Fall 2011 Jonsson School Graduates

acik

Muge Acik
PhD, Materials Science

cohen

Ethan Cohen
BS, Computer Science

folloder

Andrew Folloder
BS, Computer Eng & CS

hasan

Tajkia Hasan
BS, Software Engineering

rahman

Raquibur Rahman
MS, Computer Science

ramanujam

Sunitha Ramanujam
PhD, Computer Science

sahu

Sonali Sahu
MS, Computer Science

shukla

Manali Shukla
MS, Mechanical Engineering

small

Laura Small
MS, Mechanical Engineering

vyas

Mehul Atulkumar Vyas
MS, Computer Science

walker

Will Walker
PhD, Computer Engineering

yousefi

Siamak Yousefi
PhD, Electrical Engineering


acikMuge Acik
PhD, Materials Science & Engineering

Next Step
After graduation I am starting with Texas Instruments as a process engineer in the Technology Transfer Group of the Analog Technology Development division.

Educational Highlights
Having a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a master’s degree in materials science and engineering based on polymer chemistry, classes such as Materials Characterization, Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials, Quantum Mechanics for Materials Scientists, and Thermodynamics of Materials, helped broaden my vision and knowledge. Struggling through the homework of the classes taught me how to apply the course-based knowledge. Working on group projects correlated with the real-world.

My research
In terms of research during my PhD, weekly meetings with the department faculty and colleagues about graphene and graphene oxide - a new carbon material with superior electrical, optical, mechanical and physical properties - combined skills learned from my individual research and indirect industry exposure. My research projects were funded by South West Academy of Nanoelectronics, Nanoelectronics Research Institute, Department of Energy (DOE) and Texas Instruments.

My internship
In summer 2011 I had an internship in Texas Instruments’ non-volatile memory group of the Analog Technology Development division. My internship project targeted thin film characterization of Ferroelectric Random Access Memory. I learned how to work on a big team, gained visibility, worked with professional, diverse people and learned how to manage my time.

Long-term Plans
My long-term career plans involve growing continuously, combining my engineering and chemistry expertise, improving my professional skills and gaining more leadership and managerial experience.

Final Thoughts
I had a great experience at UTD, where I handled challenges in a new research field, published several journal articles and attended various technical conferences. These efforts turned into being selected as a Morton M. Traum Surface Science Student Award finalist in AVS 58th Symposium and nominated for a Materials Research Society fall 2011 graduate student silver award.

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cohenEthan Cohen
BS, Computer Science

Next step
UT Dallas’ Fast Track program has given me the opportunity to earn a master’s degree in only a single semester after I graduate with my bachelors, so I should have my advanced degree in computer science by May 2012. Upon graduation with my master’s degree, I plan to focus the knowledge and skills I have obtained in school to develop incredible software.

My internship
During the summers of 2010 and 2011 I worked full time as an intern for J.P. Morgan. My personal application development experience allowed me to quickly help my team at JPMorgan develop cutting-edge automation software. I owe my internship to the Industrial Practice Program (IPP) in the ECS School for helping me get and prepare for my interviews with the company.

Educational highlights
Before beginning my education at UTD, I had a very limited understanding of what being a computer scientist means; I knew it involved writing code and creating software such as video games and websites. I quickly realized that at its heart, computer science is problem solving. Software development is simply a medium of expression to apply solutions to immensely complex problems. Topics of study such as advanced operating systems, artificial intelligence, automata theory and mobile computing opened my eyes to new worlds full of powerful ideas, important problems and clever solutions.

Long-term plans
To use the skills and knowledge I have acquired for good, not evil.

What are your final thoughts on your time here at UTD?
If I’ve learned one thing at UTD, it’s that computer science is like artwork: to excel you need passion, and the end result will be beautiful.

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folloderAndrew Folloder
BS, Computer Engineering and Computer Science

Next Step
I will attend UTD’s master’s program in computer science with a concentration in information assurance.

My internship
I have interned at HP in Dallas since the beginning of last summer. I work with a team of firmware engineers on HP’s business critical Superdome 2 system. Working on such an amazing system and with a  great team has allowed me to gain an incredible amount of real-world experience that will make me a better engineer.

