The Love of an Admissions Counselor: Abigail Stickels

Abigail Stickels joined the ComPro admissions team in 2020. She loves every bit of her work as an admissions counselor and helps her applicants to smoothly transition through the application steps and steer them toward a better career.

She conducts practice interviews to prepare them to face the visa interview. “The best joy in my position is reading the words, “I got my visa today”, says Abigail. “I walked in my first day of work and was greeted by the most peaceful, kind, and beautiful humans, whom I still adore”.

Abigail with the ComPro Admissions Team in 2021

Abigail has a passion to travel the world. In 2022 alone, she visited six countries in Africa, Europe, and South America and five states in the U.S. Through her love and knowledge of different cultures, and lifestyles, she is able to create a special connection with her international applicants.

In Cairo, Egypt, and San Pedro, Guatemala

Lakpa Sherpa, a current ComPro student from Nepal says, “Abigail’s unwavering support was invaluable and made my journey a lot smoother. I must mention that our relationship went beyond that of a mere counselor and student. We developed a good friendship, which I cherish to this day.”

“Abigail Stickels is awesome! She is very friendly, fast, and always happy to help. We had enjoyable exchanges throughout my application to MIU. She stayed in touch and made sure I had the best services and experience in my travels to MIU as well,” shares Amanuel Berihun.

When she is not exploring the land, she dives deep to experience the world beneath the surface. “Into the sea, I go to lose my mind and find my soul,” says Abigail.

Marsa Alam, Egypt

Abigail is now working with the main MIU admissions team to help applicants from other departments. Still, through her vibrant nature, she continues to bring joy to our ComPro students living on campus.

Professor Siamak Tavakoli: High-Flying IT Expert Joins Faculty

Professor Siamak Tavakoli excels in hardware and software R&D, and teaching

The faculty and students in our Computer Science Department are delighted that Professor Siamak Tavakoli has recently starting teaching full-time on our campus in Fairfield, Iowa. With apparent boundless energy, creativity, enthusiasm, and curiosity, Dr. Tavakoli has mastered a remarkable diversity of technical subject areas in order to solve a very large range of R&D challenges, and he plans to inspire his students for great careers.

How did he learn about MIU?

MIU Professor Payman Salek has known Siamak for many years:

“I met Siamak when I was 18 during our first year of college. We were both accepted to the Electrical Engineering department at Tehran Polytechnic in Iran. We hung out with the same group of friends, and we were both mountain climbers, and often went on long hikes. We became friends, and he was one of the best men at my wedding.

“Over the years, we worked on microprocessor-based projects and conquered a few mountain peaks together, and continued our friendship after college.

“I moved to the U.S. to attend the ComPro MSCS program a little over 20 years ago, and Siamak moved to the UK to work on his PhD in Electrical Engineering at Brunel University London, but we kept in touch over the years and exchanged messages every now and then.

“When I posted about a faculty position on LinkedIn, Siamak immediately sent me a message and stated his interest. He was soon interviewed and hired as a faculty member at MIU. Siamak is probably one of the smartest people I have met in my life, and I am so glad that we managed to hire him as a Computer Science faculty.”

Work and teaching experience

Dr. Tavakoli summarizes his past experiences and contributions as an IT professional:

“I left a strong footprint in the IoT industry where both hardware and software systems present challenges. I have triggered many projects, solved many core problems in the projects, created successful out of the box solutions, brought several projects to startup and then to scale up, and have transferred knowledge and experience in both academic and industrial environments.”

  • Major research areas have included:
  • Artificial Intelligence and Robotics
  • Machine Learning and Full Stack System Architectural design
  • R&D lifecycle – all stages
  • Over the last 20+ years, Siamak Tavakoli has focused on these areas of investigation:
  • Embedded System design and development
  • Electronic Circuit and System design and development
  • Sensor Integration / Data Acquisition
  • Drone Flight Automation / AI and robotics
  • Digital Signal Processing
  • Non-Destructive Testing
  • Image / Voice Processing
  • Numerical Algorithm design and development
  • System Performance modelling, simulation and estimation
  • Information / Distributed Systems design and development
  • Data Mining
  • Dimensionality Reduction
  • Social Network Analysis
  • Postgraduate Teaching
  • Supervising degrees / postgraduates / PhD projects
  • Lab development, lab infrastructure, system testing

He continues, “Research and Development has always been a part of my life. I will continue this at MIU. There are certain fields and disciplines where I am interested in doing research. With the support of enthusiastic students, there are many projects that can enjoy growth to realization The needs of the local community are also being explored and identified to complete the list.”

