Ather Sharif '16
Computer Science M.S.
Career Advancement, Career Advancement
Business owner, PhD candidate
University of Washington
Returning to the Classroom after a Life-Altering Event
After a life-altering car accident in 2013, Ather Sharif had to learn to live life as a quadriplegic. A year after the accident, despite his fears, he made a decision to enroll at Saint Joseph’s University, to complete his complete the computer science degree that he started after relocating from Pakistan to attend the University of North Dakota.
Addressing Web Accessibility Issues with Research and Entrepreneurship
While researching his master’s thesis at SJU, he began considering ways in which those with disabilities experience the web. In 2015, his efforts earned him IBM’s People with Disabilities Award and a $10,000 Google Lime Scholarship. Also that year, he won “Geek of the Year” at the Philly Geek Awards. The project would lead Ather to form his own nonprofit, EvoXLabs, dedicated to increasing accessibility to the web via what’s become known as “universal design.”
How did your SJU experience inspire you to pursue your goals?
“At Saint Joseph’s, I was surrounded by people with positive attitudes. My professors played a great role in not making me feel different from everyone. But they also went out of their way to accommodate me.” In addition to running EvoXlabs, Ather is pursuing a Ph.D. in human-computer interaction at the University of Washington.