Extracurricular Activities
I am an alumnus of the Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity where I held various positions on the Executive Board, including treasurer and vice president. I have also been part of the Robotics and Automations Society (RAS) on campus, as well as IEEE. In general, I like to watch movies and work on engineering side project using microelectronics like Arduino and MSP430.

Educational Highlights
My Senior Design Project SMARTPark won 1st place at Senior Design Day. My team and I came up with the idea for a smart automated parking lot management system that we engineered and built a working prototype for that still stands in the front hallway of the ECS building. I also just completed working on my computer science senior project in which McAfee commissioned my team to design and build a tool for their employees. Having the freedom and guidance to work on a project with a team of UTD students was an amazing experience that taught me lessons that I can to apply at my job at HP and use throughout my engineering career.

Long-term plans
At UTD I became interested in computer security and how it will impact us as the Internet becomes part of our daily lives more and more, so I am now seeking my master’s degree in computer science to enter the cyber security field.

Final Thoughts
Attending UTD allowed me to become an engineer with the knowledge necessary to pursue whatever career I choose. With the help of student organizations and professors, I have gained invaluable real world experience by taking advantage of the many opportunities that UTD has to offer.

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hasanTajkia Hasan
BS, Software Engineering

Next Step
I will be joining Citigroup in Irving, TX, as a Project Manager. I have interned there since the summer of 2010.

Educational Highlights
My favorite class was Software Engineering Senior Design Project because of the opportunity to develop a real-world project. Elective business classes turned into a business administration minor. Other elective classes included guitar, painting, piano and yoga. I believe these courses, on top of my engineering classes, made my undergraduate years full.

Extracurricular Activities
I have been a member of the Muslim Students Association and attended Society of Women Engineers meetings.

Long-term plans
I plan to work full time for a few years and then get my master’s degree in business administration.

Final Thoughts
I was born in Bangladesh and could not speak English when I moved to the United States with my family in 2000. I am graduating with knowledge of Spanish, English and some computer languages. I am the first woman in my family to graduate with an engineering degree. I have had an amazing time here at UTD. I’ve learned  how to interview, intern, live on my own and build relationships I will want to keep long term. I want to thank my mom, dad and sister for always encouraging me to stay in engineering and keep going no matter what!

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rahmanRaquibur Rahman
MS, Computer Science

Next Step
I will be joining Amazon.com as a Software Development Engineer. My work will be to develop machine-learning software that detects and prevents fraudulent use and abuse of Amazon Web Service resources. My experience in data mining will be helpful in my work.

Educational Highlights
I enjoyed most of the courses in the Intelligent Systems Concentration curriculum: machine Learning, artificial intelligence, information retrieval and applications of data mining. I was amazed by how human knowledge has advanced in recent years in terms of developing complex algorithms to learn from data to recognize patterns, predict behaviors and make intelligent decisions. I enjoyed working with Professor Latifur Khan at his data mining lab. I am grateful to him for giving me initial support and advice. He taught me a lot about machine learning and data mining techniques. It was fun working with him and his encouragement inspired me. The classes I found always interesting and exciting in the Jonsson School were Professor Neeraj Mittal’s Advanced Operating Systems and Professor Vincent Ng’s Artificial Intelligence.

My internship
I had the opportunity to intern with several companies. These internships gave me an overview of the industry, experience working on a team and increased skills in communication and problem solving.

Extracurricular Activities
In addition to computer science, I devoted considerable passion and efforts to my musical and other extracurricular activities. I was elected as UTD’s General Secretary of the Bangladeshi Student Organization. As general secretary, I was actively involved in all group operations and arranged and organized various cultural, social and fund raising events on campus. During the 2009 – 2010 academic year, I was elected as an officer for the Computer Science Graduate Student Association.

Long-term plans
I plan to build technical expertise in the field of cloud computing and business intelligence while also applying my academic experience.

Final Thoughts
I had a really fun and exciting time at UTD. I made a lot of friends and had a chance to study under wonderful professors. I will soon leave UTD, but the memories and knowledge that I shared with my with my professors, friends and mentors will stay in my mind forever.

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ramanujamSunitha Ramanujam
PhD, Computer Science

Next Step
I will take a short break to extend and publish portions of my dissertation, then search for positions with research-oriented organizations.

