Computer Science Department Receives Major Gift

The majestic Fairfield Business Park has been donated for major expansion of the Computer Professionals master’s degree program at MIU. The building has been renamed as the Fairfield IT and Business Park.

Grand Building Donated for ComPro Expansion

 

Major MIU supporters Ye Shi (“Linlin”) and Alan Marks

 

On December 26, 2021, MIU supporters Ye Shi (“Linlin”) and Alan Marks donated to MIU one of the largest buildings of its architectural style in the world–a style favored by royalty in ancient India, known as Maharishi Sthapatya Veda design.

Located three miles north of our campus in Fairfield, Iowa, this majestic 87,000 square foot (8,100 square meter) building sits on 1.1 million square feet (100,000 square meters) of land. The University has recently renamed this landmark facility the Fairfield IT and Business Park. Soon the building will provide additional valuable residential facilities for our ever-expanding Computer Science Master’s program.

Alan and Linlin are the owners of Midwest Development and Investment Corporation. From 2010 to 2020, Alan also served as CEO at Maharishi AyurVeda Products International (MAPI), which occupied this building.

During his years with MAPI, Alan consistently grew the company–employing many people in Fairfield, thereby contributing to our local and international community.

Linlin is a Certified Management Accountant, recipient of numerous national management and accounting awards, and is a highly regarded professor in the MIU Accounting Department.

Remodeling has begun

We are now quickly remodeling the north wing of this beautiful building, converting office spaces into handsome bedrooms and bathrooms as well as a café, lounge, and common areas.

 

Newly remodeled residence room in the Fairfield IT and Business Park

 

The first residents of the building will be Computer Science graduate students (ComPro) who have finished their on-campus classes, and are now active in the practicum internship placement phase of the program at major companies around the U.S. The new residential floors in the north wing are expected to be ready in March 2022 for the first group of ComPro students in this phase of the program.

 

New bathrooms are being constructed for the upcoming ComPro student residence hall.

 

Several major Fairfield companies currently renting offices in the southern half of the building will continue renting space there.

Also, this major donation includes the 24.76 acres (10 hectares) of pristine grassland that the building sits on, providing opportunities for additional campus expansion in the future.

 

In gratitude to Linlin and Alan, an engraved brass plaque has been mounted in the spacious lobby of the grand east entrance.

 

Read more about this building donation and other recent achievements in our beautiful 2021 MIU Annual Report.

Prof. Najeeb: Robotics and Self-driving Cars Expert

Professor Najeeb Najeeb: Robotics Expert who Loves Teaching:

Dr. Najeeb Najeeb at Maharishi International University“Professor Najeeb is a brilliant computer scientist who enjoys interacting with students, and who attributes much of his ever-present happiness to his practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique,” says MIU Computer Science Dean Keith Levi.

MIU alumnus Najeeb Najeeb recently rejoined the MIU faculty as an Associate Professor after completing his Ph.D. in robotics and spending two years working on self-driving cars in California.

Najeeb earned his undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of Baghdad and worked in software and web development for five years in Iraq.

In 2006 he heard about the practical approach of MIU’s Computer Professionals ProgramSM from a friend and applied. He began his studies in 2007, and when he finished his on-campus courses, the Computer Science Department asked him to join as a faculty member.

Professor Najeeb, outstanding graduate at his MIU graduation in 2012

In 2012 Professor Najeeb was selected as the outstanding graduate of his MS in Computer Science class at MIU. The same year he decided to pursue his dream of earning a Ph.D. He was accepted by several universities and chose the University of Nebraska because it offered a specialization in robotics.

He found his studies in robotics as much play as work, and in the process, he realized he had gained a competitive advantage at MIU. “I was able to get more done than my peers because I got my eight hours of sleep and my TM practice,” he said. “I was more awake in class, which made me more effective.” At the same time, he somehow made time for his teaching passion, by teaching distance education courses to current MIU students during their curricular practical training (CPT) work.

Dr. Najeeb completed his doctorate degree in Computer Engineering/Computer Science at the University of Nebraska in four years. He wrote his dissertation on a no-prior-knowledge-based algorithm for near-optimal wireless power transfer from a drone to an underground sensor, and then implemented and demonstrated his work. The algorithm he wrote has several applications, one of which enables an agricultural drone to more efficiently charge the batteries of a sensory network in a drip irrigation system, saving time and energy.

