Recent CS&E alumni news and achievements


Alumni spotlight: Varun Chandola, NSF Program Director for Office of Advanced Cyberinfrastructure

September 26, 2022: #UMNproud of Varun Chandola (Ph.D. 2008), NSF program director and associate professor at Slate University of New York at Buffalo.

Gang Fang Promoted to Professor at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

August 3, 2022: #UMNproud of Dr. Gang Fang (Ph.D. 2012) for being promoted to full Professor in Genetics and Genomic Sciences at the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai.


2017 B.A. graduate named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 list

December 8, 2021: #UMNproud of Clinton Bembry (B.A. 2017) for being included on the 2022 Forbes 30 Under 30 list for Finance. Bembry is the founder and CEO of Slingshot, a single user-friendly portal to access DeFi trading platforms like Uniswap and others.

Bhela appointed to Chief Product Officer role at NetApp

December 8, 2021: Harvinder Bhela (M.S. 1995) will be joining NetApp in the new role of Chief Product Officer in January 2022, where he will accelerate the ongoing transformation of the company into a multi-cloud, storage, and data services leader.

Brett Borghetti wins AETC Educator Of The Year

December 6, 2021: Air Force Institute of Technology associate professor Brett Borghetti (Ph.D. 2008) received the 2021 Air Education and Training Command (AETC) Civilian Educator of the Year award. He was recognized for his teaching excellence, namely his superior integration of teaching, research, and defense-focused consultation.

Recent Ph.D. grad hired by University of Florida

November 22, 2021: Congratulations to Md Jahidul Islam (Ph.D. 2021) for landing a tenure-track assistant professor position in the University of Florida's Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering (ECE). He will start this new position in spring 2022.

Ph.D. alum to speak on the intersection of technology and the liberal arts at RIT

November 3, 2021: Muhammad Aurangzeb Ahmad (Ph.D. 2012) will speak as part of the Stan McKenzie Salon at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) on November 4. His doctoral research at the U of M focused on modeling human behavior in massive online games.

Rocket Software names Milan Shetti as next CEO

October 5, 2021: Recent graduate Milan Shetti (Ph.D. 2021) will be the new CEO of Rocket Software, a global technology leader that develops enterprise software used by the world’s largest public and private sector companies.

Kaur awarded 2021 Google Ph.D. Fellowship

September 23, 2021: Congratulations to Harmanpreet Kaur (B.S. 2016) on receiving the 2021 Google Ph.D. Fellowship. Kaur is now a Ph.D. student at the University of Michigan studying human-AI collaboration and interpretable ML. She worked with professors Loren Terveen and Brent Hecht on the MovieLens recommender system platform as an undergraduate researcher.

CS&E alumni among 2021 Minnesota Cup finalists

September 10, 2021: Joe Strommen (B.S. 2005, M.S. 2009) won the Energy/Clean Tech/Water division of the annual entrepreneurship contest hosted by the University’s Carlson School of Management. and will compete on September 20 for thee $50,000 grand prize.

New B.A. grad to teach computer science and programming at St. Paul Academy

August 26, 2021: Colton Werner (B.A. 2021) will teach Programming and Problem-Solving, Computer Science Principles I and II, and Applied Programming in the Upper School of St. Paul Academy and Summit School.

Asiaee joins Vanderbilt University as Assistant Professor of Biostatistics

August 24, 2021: Amir Asiaee (Ph.D. 2017) worked on high dimensional statistics and social network analysis under the supervision of CS&E Professor Arindam Banerjee during his doctoral studies at the University of Minnesota.

DEEPSPATIAL 2021 a success thanks to CS&E alumni

August 17, 2021: The recent 2nd ACM SIGKDD Workshop on Deep Learning for Spatiotemporal Data, Applications, and Systems (DEEPSPATIAL 2021) had strong service from Department of Computer Science & Engineering alumni. Three Ph.D. alums, Xun Zhou (2014), Zhe Jiang (2016), and Jieping Ye (2005), served as co-chairs for the workshop.

CS&E alumni launches new geospatial software company Wherobots

August 11, 2021: The CEO and founder of the new company Wherobots, which develops geospatial software solutions (including artificial intelligence and machine learning) using Apache Sedona, is Mohamed (Mo) Sarwat (Ph.D. 2014).

Physics Today features alumna Lucht as thriving deaf scientist

July 23, 2021: Though still underrepresented in STEM, NASA engineer and programmer Johanna Lucht (B.S. 2014) is highlighted as a deaf or hard-of-hearing scientist excelling in her field.

Eldawy receives NSF CAREER award

July 22, 2021: Congratulations to alumni Ahmed Eldawy (Ph.D. 2016) on his NSF CAREER award. This funding will support novel research towards enabling data science on geospatial data for students, domain scientists, and citizen scientists.

