… This is just too hard of a question! I think in the end I’d choose to have dinner with my paternal grandfather. He was a WWII medic and passed away when my father was 6. I’ve heard so many great stories about him and I’d love to meet him and hear what he’d have to share!

8. What is something most people don’t know about you?

I have been on and off the stage for now 21 consecutive years, presenting in a variety of disciplines! I used to play different music instruments (violin, piano, percussions, saxophone alto and tenor), I sing, I dance and have been part of an awesome semi-professional Tribal Fusion dance troupe for 4 years. Now I spend most of my time learning aerial circus arts and discovering social dances. I started making my own choreographies in 2016 and I just started playing Ukulele. I set myself the goal to share more of the art I do with others.

9. From which single individual have you learned the most in your life? What did they teach you?

I am incredibly lucky to have had great mentors who taught me so much on life aspects going far beyond their own fields; My first boss David Bouchard, my dance teacher Catherine de Sève, my friend Nicolas Lupien and my programming mentor Thierry Lavoie. Their teachings still reverberate throughout different moments in my life and influences my decisions even now in their own ways. I would still say my father is the person from whom I learned the most. He shared a lot of his passions with me while I was younger. We used to play video games together and he was pointing out to me what he thought was really cool in Computer Graphics as we were playing. That was definitely the beginning of my interest in the field! He is also someone who works a lot on himself and he taught me introspection and to value self-growth. He helped me on becoming overall a more well-rounded person and taught me on management, leadership and problem solving by pushing my reflections further and underlining big picture elements, highlighting different perspectives on issues, etc.

10. Is there someone in particular who has influenced your decision to work with ACM SIGGRAPH?

My initial decision to join the volunteering activities of the conference was really out of the blue, but the SIGGRAPH community as a whole definitely keeps me wanting to continue contributing and giving back to SIGGRAPH. I met many inspiring people through the conference and I’ve grown and learned so much from the Student Volunteer Program. I’d love to see this community to continue growing and evolving and I’m glad to be able to help make all of that magic happens for others too!

11. What can you point to in your career as your proudest moment?

I am still kicking off my career and I am not ready to point at anything as my proudest moment yet. I am looking forward to see what exciting challenges the future will bring me :)