Professor Tavakoli teaching Software Architecture (SWA) class

Transcendental Meditation (TM)

Siamak first learned about TM from Payman Salek during their undergraduate college days.

About three years ago, with the large number of projects he was managing, Siamak searched for methods to help release the stress associated with all these responsibilities. After unsuccessfully trying several techniques, he turned his attention to finding an effective one, and started TM in mid-2021 in the UK.

Personally, Professor Tavakoli reports, “I have enjoyed the tranquility of the moment, and stress-free state of mind that the Transcendental Meditation technique gives me. Students practicing TM report having a clear head, with a strong experience of peacefulness and growing self-confidence.”

Future Plans

Dr. Tavakoli has over 20 years of commercial technical consulting experience, and is planning to found an MIU technical incubator in the future. This will allow students with ideas for new applications to collaborate with MIU faculty to bring their projects to fruition.

Students getting personal attention in SWA class

Professor Tavakoli enjoys spending time reading books, and participating in sports such as paragliding and running.

When not teaching, doing research, or solving IT industry challenges, Dr. Siamak Tavakoli is an avid paragliding enthusiast and runner.

Advice for future students:

“If you are searching for a focused academic program that develops mental growth in supporting your progress, there is no healthier place than MIU,” Dr. Tavakoli concludes.

Dileep Krishnamoorthy Returns to ComPro Marketing

We welcome the return of our Computer Science Internet Marketing Specialist, Dileep Krishnamoorthy.

After previously studying and working part-time at MIU for seven years, and visiting with his family in India for 14 months, Dileep has just returned to MIU. In India, he continued working remotely for the Computer Science department doing Internet marketing, photo, and video editing and operating the online chat.


Dileep grew up in a village in Tamil Nadu, India. After earning a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Sree Sakthi Engineering College, he wanted to find a job and continue studying to improve himself.

He heard about MIU from his uncle who had worked closely with MIU’s founder for decades. Our MBA program appealed to Dileep, as it allowed him to have an internship position at MIU while studying. Dileep enrolled in 2014 and began his internship in the Computer Science Department as an assistant network administrator.

Dileep felt at home on campus, especially after he connected with ComPro faculty member Renuka Mohanraj, Ph.D., and her family, who came from the same area in India that Dileep did, and welcomed him into their home.

After graduating from the three-year MBA program, Dileep enrolled in our MA in Consciousness and Human Potential Program. At the same time, he began working with the ComPro marketing team. During his years at MIU, he developed an interest in photography and filmmaking and started making videos to promote the department under the guidance of his supervisor.

Dileep says that through his MBA courses he improved his communication skills, personal financial practices, and even his eating habits. In 2015 his team won second place in a business mediation tournament hosted by the University of Wisconsin.

Dileep with the ComPro Admissions team in 2021

Dileep has a deep appreciation for MIU’s unique education system, “Consciousness-Based education not only provided me with the knowledge of business and the human physiology, but also gave me a better understanding of my life in general,” he said. “I have developed a sense of connection with people around me and a feeling that we are all one.”

Dileep is recording Dean of Computer Science Admissions Elaine Guthrie for our campus video tour.

Upon his return to our campus, Dileep saw the beautiful scene (below) and captured it on his camera.

Sunset at MIU by Dileep Krishnamoorthy

Dileep Krishnamoorthy warmly invites all experienced software developers around the world to apply to our unique and acclaimed Master of Science in Computer Science program at MIU.


Asia/Turkey Recruiting for MIU MS in Computer Science

Join MIU Deans Greg Guthrie and Elaine Guthrie live. Their Asia tour is from Dec. 24 – Jan. 14, 2023. Reserve a ticket to learn about our acclaimed Computer Professionals Master’s program at Maharishi International University in Fairfield, Iowa, USA.