Zhou announced as Chief Information Security Officer at Linode

July 14, 2021: Linode, the world’s largest independent cloud computing infrastructure provider, appointed Joseph Zhou (M.S. 1998) as Chief Information Security Officer. Zhou will lead all aspects of security risk management for Linode and brings broad experience managing cyber security practices at scale.

Recent alum leads study on machine learning methods that could improve environmental predictions

June 22, 2021: A team of researchers, led by Xiaowei Jia (Ph.D. 2020), recently published a new study on predicting flow and temperature in river networks in the 2021 Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics (SIAM) International Conference on Data Mining (SDM21) proceedings.

Integrity Applications appoints Luis J. Malavé to Board of Directors

June 22, 2021: Effective immediately, Luis J. Malavé (B.A. 1984) joins the board of Integrity Applications. He brings more than 30 years of leadership experience in the MedTech industry, primarily in diabetes management.

Choi proposal funded by Korean government

June 1, 2021: A proposal by Yunja Choi (Ph.D. 2003) for a software disaster research center has been successfully funded by the Korean Ministry of Science and ICT. The center will receive 12 million dollars over the next five to seven years.

Ph.D. alumnus to join University of Florida CISE faculty

May 24, 2021: Starting this fall, Zhe Jiang (Ph.D. 2016) will be a member of the faculty at the University of Florida's Department of Computer & Information Science & Engineering (CISE). His research will focus on interdisciplinary AI for coastal disasters. Since 2016, Jiang has been an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Alabama.

U of M graduate receives Amazon Research Award

May 19, 2021: Congratulations to James Z. Wang (B.S. 1994) on his third consecutive Amazon Research Award. This funding will support his project, “Affective and Social Interaction between Human and Intelligent Machine,” which aims to advance understanding of people’s emotional expressions from their body language using an interdisciplinary approach crossing computing, statistical learning and movement analysis.

Mo Sarwat promoted to associate professor at Arizona State University

May 10, 2021: Mohamed (Mo) Sarwat (Ph.D. 2014) was awarded tenure and a promotion to associate professor. He has been on the faculty of Arizona State University since 2014 and is the director of the Data Systems Lab.

Dr. Ranga Raju Vatsavai elevated to full professor at NCSU

April 23, 2021: CS&E alum Ranga Raju Vatsavai (M.S. 2003, Ph.D. 2008) was recently promoted to full professor at North Carolina State University. He is also the Associate Director of NCSU's Center for Geospatial Analytics.

CS&E alum and CIFellow Ibrahim Sabek featured on CRA website

April 21, 2021: Recent Ph.D. graduate Ibrahim Sabek (2020) is currently working at MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory.

Alumni Hui Xiong promoted to Distinguished Professor

April 20, 2021: Hui Xiong (Ph.D. 2005) is also the Director of Rutgers Center for Information Assurance at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey.

Yanhua Li awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor

March 2, 2021: Ph.D. alumnus Yanhua Li (2013), a faculty member at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, was recently awarded tenure and promoted to associate professor. Li is a data science expert who joined the faculty at WPI in 2015.

Jeffrey Dean honored with John von Neumann Medal

January 25, 2021: B.S. alum Jeffrey Dean (1990) received the prestigious IEEE John von Neumann Medal for “contributions to the science and engineering of large-scale distributed computer systems and artificial intelligence systems.”


Alumnus joins Five Star Bank as Chief Information Security Officer

December 15, 2020: Adolph Barclift (B.S. 2006) will be responsible for the development and delivery of a comprehensive information and cybersecurity for the bank.

CS&E alumnus named AAAS Fellow

December 15, 2020: Hui Xiong (Ph.D. 2005) received this honor from his AAAS peers for his “distinguished contributions to the fields of data mining and mobile computing.”

Protolabs appoints Robert Bodor as its new president and CEO

December 14, 2020: Alumnus Robert Bodor (Ph.D. 2005) has been elected to succeed Vicki Holt as the next president and CEO of Protolabs, a leading digital manufacturer of custom parts. Bodor was previously the Protolabs' vice president and general manager of the Americas.

Alumna Xia Ning wins prestigious 10-Year Highest-Impact award at ICDM

December 7, 2020: Alumna Xia Ning (Ph.D. 2012) was recognized with the prestigious 10-Year Highest-Impact award at the 2020 International Conference on Data Mining (ICDM) for her paper “SLIM: Sparse Linear Methods for Top-N Recommender Systems," originally published in 2011 with advisor George Karypis.

IOST's Terry Wang delivered online technical talk on blockchain

November 16, 2020: CS&E alumnus Terry Wang (B.S. 2013), co-founder and CTO of the IOST Foundation, was invited to speak on blockchain technology as a Communications Society Distinguished Lecturer by the IEEE Kansai chapter.