Professor Najeeb received his Ph.D. degree in Computer Engineering/Computer Science at the University of Nebraska

Najeeb wanted to continue working in robotics, and he chose the most exciting area in the field: autonomous vehicles. He accepted a job at the self-driving car company Cruise in San Francisco. “It felt like playing a video game,” he said. “I was able to test the results of the lines of code I wrote.”

In 2020 Dr. Najeeb accepted an invitation from MIU to return to Fairfield, and now teaches courses in web and enterprise applications. He is known for his ready smile, infectious laughter, love of developing technology, and for engaging shy students (whose native language may not be English) in the classroom. He also has a reputation for his administrative effectiveness, broad range of computer science knowledge, looking after Muslim students on-campus, and readiness to assist our students at any time.

Learn more about Professor Najeeb Najeeb’s background here.

Najeeb with colleague and mentor, Professor Clyde Ruby

2022 and You – Yes, You!

By Leah Collmer

It’s another year. 2022 sits on your doorstep like an Amazon package waiting to be opened. You drum your fingers on the counter and consider the possibilities. What lays ahead? A full year of promise…This package with all its potential sits before you. Still unopened, you exhale. Curiosity calls you. You look at the box. What’s inside? You contemplate the choices. A few ideas run through your mind. Undecided, you glance out the window for more enlightenment, as you notice the sender is Maharishi International University’s Computer Science Master’s Program – ComProSM. Your 2022 just got a whole light brighter.

Saloni Kiran Vora, a computer science master’s student from Pune, India, is one such student who feels her future just got a whole lot brighter. After having worked in IT for several years, with 14-hour days, she wanted a change. “Work was becoming monotonous, there was nothing more to learn,” states Vora. “Suddenly, I decided one day, I was done. That’s it. I wanted to do something new. I wanted to know how I could make a difference,” shares Vora emphatically. “That’s when I learned about ComPro.”

Located in beautiful Fairfield, Iowa, ComPro’s well-organized master’s package is designed to deliver the best education academically, mentally, emotionally, and personally. With ComPro’s carefully measured block system, you never have bulky schedules, juggle multiple subjects, deliver various homework assignments, nor cram for a list of final exams all at once. We handle our program with care, and don’t believe stress should be part and parcel of your university education. Having one entire course neatly bundled and delivered over the course of a month enhances our student’s ability to master a subject and unpack the contents of a course to its fullest.

“The master’s course looked very well planned and designed. Eight months on campus for a master’s in computer science really caught my attention,” remembers Vora. “Once you learn and leave school, it’s hard to go back. To stop earning money, after you’ve started isn’t easy,” confesses Vora. “But ComPro makes it easy to shorten the learning cycle and helps us to go on and earn money while getting Curricular Practical Training (CPT).”

ComPro’s expedited master’s package makes it easy to obtain a watertight education while ushering you to the doorstep of the company and career of your choice. Preparation is key for delivering the demands that success requires. Our Computer Science Master’s Program culminates in an intensive, three-week Career Strategies Workshop, that moves you forward and provides what you need to land a paid internship, CPT, in the company of your choice. Our CPT students have been placed at IBM, Intel, Amazon, Apple, Oracle, Google, General Electric, Walmart, Wells Fargo, Federal Express, and many Fortune 500 companies.

Teamwork! (Left to Right) Yugal Modi of Madhya Pradesh, India; Jai Kishan Jaiswal of West Bengal, India, and Rahmat Zada Buner of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan, brainstorming with Vora.

“The biggest factor in choosing ComPro was I didn’t have to pay all my tuition in one go. This felt very empowering to me and helped me to be independent in my choices and not rely on my parents,” shares Vora. “The paid internship structured into the master’s program lets me pay back my tuition at the right time.”

The Computer Science Master’s Program makes it financially feasible for students to join ComPro. Students can enter ComPro for as little as $3,000, pay back the course fee from earnings during CPT, and graduate debt-free. Depending on circumstances, $3,000 – $7,000 is the modest range required for two semesters (eight months), on campus. This initial fee isn’t required until students arrive on campus. Program options and courses are offered to give students the best selection for their future.