Develop your IT career with a U.S. Computer Science Masters

Recruiting in Ha Noi:

Date & Time: Sat, December 24, 2022, 9:00 AM – 11:00 AM Vietnam Time

Location: EduPath | ImmiPath | EIC Education & Immigration Consultancy Firms 163 Phố BàTriệu #5th floor Ha Noi, Hà Nội 700000 Viet Nam

Reserve a spot

Recruiting in HoChiMinh City:

Date & Time: Tue, December 27, 2022, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM Vietnam Time

Location: EduPath | ImmiPath | EIC 400 Điện Biên Phủ Ward 11, District 12 Ho Chi Minh City, Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh 700000 Viet Nam

Reserve a spot

Phnom Penh Recruiting:

Date & Time: Sat, December 31, 2022, 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM Cambodia Time

Location: SOKHA Phnom Penh Hotel & Residence Street KeoChenda, Phum 1, Sangkat Chroy Changvar Khan Chroy Changvar Phnom Penh, 12100 Cambodia

Reserve a spot

Dhaka Recruiting:

Date & Time: Fri, January 6, 2023, 3:30 PM – 5:30 PM Bangladesh Standard Time

Location: The Royal Pheasant Location House 05, Road 74 Gulshan Model Town Dhaka, Gulshan 1212 Bangladesh

Reserve a spot

Recruiting in Ankara:

Date & Time: Sun, January 8, 2023, 7:00 PM – 9:00 PM Eastern European Standard – Time Turkey Time

Location: TM Center-Ankara Uskup Cad. No:24/4 Kavaklidere Cankaya Ankara, 06680 Turkey

Reserve a spot

Istanbul Recruiting:

Date & Time: Sat, January 14, 2023, 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM Eastern European Standard Time – Turkey Time

Location: DoubleTree by Hilton Istanbul – Moda Caferaga Mah. Sozdener Cad. No:31 Kadikoy Istanbul, 34710 Turkey

Reserve a spot



MD Fakrul Islam: Corporate Tech Lead

“Coming to MIU for a master’s in computer science is one of the best, most strategic, and turning-point decisions in my career.”

MD Fakrul Islam is not a typical Computer Science Master’s degree student at MIU. Most of our MSCS students enroll with 1-5 years of professional IT experience. After graduating from SUST in Bangladesh in 2004, Fakrul had 16 years of IoT (Internet of Things) and AI experience in the telecommunication, agriculture, and healthcare industries.

But, he wanted more for his career. When a friend told him about our unique Computer Professionals ProgramSM (ComProSM) which offers an MS in Computer Science with paid practicum for experienced software developers, he applied here.

Fakrul enrolled at MIU in October 2021. After only eight months of courses, followed by our three-week Career Strategies Workshop, he applied for his CPT practicum, got accepted, and began a high-level Tech Lead position doing IoT and Business Integration at the Whirlpool Corporation.

Fakrul is doing his paid practicum at the Whirlpool Corporation as a Tech Lead.

The Whirlpool Corporation is an American multinational manufacturer and marketer of home appliances, headquartered in Benton Charter Township, Michigan, United States. This Fortune 500 company has annual revenue of approximately $21 billion, 78,000 employees, and more than 70 manufacturing and technology research centers around the world. The company markets its namesake flagship brand Whirlpool, alongside other brands: including Maytag, KitchenAid, JennAir, Amana, Gladiator GarageWorks, Inglis, Estate, Brastemp, Bauknecht, Hotpoint, Ignis, Indesit, and Consul.

“My responsibility is cross-functional to work closely with the product team, business team, and technical team.  I lead onsite and offsite developers/engineers to deliver the right product in the right way,” says Fakrul.

Fakrul with colleagues at a party at the Whirlpool Global Headquarters in Michigan.

Fakrul summarizes his experiences at MIU, “Taking admission to MIU for a master’s in computer science is one of the best, most strategic, and turning-point decisions in my career. The faculty, staff, food, accommodation, transcendental meditation, norms, principals, values, as well as the welcoming environment at MIU are different from traditional U.S. universities. Now I find the core values and the science and technology of consciousness in my daily life. This is the right place to concentrate on your studies and creative work.”

Fakrul and classmates relaxing at the park near the MIU campus.

Fakrul is now completing the rest of his classes via distance education. His career goal is to work at the Director or VP level in top IT companies. Personally, he plans to be a good husband, father, and contributor to our society. He feels that the U.S. is a great country of knowledge and expertise, so a perfect place to study and learn the next level of programming. “If anyone has good skills in IT/SW development, they should come to MIU to explore world-class opportunities,” he concludes.