Conversations with CodeChef | Rakshit Daga on how to make it big in the e-commerce sector

November 4, 2020: A U of M alumnus in mechanical engineering with a computer science minor, and VP & CTO at BigBasket, Rakshit Daga (M.S. '00), is interviewed.

New scholarship focuses support on under-represented students

September 17, 2020: Sezzle co-founders, including former computer science & engineering student Killian Brackey (2013-2107) have established the Sezzle Scholars program, which will fund a full, four-year scholarship to a deserving CSE undergraduate student interested in data science, computer science, or computer engineering.

Promontory MortgagePath hires Scott Turnquest as Chief Technology Officer

August 27, 2020: Promontory MortgagePath has added Scott Turnquest as its new Chief Technology Officer. Turnquest received his M.S. in software engineering from the University of Minnesota and has more than 20 years of technology experience. He has held senior engineering leadership positions at Kindur, GitHub, and at Earnest. Turnquest also has placed a premium on volunteerism, having worked with Hackbright Academy and Black Girls CODE, two organizations whose mission is to increase female representation in technology.

Recent M.S. graduate joins Sentera as computer vision engineer

August 2020: Pallavi Mitra (M.S. 2020) recently joined Sentera as a computer vision engineer. She successfully defended her thesis in June 2020. Her interests are in Computer Vision and Deep Learning with applications in Multi-View Geometry and Stereo Vision. Her thesis focused on enhancing monocular depth estimation using Generative Adversarial Networks.

A new approach to AIoT data infrastructure using NVMe-oF shared flash storage

July 17, 2020: Alumnus in electrical engineering and computer science, and global director of software development at Western Digital, Sanhita Sarkar, authors article for EnterpriseAI.

Recent Ph.D. graduate joins the computer science faculty at Marquette University

July 13, 2020: Sabirat Rubya (Ph.D., 2020) is an incoming Assistant Professor in the department of Computer Science at Marquette University. Her research includes human-computer interaction, social computing, health informatics, and human-aided machine learning.

Mohaisen receives IEEE Systems Journal Best Paper Award

June 4, 2020: IEEE has honored David (Aziz) Mohaisen (M.S. 2011, Ph.D. 2012) and his collaborators with one of seven best paper awards for 2020. The paper, "Toward Characterizing Blockchain-Based Cryptocurrencies for Highly Accurate Predictions" studied Bitcoin and Ethereum and explored features in their network that explain their price hikes.

CSE alumnus in computer science joins Lirio’s BReLL

June 4, 2020: Alumnus in computer science, Raju Vatsavai, joins Lirio's Behavioral Reinforcement and Learning Lab (BReLL).

Student, age 74, follows in Einstein's footsteps

May 27, 2020: Former UMN computer science master student who is currently enrolled in UMN’s Senior Citizen Education Program, Ken Holdeman, plans to share what he has discovered about quantum entanglement so far with arXiv.

Minneapolis-based medical software company, Provation, names new CTO

May 15, 2020: Alumna in computer science Linda Buan, previously Vice President, Product Develop and Operations at Provation, has been promoted to Chief Technology Officer.

Learning From the 1854 Cholera Outbreak: Tracking and Containing COVID-19 Using AI Spatiotemporal Analysis

March 16, 2020: "In epidemiology analysis, the relationship between people in space and time is very important," explains Bao Jie, head of the JD Group city data management platform and CS&E alumnus, “and human activity trajectories are a typical form of spatiotemporal data.”

Revenue Secretary Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey designated new Finance Secretary

March 3, 2020: Alumnus in computer science Dr. Ajay Bhushan Pandey (Ph.D. 2004) was designated as the new Finance Secretary to the Indian Government.

Eve Poeschl honored on 40 Under 40 List

February 5, 2020: Eve Poeschl (B.S. 2003) was named to the Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal’s prestigious 40 Under 40 List, which recognizes the best young leaders for their professional success and commitment to the community. She currently works as the Director of Solutions Architecture for MentorMate.

Insights to Action—Create and Deliver Personalized Content Sponsored Content

January 21, 2020: eMarketer will moderate a Tech-Talk Webinar presentation featuring Josh van Tonder, computer science alumnus and group manager of product marketing at Adobe.

Former Green Party candidate Overby to seek DFL endorsement

January 21, 2020: Paula Overby is a psychology and computer science alumna at the University of Minnesota.

NASA’s First Deaf Engineer in an Active Crewed Mission Control Role

January 6, 2020: Johanna Lucht, a University of Minnesota computer science and engineering alumna, became the first deaf engineer to carry out an active role in a NASA control center.