“I wanted to move focus toward a data science track, and the data science courses were key for me in choosing ComPro,” says Vora. “My previous master’s degree had some elements of data, but it wasn’t enough. It wasn’t sufficient to make a move to a data science career. The best thing about ComPro is you can make your own choices for your courses and career,” concludes Vora.

A chance meeting in 2018 at her college in the state of Maharashtra with MIU Provost Dr. Scott Herriott, planted a seed in Vora that germinated, and ultimately redirected her journey to travel to the USA and get a second master’s degree with ComPro.

“That meeting with Dr. Herriott created a very valuable bond of trust in me over time,” shares Vora. “I learned a new way of meditation with him, which boosted my confidence, and opened doors to other great relationships, and with the ComPro admissions team. Melissa, Erica, and Abigail are gems,” gushes Vora. “They have that warmth and are with you at each step of the process, making sure you have whatever you need.”

Vora enjoying some fresh air and quiet time on MIU’s beautiful campus

Like any promising program that aims to deliver the best opportunities, ComPro has three convenient on-campus-study master’s options to fast-track your education, keep you on course for your future and get you to the marketplace. Whether you want a more expedited delivery option of eight months study on campus or prefer a more no-rush delivery choice of 12 months study on campus in our Computer Professionals ProgramSM, we’ve got what you need. Yes, just like that Amazon package. Additionally, four delivery dates for international students to enter our program and two delivery dates for domestic students keep demand high.

So, about that package sitting before you. It’s 2022. You’ve got an address, a destination, your choice of delivery options, and best date selections to suit your needs and fulfill your order for success. It’s a new year, it’s a new start. We have packed the best courses into our master’s program for you to take charge of your education and future. ComPro will get you there.

As an update, we wanted to share that before 2022 even had a chance to make an appearance, Saloni Vora was recruited and hired as a Software Developer within the second week of her Career Strategies Workshop. She is over the moon about this upcoming year and her bright future in the Computer Science field. We couldn’t be happier for her. Well done, Saloni! We wish her all the best and the same for you.

Your Once-in-a-Century Life

By Leah Collmer

It’s been a once-in-a-century global pandemic. Almost two years running; plans put on hold, hopes dashed, and bright futures ground to a halt. We’ve been wearing masks, social distancing and holding our breath – literally. But the fog is lifting and we, at ComProSM, want you to know about the bright future that awaits you.

Within the last five years, ComPro has ranked as the 2nd largest Computer Science Master’s Program in the USA, at least once. Started a quarter of a century ago in 1996, ComPro is celebrating its silver anniversary this year, with an unprecedented record enrollment of 517 students for 2021.

Ricardo Macedo Ianelli, a former physics teacher from Brazil, shares, “My dream was always to study computer science. This year I decided to follow my intuition and go after my dream. That’s why I chose ComPro.”

ComPro’s approach to our students’ success is holistic from start to finish; academically, by developing high-demand technical skills; financially, with our low entry fee and repayment after placement in curricular practical training (CPT), a paid internship; personally, with an ideal routine that includes daily practice of the scientifically validated Transcendental Meditation® technique, and professionally, with our intensive, three-week, Career Strategies Workshop. ComPro is integrated, carefully crafted, and tailored for you in this century.

MBA student Edison Martinez and Ianelli enjoy a beautiful day in front of the Argiro Student Center.

“I felt I had more potential in me than I was using in my own country. There was this little fire inside of me, but I wanted to light a fire that would burn bright and strong for my future,” confides Ianelli. “I knew I needed to expand my creativity, maximize how my higher intelligence works and get help form the people who are professionals.”

Ianelli’s statement seems to resonate with MIU President John Hagelin’s address to ComPro, who welcomed new students in November. “I.Q. memory and executive function normally don’t increase while a student is enrolled in a university,” stated Hagelin. “But, at MIU it does.”

ComPro’s block system gives students the ability to fully immerse in one subject each month – no juggling act of multiple projects or competing subjects. Financially, students comfortably pay off the remaining tuition after landing their paid internship. With the average starting salary for CPT at $94,000 a year, this structure takes the financial pressure off students during their studies. Additionally, the initial, affordable low entry fee also makes the impossible possible for everyone.

“I thought that I wouldn’t have the money to come and study in an American master’s program, but ComPro’s tuition structure made it very affordable and possible,” shares Ianelli. “That was the light that said, ‘Go now.’ ComPro was everything I wanted and needed.”