Educational Highlights
Having attended four different universities during my pursuit of my undergraduate and four graduate degrees, UTD’s computer science faculty members are among the finest I have experienced. I had several outstanding classes during my most recent pursuit, including Dr. Hal Sudborough’s Theory of Computation, Dr. Neeraj Mittal’s Advanced Operating Systems and Dr. Vincent Ng’s machine learning classes. Under Dr. Kevin Hamlen’s guidance, it was particularly exciting for me to see how seamlessly mathematics integrates into computer programming to give us computer science.

UTD’s computer science advisors are supportive and dedicated to their students. Drs. Latifur Khan and Kevin Hamlen made themselves available at all hours to address and resolve my queries. My PhD journey at UTD has taught me to formulate, analyze and systematically solve a problem; present the ideas and results concisely in a research publication; and that perseverance and hard work do indeed pay.

Long-term plans
After a few years in the industry I would love to get back into my foremost interest – academia. Professorship is a goal for me when my children are a little older and more independent, thereby giving me time to be completely available for students just as my advisors were for me.

Final Thoughts
In addition to my advisors, many people have gone out of their way for me here – Dr. Kang Zhang who saw potential in me at the beginning and helped secure Jonsson School Distinguished Scholars support for me, and Dr. Bhavani Thuraisingham who supported me whenever needed, our Administrative Assistant Rhonda Walls who saved me, a mother of three, precious time on numerous occasions by helping with paperwork and other departmental formalities. Needless to say, UTD will be among the top few universities on our list when we begin the college hunt for our daughter three years from now.

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sahuSonali Sahu
MS, Computer Science

Next Step
I will be joining NetApp in its Boston office working on software development in storage systems.

Educational Highlights
I completed my undergraduate degree in electrical engineering and was always inclined toward computer science. UTD helped me acquire strong skills in various aspects of computer science. For example, Dr. Hal Sudborough helped me understand the concepts of NP-complete problems that had been difficult for me to grasp. I am grateful to have been a student of other excellent UTD professors such as Dr. Neeraj Mittal. UTD also offers excellent access to student internships and fulltime opportunities in some of the best local and national companies.

My internship
During my internship at NetApp, I was fortunate to work on one of the coolest technologies in recent times – cloud-based storage. I developed a project to build cloud-based storage and a platform to integrate traditional block-level storage with object-level cloud storage. This was considered as a proof of concept to build private cloud storage.Long-term plans
I plan to build strong technical expertise in various aspects of storage technologies and use my academic ideas and industry experience to build world-class technology products.

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shuklaManali Shukla
MS, Mechanical Engineering

Next Step
I will be seeking employment in the mechanical engineering industry. If time permits I will pursue higher education.

My research
I had the wonderful opportunity of working in the thermo-fluid and energy research laboratory (TFEL) under my supervising professor, Dr. Fatemeh Hassanipour. My research titled “Heat Transfer in Porous Medial with Slurry Phase Change Material” investigated the novel concept of using porous media with phase change material slurry in a miniheat exchanger.

My extracurricular activities
I participated in the recreational sports Group X class at UTD. I joined classes for yoga and belly dancing; it was very rejuvenating. I also participated in "Dancin' 4 A Cause" charity show which showcased many dance performances. I was part of the belly dance group.

Educational highlights
My best experience was working as a research assistant in the TFEL group. I also enjoyed interacting with a lot of undergraduate students as a teaching assistant. I took classes that helped me gain knowledge and leverage my interests in the mechanical engineering field.

Long-term plans
I plan to work in a challenging and fast-paced environment in a technical lead position and continually seek knowledge for career growth in the mechanical engineering industry.

Final thoughts
When I joined UTD it was challenging to adapt to the new environment and teaching style, but as time progressed I learned a lot from my courses and research activities. To sum it all, it has been a wonderful experience leaving me enriched with many beautiful memories, interactions and knowledge.

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smallLaura Small
MS, Mechanical Engineering

Next step
I recently accepted a job offer with Aker Solutions in Houston, Texas, as a mechanical engineer. I am incredibly excited about this wonderful opportunity and the beginning of the next chapter of my life.