Bijay Shrestha: Realizing His IT and Personal Potential

Bijay Shrestha started his career in Nepal in computer networking and IT security, and decided to become a software developer.

MIU student Bijay Shrestha grew up in Bhaktapur, Nepal, and became interested in computers as a child. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer networking and IT security from London Metropolitan University in Nepal, and decided he wanted to become a software developer. He got a job with F1Soft International, where he worked for over seven years, creating applications for the financial sector and working his way up to assistant engineering manager. Bijay had a strong desire to gain international experience, and was looking for scholarships abroad when he heard about MIU from a colleague. He liked the practical approach of MIU’s ComProSM Program and the low upfront cost–so he applied. “MIU was the best thing that happened for my career,” said Bijay. He found his coursework challenging, and realized early on that he needed to utilize MIU’s daily routine and the Transcendental Meditation® technique in order to manage his heavy academic load. “TM added a lot of value to my quality of life,” he said. “It helped me manage my stress, and process all the new information I was learning.” Bijay strived to perform well in his classes, and even acted as a graduate student assistant for a couple of his MIU courses. He has excelled in earning a perfect 4.0 grade point average for the program.

Bijay is doing his paid practicum at the Bank of America as an Applications Architect V.

Bijay began receiving practicum interview requests from companies on LinkedIn even before he finished his last course—career development strategies. After a series of interviews with several companies, he accepted an offer from the Bank of America in North Carolina, as an Applications Architect V. He wanted to experience the American work culture in an industry he is familiar with, and work toward his goal of developing scalable and efficient applications.

Bijay and classmates from Nepal relaxing at the nearby Waterworks Park.

Bijay is now completing the rest of his classes via distance education and wants to become a chief solutions architect. He strongly encourages IT professionals worldwide to follow his example by enrolling in the Computer Professionals ProgramSM at MIU.

ASD Course: Expands Software Development with Basic Principles

The Advanced Software Design (ASD) course complements the modern technology courses in the MS in Computer Science program with an in-depth study of the principles and logic at the basis of all software design.

“In our Computer Professionals Master’s program, we have a range of different topics and classes. Some expand on various application areas and modern tools and approaches to software and system development – web, big data, OO programming, cloud, etc.  Other courses give a more complete understanding of the principles and logic that are at the basis of all of these areas. The Advanced Software Design (ASD) course gives deep organizing principles that students and graduates benefit from in their careers,” according to Dr. Greg Guthrie, primary ASD instructor, Professor of Computer Science, and Computer Science Dean Emeritus.

As stated on our website, Advanced Software Design (CS525) considers the current methods and practices for the good design of software systems. Topics include software design patterns, frameworks, architectures, and designing strategies to apply these multi-level abstractions.


Student comments

“This is the best course I’ve ever taken in my life, Professor. I am very thankful. Thank you so much.” L.M.T. — Myanmar

“Thank you, dear Prof. Guthrie. I just want to thank you for providing me with all the knowledge and moral support during this course. After having this course, I am now ready for the Design Pattern Interview questions that I am going to use in the future. I’m glad to be a student under your guidance. You showed me the path to success is to believe in yourself.” A.T. — Lebanon

“The ASD course I took is helping me so much on my job, since it is related to design software architecture.” M.N. — Vietnam

“First of all, we would like to thank you for the great course and the amazing surprise at the end. We had so much fun in class, we enjoyed the class content, and of course your jokes :)” L.S.E.R. — Colombia, G.P.O. — Nigeria, and M.A.A.Y. — Egypt

Quoc Vinh Pham: Enjoys Machine Learning and Family Life at MIU

Vinh is happy doing his practicum remotely while living near MIU in Fairfield, Iowa.

Born into a farming family in western Vietnam, Quoc Vinh Pham never even heard about computer science until college. As a senior BS student at Ho Chi Minh University of Agriculture and Forestry (2008-2012), he started loving software development, because he figured out that he could build useful applications and websites to benefit others, and this gave him much joy.

Work history

Vinh Pham has 9 years of hands-on experience involving agile software development practices. For 8 years he did Java programming for multinational product companies from Europe and America before coming to MIU.

He was a co-founder and CTO of a fast-paced startup that provided SAAS (with $9 million VC funding), and has also been a Principal Software Engineer at Alibaba.