Living through an era in history that has brought insurmountable obstacles and challenges, the ComPro team is here for you throughout your journey in our progressive master’s program. With four entries a year for international students and two entries for domestic students, our MS in Computer Science is very accessible and student-facing. ComPro’s most recent October 2021 entry brought in 132 new students from 40 nations. During this global pandemic, we rolled up our sleeves and dug in deep to ensure every qualified student from any country jockeying to join ComPro would make the cut. And we’ll do the same for you.

“The day before coming to the USA, I realized my life will be split in two chapters: my life before ComPro, and my life after coming to ComPro,” Ianelli shares. “When I wake up tomorrow, everything will change.”

We know how rare once-in-a-lifetime opportunities are. They are to be protected and cultivated. The ComPro program, as part of Maharishi International University, is fully committed to sustainable practices as one of America’s most green universities. Renewable energy, sustainable buildings, and organic food are at the forefront of campus life. Longevity is key, and we are establishing a precedent not just for your lifetime, but for generations to come. Future generations will follow in your footsteps, as our 4,000 students and alumni from over 100 countries have paved the way for you.

Ianelli studying in ComPro computer lab. Campus COVID policies keep students and faculty safe.

“If I had to describe this opportunity, I would choose the word ‘adventure’. An adventure with myself, in learning, meeting new people, and experiencing real emotions. With the profound method of self-knowledge, consciousness of self, good food and people from around the world, I knew I was needing this,” confided Ianelli.

So, if you’re looking for an adventure in your education and want to take advantage of the unmistakable opportunity this moment in time has to offer you, go ahead and exhale. We’ve got the solid foundation you’ve been looking for to build your unshakeable future on today.

“I’m just at the beginning” acknowledges Ianelli. “I’m excited to discover what lies ahead of me.” This is your once-in-a century life, and we want you to make the most of it. Won’t you join us?

Ianelli celebrating 50 years of higher education at Maharishi International University, 1971-2021

Comments from Recent MIU ComPro Graduates

See what our recent graduates had to say about their experiences and outcomes in the Computer Professionals master’s program.

“I am thankful for this program. It was life changing.”“It was a wonderful experience doing the Master’s in Computer Science at MIU. The curriculum is the latest and the faculty is highly experienced. Everything at MIU made me feel at home. It was a good decision to do my Master’s there.”“I am also forever thankful for the opportunities to meet so many wonderful, nice and kind friends here. It all started with MIU and this beautiful country which connected us as one. I wish you all the best.”“MIU helped me in many ways to develop myself spiritually and intellectually. Even though I was very hesitant to get an education from a Consciousness-Based university. I think I have made one of the best decisions of my life. Not only have I fulfilled my career desires, I have also fulfilled that missing part in me by developing my spiritual side.”“I am very pleased with MIU’s MSCS program that is helping me to accomplish my mission. I believe that the program makes a difference in my life, and for many other fellows like me.”

Students doing their morning meditation in Dalby Hall

“I am very grateful to the admission officers, faculty, coordinators, coaches, and many other staff who were professional, supportive, friendly, open, and attentive from enrollment til graduation. I appreciate every staff person supporting the MSCS program and wish the best for their health, success, and families.”

“Forever grateful to MIU and its faculty members. Everything is excellent.”

“I very much appreciate my experience at MIU. The courses taken have prepared me for my job now. The teachers were very knowledgeable. Transcendental Meditation has helped me in my personal growth. The knowledge gained will help me to have a good professional career.”

“I am really happy with MIU. I met a lot of great people. MIU was better than I ever expected–some faculty were awesome and the placement office did an incredible job.”

“The program provides courses that help you to thrive in the professional world. The courses are taught by experienced professors who have gained experience in the IT industry. The habit of practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) helps a lot to improve personal and professional life. So, my overall experience of the MSCS program has been amazing.”

“Thanks for providing a great career growth and advancement opportunity with no discrimination to race or country of origin.”

“Thank you MIU for being a second home and a family.”

“I would like to express my gratitude to all the faculty and staff at MIU who are dedicated to bringing out my potential as a student.”