Research Activities
I worked with Dr. Fatemeh Hassanipour in her lab.  My research was in the field of heat transfer involving a numerical simulation of an innovative bio-inspired heat exchanger using parachute shaped encapsulated phase-change material. It was exciting getting to use my biomedical engineering background to study a mechanical engineering problem. Learning fluent was a rewarding challenge and I had a paper published at an American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME) conference, as well as another paper under review with ASME Journal of Heat Transfer.

Extracurricular Activities
When I was not busy studying, helping students or working on my research, I enjoyed working with clay in ceramic classes.

Educational Highlights
I really enjoyed my classes in the Jonsson School.  A few of my favorites were Heat Transfer with Dr. Hassanipour, CAD with Dr. Dani Fadda, and Thermodynamics of Materials with Dr. Chris Hinkle. I learned a lot in my short time here and will use this knowledge to excel in my career.

Final Thoughts
When I first arrived at UTD I was nervous about the small size and young age of the mechanical engineering department, but it turned out the be a great thing!  I had so many wonderful opportunities, such as being a teaching assistant and working with Dr. Hassanipour. I am thankful I chose to come here for a master’s degree – UTD has really opened doors for me!

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hluchanMehul Atulkumar Vyas
MS, Computer Science

Next Step
I will be joining Sabre Holdings as a software developer.

Educational Highlights
I enjoyed courses related to computer algorithms and advanced operating systems. These classes were taught by two excellent professors, Drs. R. Chandrasekaran and Neeraj Mittal. They have unique techniques to convey the concepts through open discussions with students. These classes helped me develop skills toward problem solving and devising efficient algorithms. I also had the opportunity to work under Drs. Latifur Khan and Murat Kantarcioglu on a cloud computing project. This was a great experience where I explored the field of cloud computing and security issues on accessing data in a cloud network.

Long-term plans
Long term I plan to learn and develop expertise in the various domains of product development. Also, I want to develop technical and business skills that will help me contribute to the industry and community. I firmly believe that the sky is the limit for me – the quest has just begun.

Final Thoughts
UTD provided me an excellent environment to learn, grow and enjoy that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I got to be acquainted with amazing scientists in the field of computer science, meet intellectual classmates and develop friendships I’ll keep for life.

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walkerWill Walker
PhD, Computer Engineering

Next Step
I will be joining MathWorks in Massachusetts as a software engineer. I will be part of the fixed point team working on code generation.

Educational Highlights
I want to express my gratitude to my advisor, Dr. Dinesh Bhatia, for giving me an opportunity to grow and explore while earning my degree.


My research

My research involved developing a means to automate ingestion detection to support obesity management. This problem is open ended, allowing me to explore areas of signal processing and system design. I was able to apply what I learned in computer science and engineering to create a biomedical engineering application. Being able to mix disciplines was quite enjoyable and a great learning experience. I intend to apply what I have learned during my academic pursuits to work within industry to create useful applications.

Long-term plans
I intend to work in industry for a number of years, gaining experience in the software development arena. Upon retiring, I wish to pursue a university teaching position to help share what I have learned.

Final Thoughts
UTD is a great school with excellent faculty. I obtained a bachelor’s degree in computer science and a master’s degree in computer engineering at UTD and attended many wonderful and informative courses such as Digital Signal Processing taught by Dr. Raja. The focus here is toward student understanding and the pursuit of knowledge in even the most introductory course. Faculty members at both the undergraduate and graduate levels at UTD had the same enthusiasm. It was a great experience and I will cherish it forever.

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yousefiSiamak Yousefi
PhD, Electrical Engineering

Next Step
I decided to join University of California, Los Angeles’ top-ranked medical school as a postdoctoral fellow.

Educational Highlights
My favorite class was Convex Optimization and my most valuable experience was the collaboration on two medical imaging projects with UT Southwestern Medical Center. I am very grateful to my advisor Dr. Nasser Kehtarnavaz who provided continuous support and invaluable advice throughout my PhD studies. During those studies, I authored or co-authored four journal and 12 conference papers.

My research experience
I started my PhD studies in the Signal and Image Processing Laboratory at UTD nearly four years ago. My research involved the development of new stochastic image models to overcome some of the limitations of existing stochastic image models.

Long-term plans
My plan is to become a university faculty member in the electrical or biomedical engineering area.

Final Thoughts
The knowledge and experience I have gained at UTD will allow me to make many contributions in my career- thank you UTD!

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