For the Love of Computer Science: the Mike Parker Story

Every day prospective students ask if we have an age limit. The answer is ‘no.’ In fact, in our latest entry, we have three new students over 40, including 67-year-old Michael Parker.

Michael Parker is a retired electrical engineer with a 17-acre ‘ranch’ in California. Prior to coming to MIU for his master’s degree in computer science, he earned bachelor’s degrees in business management and electrical engineering and took graduate electrical engineering courses at the University of Southern California.

Mike spent his career in re­search, design, and new product development over an array of electrical engineering specialties, and worked directly for large organizations before starting his own consulting company. Customers included Boeing, Airbus, NAVAIR, Texas Instruments, Sensata, Northrop, and Teledyne, just to name a few. He also holds 9 U.S. patents in the field of electrical arc-fault detection.

Mike's house (seen in the distance) sits on 17 acres of land in Grass Valley, CA.

Mike’s house (seen in the distance) sits on 17 acres of land in Grass Valley, CA. The building on the left houses his CNC mill, electronics laboratory, and ‘man-cave.’

Looking for something more

According to Mike, “After retiring I wanted to expand my horizons and became interested in MIU’s Computer Professionals master’s program. Last summer I was allowed to sit in on Professor Muhyieddin Khaled Al-Tarawneh’s class on data structures. That class was outstanding, and it inspired me to come to MIU as an enthusiastic stu­dent.”

“I completed an additional 5 classes at MIU just to prepare myself more fully before for­mally entering the MSCS program. My regard for MIU continues to be at the highest level. The passion, engagement, and concern for the students by the professors is simply not matched at other institutions. The quality of the other students here is unparalleled. In my opinion, these factors contribute more to the quality of education than how many academic papers a less ­engaged professor might have written.”

Mike Parker enjoying Professor Najeeb's Software Engineering class.

Mike Parker enjoying Professor Najeeb’s Software Engineering class.

Changing careers?

“It would be more accurate to say I am taking this program to expand my horizons rather than to change careers. I will be 68 in 3 months. I’ve been ‘retired’ for 6 years (with some consulting on occasion), and within the past 2 or 3 weeks I’ve received recruiter calls for 3 different well-paying positions to do things I’ve done before and which I enjoy doing. I’ve declined all the op­portunities. It’s not that I haven’t enjoyed my work–I love the work I’ve done in my career,” says Mike.

“Pro­fessor Najeeb said it very well in class today when he was describing some of his own work, ‘I can’t believe they are paying me to do this. It is so much fun. I would do it for free if it were possible.’ That has been my experience working as well. I simply want new problems to solve, or I want to add an extra dimension to what I already work with. I also want more flexibility in structuring my life so I can place a higher priority on family, and working in harmony with my own circa­dian rhythms, meditation, and exercise schedule.”

Meditation at MIU

One of the unique advantages of studying at Maharishi International University is that all students, faculty, and staff practice the Transcendental Meditation® technique. Over 500 peer-reviewed scientific studies support the benefits of this simple mental technique to produce deep relaxation, greater intelligence, recovery from stress, and more energy.

Mike had the good fortune of learning Transcendental Meditation (TM) in 1972, and the advanced TM-Sidhi program in 1978.

His feelings about doing TM:

“TM helps me realize what is really important in life. Everything is for naught if you don’t live a contented life.”

“Even if I’m tired, meditating helps counteract the fatigue. I find that doing TM before an exam is more valuable than cramming.”

“A sustained and regular practice of doing the TM and TM-Sidhi program is the only way I know that will reliably give one the capability to stay grounded when barraged with all types of external stress. In situations like this, it is essential in order to excel.”

The future

“I’m not sure exactly what I will do after I graduate. I don’t need to work, but I would enjoy working. I have a close friend who wants to do another startup company with me, developing and selling our own products. There is a broad array of ideas some of them are all hardware, some of them are all software, and some of them are a mix of both. That could be a new possibil­ity. I don’t know. Right now, it feels right simply to be at MIU. The universe will reveal the next path for me at the right time. Let the possibilities multiply,” Mike concludes.

Mike at ComPro graduation events

Mike attended our June 2023 graduation activities.