“The program was really great. Thanks for all the support provided for me as an international student, and more important for having taught me Transcendental Meditation–it is really useful for different sorts of situations.”

“I had a dream to come here to the USA and complete my master’s, and now finally I am able to finish my MS degree in computer science from Maharishi International University.””Here at MIU I got a chance to learn many things to uplift my career by studying different practical programming subjects. I was also able to learn to maintain a relaxed mind and body and to increase my inner intelligence, peace, and self-realization by regular practice of Transcendental Meditation.”

“My choice and journey to attend Maharishi International University is extremely right. The experience is one of the greatest times in my life. I would definitely recommend my lovely MIU to friends and others. Thank you, MIU.”

“It’s a great honor to be here at MIU. The students and teachers are excellent.”

Student families enjoy life at MIU

May I bring my family when I study at MIU?

Prospective international ComPro students often ask us if they can bring their families with them when they enroll in our unique Master’s in Computer Science program.

The answer is ‘yes.’ There are several ways to do this at different stages of the academic program at MIU.

1. Some want to bring their spouse and children when they initially enroll. Families are welcome, but applicants need to verify that they have, in addition to their own expenses, $7800 USD more for their dependent, and $2200-2400 USD (depending on their ages) for any children they have. They also need to find and pay for off-campus housing, since we do not have accommodations for families on campus.

The initial tuition of the program, $5000, is still paid regardless of living on or off campus. The total payment (balance is covered by loan) will be reduced by $7400 if on-campus housing and meals are not included. Our admissions representatives are happy to help with all these details once applicants are accepted to the program.

2. It may be easier for some students first to come alone, and then later apply for the F2 visas for dependents and children after locating good housing, schools, etc., near campus.

3. Another option which is popular, is for students to complete the first 8-9 months of on-campus courses while living in single-room university housing, and then bring their family to the U.S. after they have started working at their curricular practical training (CPT) full-paid internships in U.S. companies. At this stage, they are making significant salaries (typically $80,000 – $95,000 per year), and have found comfortable living arrangements for the family in their work location.

Watch our video featuring the “Families of ComPro.”

 

At our annual computer science picnic, students and families enjoy the nearby park and beach.

 

ComPro graduates celebrate the achievement of a major life milestone with their families.

The ComPro admissions team: dedicated to your future

Worldwide interest in ComPro keeps Admissions team busy and happy

A record number of people have applied for the Computer Professionals ProgramSM in the last two years, with more than 28,000 applications submitted from 185 nations.

Processing this large number of applications in an efficient, accurate, professional and welcoming manner is the specialty of our ComPro Admissions department.

Meet your Admissions team

Top row: Dima, Randy, Abigail, Melissa, Bonnie, Erica, Laxmi, Elaine.                Bottom row: Lisa, Samantha, Charlie, Teja, Girma, Chandra, Pat, and Sara.

“We realize that these applicants’ futures are so bright,” says Director of Computer Science Admissions, Melissa McDowell. “They have big dreams and we are dedicated to helping them succeed.”

Our team is looking forward to receiving your application and helping you achieve your personal and professional goals!

Twenty-five years of experience 

The Computer Science department is excited to be celebrating the program’s 25th year. Since 1996 more than 4,000 students from 100+ countries have enrolled, making ComPro the second-largest Computer Science master’s program in the United States (ranked by the number of recent graduates).

“Our Master’s program changes people’s lives by giving software developers worldwide the opportunity to study and gain internship work experience in the U.S., and to learn the Transcendental Meditation technique (TM),” says Chief Administrator of the MS in Computer Science Program, Elaine Guthrie. “This has a huge impact on improving student careers and lives, and it is extremely fulfilling for all of us in Admissions to be part of this process.”

Teja and Melissa with new ComPro students.

Student Appreciation 

“Without the Admissions team’s support from the beginning, I wouldn’t have been able to attend MIU. Without their continued support, I wouldn’t be having a successful CPT [curricular practical training] work experience right now!

