From Brazil to Canada with a Passion for Technology and Research: Meet Dr. Ronnie E. de Souza Santos

An interest in using technology to improve society is what led Dr. Ronnie E. de Souza Santos to join CBU’s Shannon School of Business as an Assistant Professor in Business Analytics this July. Ronnie saw the role as an opportunity to conduct research, something he loves dearly, while also sharing a plethora of knowledge with students looking for a future in the industry of software engineering. 

Interested in software engineering from a young age, Ronnie has always been passionate about the development process and says he is fascinated by how software professionals work, how technology is built and how software evolves. Originally from a small town in Brazil, Ronnie moved to Canada in 2021 and lived in Halifax before relocating to Sydney. He says he is enjoying the atmosphere in Cape Breton thus far and loves exploring the small communities in his new home. 

Teaching Data Visualization this fall, Ronnie wants his students to know that his class will always be a safe and open space for learning, and that all students are welcome to reach out to him to talk about anything from research and technology to society and traveling. With technology becoming such a paramount piece of our daily lives, one of Ronnie’s key lessons is on the importance of understanding the impact software can have on an organization and its customers. 

“In 2022, there is no business without technology and there is no technology without software engineering,” says Ronnie. “Everything is connected and as people who will work on or run businesses, it is important to know the impacts that software and technology have on your organization and customers.” Ronnie says he has plenty of ideas about research that can be done together with his students, and encourages them to reach out about ideas they’d like to explore as well. “Are you interested in research?” Asks Ronnie. “Me too. Let’s talk!”

When it comes to his own research, Ronnie is keen to address the lack of diversity in the technology industry. He says the field is so homogenous that it creates a gap between the industry and the user. “Technologies are built to support society and our society is plural, diverse and multicultural,” he explains. “We must make sure that software, tools, models and all kinds of technological assets address this diversity.” Ronnie’s research focuses on understanding these gaps to call attention to the importance of increasing equity, diversity and inclusion in IT environments.

This year, Ronnie is involved with the planning and execution of three conferences – working alongside the organization committee and as the diversity co-chair at the 46th IEEE/ACM International Conference on Software Engineering (ICSE 2024), as a member of the program committee of the Software Engineering in Society Track at the 45th ICSE (2023) and in the program committee of the 16th IEEE International Conference on Software Testing, Verification and Validation (ICST 2023).

“ICSE is the premier software engineering conference in the world, a space where researchers, practitioners and educators gather to present and discuss the most recent innovations and experiences in the field of software development,” shares Ronnie. “The 46th ICSE will be held in Lisbon in 2024 and I am the diversity co-chair at this conference, which means that I work with a team that is responsible for the construction of a safe environment in which all individuals are welcome to participate regardless of race, colour, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, national origin, ancestry or disability.”

For the ICSE 2023, Ronnie will review papers submitted to the conference about the impacts of technology on several aspects of our society, such as economic, political, environmental and social. The ICST conference focuses more specifically on the quality aspects of systems, and Ronnie says the outcomes of the discussions that happen during this forum are very important for society at large. 

We are lucky to have such involved researchers teaching the next generation of students here at CBU. To learn more about Ronnie, you can visit his website.