Graduating resident says College changed his life

Sunday 6 September, 2015

Popular Warrane resident Charbel Zeaiter recently graduated with a Computer Science degree from UNSW and has launched into his professional career, landing a much sought-after position at PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

PwC is the world's second largest professional services networks and one of the “Big Four” auditors that includes Deloitte, EY and KPMG.

Charbel’s move into computer science came after pursuing an acting career, completing a course at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA). Like so many aspiring young actors, he decided to move on after finding the job landscape was extremely limited. 

But he has found his passion for writing software has no such limitations. While at Warrane he established an in-house server to help residents share academic resources and he devised a program allowing students to interact with their teachers during lectures.

“I called the software Confidence,” he said. ”It acts as an in-lecture learning facilitator or virtual board, allowing students to post questions and have them answered verbally in real-time during the lecture." 

“Questions can be up-voted by other students to ensure they are prioritised when answered by the lecturer and it comes with an automatic end-of-lecture short feedback question, where the results are used to populate a public forum." 

“When performing subject selection, new students can visit this forum to determine if certain courses in the future will suit their needs." 

“The software allows the lecturer to better gauge whether students are actually following and understanding lectures and adjust accordingly. It also allows students to find out which courses are recommended and which are not.”

The software was devised as a course assignment but Charbel is considering developing it further in the future.

That future, he says, has very definitely been influenced for the better by his time at Warrane.

“The College was something that changed my life,” he said. “It took me out of what was a very sheltered environment and helped me develop as a person. I found that it is a place that helps you to develop in all areas of your life."

“When you are in College you can always find someone to have a talk to and there are always activities going on that you can join in with. I found you make so many friends who are always there to help you out.”

Charbel said he had not known what to expect when he came to the College and was not sure what he would get out of it.

“But it turned out to be something that has been critical to my life and my development,” he said.

While at Warrane, Charbel contributed to the life of the College, acting as a computing tutor, giving tutorials, and taking part in community service projects. He said among his favourite activities were the Warrane Ball, the Wednesday Night Formal Dinners and Talks from visiting guests, and College Harbour Cruises. But he also enjoyed helping out with Warrane barbecues, organising road trips for residents and particularly setting up the College computer server.

"I feel the College helped me a lot. Especially by helping me to do well academically. I have visited other colleges and the atmosphere just wasn’t the same. Thanks to Warrane I was able to maintain a distinction average right through my course. That is not something that is easy to do, but a big proportion of Warrane residents do it every year."

“I suppose I could best sum up my enthusiasm for the College by saying that if I have sons of my own I will certainly want them to become Warrane residents.”

Charbel’s academic achievements while at Warrane were underlined recently when he was offered a position with JPMorgan Chase, the largest bank in the United States and the fourth largest in the world.

Everyone at Warrane wishes Charbel all the best for his future. No doubt we will see him back as a Wednesday Night Guest at some stage in the future! 

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