“When it came time for my wife and daughter to join me in the U.S., Melissa in the Admissions office helped me with all the details like I was her own family. When my wife and daughter arrived in the U.S. it was the most wonderful moment of my life. Without the support of ComPro Admissions, it wouldn’t have happened.” —Van Tu Huynh, Vietnam

“Meeting the Admissions team on campus was as nice as meeting them online. They were very warm with me—something I wasn’t expecting at first. They made me feel at home. This opportunity wouldn’t have been possible if they hadn’t selected me in the first place, and I’m immensely grateful. As a result, I’ve had the chance to change my life professionally and personally. I cannot express with words how happy and fulfilled I am, thanks to the MIU ComPro Admissions Team.” —Edgar Endo, Brazil

ComPro graduates celebrate the achievement of a major life milestone.

Popular professor prepares students for real-world success

Students in the MS in Computer Science program at MIU love Professor Somesh Rao’s courses. But don’t just take our word for it!

“Professor Rao’s Project Management course exceeded my expectations,” says H.H., a student from Ethiopia. “His expertise in software development gave me a clear, confident understanding of how a successful project can be developed from initiation to deployment. I felt like I was working for a million-dollar project, and I know this course will significantly impact my future career.”

 

Project Management—A critical necessity in today’s business world

IT professionals must know how to manage multiple projects to be successful. Professor Rao’s Project Management class allows students to lead a team through all the life cycles of projects modeled on real-world principles; projects just like the ones they’ll encounter during their practicums.

“Project management is important because it establishes leadership skills, and gives students the confidence to deal with challenges proactively,” says Professor Rao.

His hands-on, practical approach to effective project management is much appreciated by students:

“Professor Rao is definitely a guru in the subject of Project Management. He creates an actual real-time project atmosphere from design to the delivery phase, and he is also very friendly.” — N.Y. (from India)

“Big thank you for the clear, focused knowledge provided by your course. I put it in practice every day at my practicum job.” — I.T. (from Moldova)

 

Students from around the world enjoy Prof. Rao’s Project Management class.

 

Technical Coaching for internship interview success 

In addition to teaching Project Management, Professor Rao is the lead technical coach in the Computer Science Career Center’s capstone Career Strategies Workshop.

According to Sheri Shulmier, Director of our Computer Science Career Center, “Our Career Strategies team counts on our technical experts, Somesh Rao and Raphael Dari, to give the students a good foundation for showcasing their technical skills and work experience in interviews. This enables students to advance to the final hiring rounds.”

W.J. from Haiti expresses his appreciation:

“Thank you from the bottom of my heart for your support, Professor Somesh. I received an offer from Coolsoft. Without your help, it wouldn’t have been possible. Your words of encouragement cheered me up. You have supported me like a father who encourages his son to stand up.”

 

Professor Rao with Career Strategies Workshop students.

 

From Scientist to IT Professional 

Since childhood, Professor Rao has enjoyed solving complex, challenging problems. He started his career as a scientist in the Indian Space Research Organization, and later went on to obtain twenty-four years of IT experience.

“I appreciate the opportunity for creativity and innovation that computer programming provides,” he says.

Professor Rao has earned M.Tech, MSCS, and MBA degrees, and has many years of direct experience with Consciousness-Based education as both a student and faculty member at MIU.

He gets great joy from seeing students succeed, and with record numbers joining the Computer Professionals program and getting hired for CPT internships, Somesh is one happy man!

“My experience with Consciousness-Based education helps me teach students to expand the bandwidth of their thinking, to naturally and effortlessly come up with efficient technical IT solutions,” says Professor Rao.

 

MIU’s Consciousness-Based advantage

“At most universities, students and faculty are stressed out. The Consciousness-Based curriculum at MIU provides the best solution to this challenging problem,” he says. “I’ve seen it over and over again: MIU students resolve IT challenges in less time with less stress, compared to students in other programs. This is an advantage of having the Transcendental Meditation® technique as an integral part of the curriculum.”

 

Staying in touch

Professor Rao continues to support students after they have left campus:

“I often consult with students after they’ve started their internships to discuss solutions for challenges they’re experiencing with work projects.”

He also helps to keep the MIU network strong by connecting students established in internships with students in the process of seeking internships:

“Our students in the field often give referrals when there’s an opening at their current company,” Professor Rao says. “They also extend their help to fellow MIU students who might be moving to their same city of residence, give them relocation advice, help them get settled, and treat them like family.”

Somesh and his wife Chandra both enjoy working for the Computer Professionals program at Maharishi International University, and have lived in Fairfield for over ten years with their three sons, Suraj, Lalith, and SriRam.

