Tag: Montreal

Nicholas Johnson Earns Top Academic Spot as Valedictorian of Princeton’s Class of 2020

Princeton Class of 2020 Valedictorian Nicholas Johnson (Photo by Lisa Festa, Princeton Center for Career Development)

Nicholas Johnson from Montreal, Canada, has been named valedictorian of Princeton’s Class of 2020, according to princeton.edu. becoming the first black person to earn that academic honor since Princeton was founded in 1746.

Princeton will hold a virtual commencement for the Class of 2020 on Sunday, May 31, 2020, in which Johnson will participate. An in-person ceremony will be held in May 2021.

To quote from princeton.edu:

Johnson said he appreciates the encouragement he has received at Princeton in developing his academic interests. The University’s support through opportunities including international internships and cultural immersion trips to Peru, Hong Kong and the United Kingdom were especially significant, Johnson said. But most of all, he treasures his relationships with his classmates.

“My favorite memories of my time at Princeton are memories of time spent with close friends and classmates engaging in stimulating discussions — often late at night — about our beliefs, the cultures and environments in which we were raised, the state of the world, and how we plan on contributing positively to it in our own unique way,” Johnson said.

Johnson plans to spend this summer interning as a hybrid quantitative researcher and software developer at the D. E. Shaw Group before beginning Ph.D. studies in operations research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in fall 2020.

Along with his concentration in operations research and financial engineering, he is pursuing certificates in statistics and machine learning, applied and computational mathematics, and applications of computing.

His research has focused primarily on sequential decision-making under uncertainty, optimization, and the ethical considerations that must be made given the increasing role of algorithmic decision-making systems.

His senior thesis, “Sequential Stochastic Network Structure Optimization with Applications to Addressing Canada’s Obesity Epidemic,” focuses on developing high-performance, efficient algorithms to solve a network-based optimization problem that models a community-based preventative health intervention designed to curb the prevalence of obesity in Canada.

In addition to serving as a writing fellow at Princeton’s Writing Center, Johnson is editor of Tortoise: A Journal of Writing Pedagogy. He is also a member of the Princeton chapter of Engineers Without Borders and served as its co-president in 2018.

As a rising senior, Johnson worked as a software engineer in machine learning at Google’s California headquarters.

He previously interned at Oxford University’s Integrative Computational Biology and Machine Learning Group, developing and implementing a novel optimization technique. He presented the project at Princeton’s inaugural Day of Optimization in October 2018 and at the 25th Conference of African American Researchers in the Mathematical Sciences in June 2019, where his project was recognized with the Angela E. Grant Poster Award for Best Modeling.

More: https://www.princeton.edu/news/2020/04/27/nicholas-johnson-named-valedictorian-grace-sommers-selected-salutatorian

Malyk Bonnet, 17, Hailed a Hero After Saving Woman from Kidnap by Ex-Boyfriend in Montreal

The Laval Police Department in Quebec with 17-year-old Malyk Bonnet, a restaurant cook, who rescued a woman who had been abducted by her dangerous ex-boyfriend.
The Laval Police Department in Quebec with 17-year-old Malyk Bonnet, a restaurant cook, who rescued a woman who had been abducted by her dangerous ex-boyfriend. (photo via Laval Police Department)

A teenager has been hailed a hero after helping a kidnapped woman escape from the clutches of her ex-boyfriend.  Police praised Malyk Bonnet, 17, after his quick thinking saved the woman’s life when he stayed with her until he could alert police.

Humble Bonnet initially laughed off the plaudits, but said: “Now I realize what I did and wow…it’s really awesome. I mean, I saved a life!”

On August 1, Bonnet was waiting for a bus home after finishing his shift as a cook at a restaurant in Montreal when he noticed the couple arguing, reported CBC News.  The couple asked him for money to take the bus, and he agreed to get some change at a convenience store and give them some money.

Bonnet had a moment alone with the terrified woman and decided he had to help rescue her.  “My plan was to keep them in a public place, where there’s a lot of people. I decided to make myself friendly with the man, so he would trust me. So I played my game,” Bonnet said.

Police were already looking for the woman and described the man as “very dangerous,” said Laval police Lt. Daniel Guérin.  Guérin said the man had already been found guilty of assault and death threats against his ex-girlfriend last year, and he was under a court order to stay away from her.

Bonnet waiting for the right moment and took the couple for food in order to keep them in a public place.  After his cellphone battery had died, he pretended to go to the washroom and borrowed a phone from someone in the restaurant to call police, who arrived within minutes.

Bonnet said the abducted woman was overcome with relief and added: “She was almost crying. She was so happy, so happy not to be with him.”

Police arrested the man on the spot and he appeared in court Monday on charges of kidnapping, forcible confinement and assault.  Lt. Guérin said Laval police now intend to nominate Bonnet for a provincial award for bravery and added: “He managed the situation very well and took good decisions that probably saved the life of this woman.”

article by Laurie Hanna via nydailynews.com