Vinh first learned about the Computer Professionals Master’s Program (ComPro) when we reached out to him via Linkedin in 2015. Since then, he heard more about MIU from friends and colleagues in Vietnam.

In early 2020, he applied for the November 2020 entry into our Master of Science program and planned to study Big Data and Machine Learning (ML). His idea was to apply Machine Learning to part of a new startup idea.

In the Machine Learning course, taught by Professor Emdad Khan, Vinh realized that fundamental theoretical and practical ML applications could help him do advanced research. Vinh and a classmate decided to take on a new topic for their course project. They chose to research Generative Adversarial Networks (GANs), which are algorithmic architectures that use two neural networks, pitting one against the other (thus the “adversarial”) in order to generate new, synthetic instances of data that can pass for real data. GANs are widely used in image generation, video generation, and voice generation.

In May 2022, at the request of Prof. Khan, Vinh and Jialei Zhang presented a technical webinar entitled, “Image and Video Synthesis using GAN & Deep Learning.” See their detailed presentation in the following video:

Currently, Vinh is working as a Product Engineer at CVS Health via Creospan (a technology consultancy) doing his optional practical training (OPT) practicum, where he is building a payment calculation system.


All the students, faculty, and MIU staff regularly practice the Transcendental Meditation® technique (TM). Vinh adds, “I enjoy doing TM—especially when I am stressed or under pressure. Doing TM during studying at MIU makes it easy to focus deeply on a topic. My brain seems to self-refresh when I practice twice each day. It also helps me gain more energy and productivity at work.”

Vinh’s family loves the fresh and peaceful environment in Fairfield.

“My wife and 4-year-old daughter came here a year ago, and we continue to enjoy the beautiful and peaceful life in Fairfield because I am now working remotely from here. We love walking along the Fairfield trail system and parks to enjoy the fresh air, discover wild edible plants, and go fishing. We also have a small vegetable garden in warmer weather,” explains Vinh.

Future Goals

When he first came to MIU, Vinh did some market research and could see the potential for a startup in Fairfield. He would like to create a new business in the US based on this research or a different idea in the future.


Based on his own experience, Vinh advises the following path for software developers to follow:

  1. Finish your undergraduate degree.
  2. Work in industry for 3-5 years.
  3. Pursue a master’s degree. This is a good time to compare, evaluate, and confirm the practical versus advanced theoretical knowledge to yourself. “I had a lot of ‘Ah-ha’ moments during studying at MIU.”

Two ComPro Enrollment Records Set in 2021-22

Our recent April 2022 entry includes 168 software developers who resided in 45 nations, and are citizens of 35 countries. This is by far the largest Computer Professionals master’s program enrollment for a single entry in our 26 years.

At the same time, we are pleased to announce an academic year (4 entries) record of 566 newly enrolled ComPro master’s students!

The April entry MS in Computer Science students are citizens of the following 35 nations:Afghanistan, Algeria, Bangladesh, Brazil, Cambodia, Canada, Colombia, Egypt,  Eritrea, Ethiopia, Ghana, Guinea, Haiti, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia, Morocco, Myanmar, Nepal, Nigeria, Pakistan, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Togo, Turkey, Uganda, Uzbekistan, Viet Nam, Zambia, Zimbabwe.

Some of these students were living in additional countries: United Arab Emirates, Thailand, Singapore, Senegal, Qatar, Poland, Republic of Korea, Japan, Italy, Finland, Djibouti, and China.

Why are the ComPro and MIU enrollments growing during the pandemic?

During a very difficult and challenging time for many U.S. universities, why is it that Maharishi International University is enjoying large enrollments?

The answer lies in the uniqueness of MIU. Our university supplies students from around the world with what has been the missing ingredient in higher education. Education has lacked a systematic way of developing the knower—the student—developing their full creative potential so that their processes of learning are functioning more and more effectively, for greater clarity of perception, innovative thinking, deepest insights, inner happiness and fulfillment. We call this Consciousness-Based education, which includes the Transcendental Meditation® technique.

“We manage the block system studying one course each month, full time, by doing the Transcendental Meditation technique every morning, before lunch, and at the end of classes in the afternoon. This is really helpful because it relaxes my body, and it helps me to relieve stress and focus on my work. I feel my brain is getting more and more energy every time I do TM. It is like exercising my body every day.” –Hlina Beyene (MSCS 2022)

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.