“The Fairfield community is very friendly, helpful, and welcoming,” Somesh says.

Vietnamese PhD improves his technical skills & brain at MIU

“I really enjoy this effortless meditation technique. It helps me grow my brain and enjoy a stress-free life.”

MIU student Tam Van Vo earned his master’s degree in computer science from the University of Science in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and received a scholarship for a PhD program in information and communication at the Toyota Technological Institute in Japan. He has worked for multiple companies in Singapore and Vietnam as a data scientist and machine learning engineer. He also had an academic career teaching at Nanyang Technology University in Singapore and his alma mater in Vietnam.

Tam wanted to advance his education by studying abroad and heard about MIU from a friend. He liked the practical focus of the ComPro curriculum, and financial aid made it possible for him to apply.

Visiting Chicago with his family

“My doctoral education focused on research and theoretical problems,” said Tam. “The computer science master’s program at MIU is more practical and helps me improve my skills and gain knowledge in cutting-edge technologies such as big data, micro services, and machine learning.”

Tam also appreciated the course on Leadership for Technical Managers by Jim Bagnola because it helped him improve his soft skills, which are also necessary for finding success in the job market.

The practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique has been an equally important aspect of the curriculum for Tam. “I really enjoy this effortless meditation technique,” he said. “It helps me grow my brain and enjoy a stress-free life.”

With fellow computer science students in Fairfield (Tam in back row, center)

Tam recently began his curricular practical training as a backend software engineer for Walmart, hired by Flexton Inc. He is currently contributing remotely from Iowa and expects to relocate to California later this year.

In his free time Tam enjoys traveling with his family, and hopes to visit as many states as he can while in the United States.

Ukrainian Couple finds personal and professional fulfillment at MIU and beyond

Meet happily married ComPro graduates Julia (MS’17) and Eugene Rohozhnikov (MS’17) from Ukraine: an inspiring, dynamic, energetic duo dedicated to lifelong learning, friendships, adventure, and joy in living.

We spoke with them recently to find out how they came to study at MIU, to take a look back at their time as students in the ComPro program, and to see what they’ve been up to lately.

Here’s a summary of our conversation:

ComPro News: How did you first hear about the ComPro program, and what motivated you to apply?

Julia: My cousin Kate joined ComPro when I was about to graduate from high school in Lviv, Ukraine. Kate’s stories of MIU inspired me to pursue a bachelor’s in Software Engineering. I applied to MIU right after graduating. A very pleasant interview with ComPro’s Craig Shaw during my application process made me realize I truly belonged at MIU and that it was a great place to pursue my Master’s Degree in Computer Science.

Eugene: I met Julia at college a year before she was admitted to MIU. She struck me as a highly goal-driven and ambitious person. While she was studying in the U.S. she told me all about the MIU atmosphere, quality of education, environment, and diversity. This motivated me to work towards getting into MIU myself.

 

Recently Julia and Eugene visited Julia’s cousin Kate near Seattle, Washington where Kate is currently a Senior Software Development Engineer at Microsoft. Kate is also a ComPro graduate and first inspired Julia to attend MIU.

 

ComPro News: What did you like most about being a student at MIU?

Julia: ComPro is a life changer! The courses are tightly related to real-world professional work requirements, and the professors are very knowledgeable and helpful. Also, the Career Strategies workshop at the end of the on-campus courses is amazing. The Computer Science Career Center professionals taught us to prepare the best resume, to effectively define and communicate our skills and experience, and to excel at interviews by repeatedly practicing the interview process.

Eugene: I enjoyed being a part of the diversity and inclusion at MIU. We had the pleasure of studying with people from all around the world—all colors, all races, and all ages. If not for MIU, we might never have had the opportunity to truly be a part of the “melting pot” of cultures and traditions!

Our everyday life was very fulfilling. Classes were challenging, with interesting exercises and research. We often worked in teams, sharing creative thought processes and getting great results.

 

ComPro News: As you know, Transcendental Meditation (TM) is an important part of the curriculum at MIU. What effect did TM practice have on your education and daily life?

Julia: As students, TM helped us get the most out of our education and maintain a stable study-life balance. We did TM twice a day. This helped us recharge after hours of continuous studying while reducing stress and anxiety levels.

Eugene: We’re grateful to our TM teachers, both in the U.S. and Ukraine, for giving us this valuable tool that helps us keep a healthy state of body and mind in our daily lives.

 

ComPro News: What are some fond memories you have of your time on campus? 

Julia: MIU feels like family. We have such warm and pleasant memories of thinking back about our MIU life. From my first day on campus, I felt like I belonged. Upon arrival in Iowa I was picked up by MIU staff from the bus station, then brought to campus, and welcomed by ComPro staff. They all smiled and hugged, shared stories, checked on me, and my trip. This was one of the most memorable days of my life in the United States!

Eugene: Coming back for graduation with Julia and my mom was a very special experience. We were so warmly welcomed, and my mother felt right at home even without understanding a single word of English. We had a delightful time celebrating, playing games during the ComPro graduation picnic, and driving around the dear, charming city of Fairfield.

 

Eugene’s mother Volodymyra came to graduation and presented Julia and Eugene with traditional Ukrainian clothing (shown wearing here) as an engagement gift.

 

ComPro News: Do you stay in contact with any of the friends you made at MIU?

Julia: MIU is a place where the “best friend” word combination gets its true meaning. For instance, my classmate Sa’ed Al Qannas and his family are currently our neighbors across the street. We’ve been through many things together: weddings, the birth of their children, many birthday parties, and numerous life events. We’re friends for life!

Eugene: The MIU network is very strong and we keep our bond all across the world. Whenever we travel, we visit dear MIU friends. They open their house, prepare delicious traditional meals, and we spend hours chatting about life, and reminiscing. One of my classmates, Boldkhuu Dandarvanchig. from Mongolia, is officially part of our family now. He was the best man at our wedding and his signature is on our marriage certificate.

 

Boldkhuu, Julia and Eugene at graduation

 

ComPro News: What have you been doing at work?

Julia: For the last seven years my professional experience has involved managing people, working closely with customers, and getting to know the best talents from all around the world as a Lead Quality Assurance Engineer and Product Owner. I’m also a certified Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), and Professional Scrum Master (PSM1).

Eugene: I’m working as a Senior Software Engineer. I started working as a Junior Developer and climbed up the ladder to be a go-to person on one of the crucial modules in our system. Seeing that thousands of people are using the product I’m helping to build motivates me to improve myself.

 

ComPro News: What inspires you about the work you’re doing?

Eugene: From early childhood, I’ve loved to learn new things, and Information Technology is constantly evolving. Adding to my professional toolkit and researching new trends in technology not only makes me a better professional but brings me joy. As Confucius said: “Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life”.

Julia: I love working on improving my skills and knowledge as well as helping my team advance in their career and professional growth. I’m a people person — I love working with clients on understanding their needs, getting my team on the same page, and delivering the best solutions possible.

 

ComPro News: Julia, congratulations on getting your PMP certification! Tell us how Eugene supported you during that time.

Julia: I’m blessed to have had a lot of academic experience in my life, and as a result, I’ve taken all kinds of exams. Preparing for certification exams is much more intensive than preparing for academic exams! No wonder professional certifications are recognized as a substantial achievement all over the world.

Apart from the educational prep, the PMP was a family project. I isolated myself from anything other than necessities: food, working out, working, and studying. Even though Eugene and I work remotely and spend an entire day in the same place, we barely saw each other. No movie nights, no board games, or meeting friends. I’m beyond grateful for Eugene’s support. We did it together, and are stronger than ever!

 

Celebrating completion of PMP certification

Celebrating completion of PMP certification

 

ComPro News: We know that you love to travel. What’s the next big adventure you’re planning?

Julia: We’re planning to visit our dear family in Ukraine. It’s been eight years since I’ve seen my family in person. We’re waiting for everyone, especially my sweet 92-year-old grandmother, to be vaccinated, and we can’t wait to finally be able to hug!

 

Julia with her mom, dad, grandma and sisters the last time they were together in 2013. Soon they’ll be together again, creating more memories!

Julia with her mom, dad, grandma and sisters the last time they were together in 2013. Soon they’ll be together again, creating more memories!

 

ComPro News: We are looking forward to seeing Julia and Eugene when they return to MIU in September for our Grand Golden Jubilee. We’ll be celebrating MIU’s 50th anniversary and the ComPro program’s 25th anniversary.