I came to study at UAH in August 2007 as a scholar of a USAID-sponsored FORECAST program in Serbia. The program offers a unique educational experience to top Serbian students in expending their knowledge in a particular field of interest within a globally recognized U.S. university. I was appointed to UAH's College of Business Administration's graduate program, as I wanted to further enhance my knowledge in finance and investments.
The year I spent at the College of Business Administration was of unique experience to me, both personally and professionally. I thoroughly enjoyed the coursework, which provided a very nice blend of theoretical and practical experience. As part of my investment practicum, I participated in the Capital Management Group, where under the supervision from both faculty and investors 10 of us were in charge of managing the university portfolio. I was given the management of international equity Charger Fund and was responsible for the stock selection, stock screening, portfolio optimization, and risk and performance measurements. Not only did the curriculum offer a great education, but it also provided me with an opportunity to perceive the ultimate business experience through competition and collaboration with other top students. I spent the spring semester at the Huntsville office of Merrill Lynch, where I interned within the Wealth Management division.
The knowledge and experience I gained during the time spent at UAH provided me with a profound basis for my forthcoming career, opening many doors and opportunities. Shortly after graduation and upon return to Serbia, I was recruited by PricewaterhouseCoopers, where I am now working as a strategy and operations consultant within the South-East Europe Consulting Practice.
There comes a point in your life and your career when you look to stretch your abilities and know-how by challenging yourself to improve your skill set. To me, it was that very moment when I was asked to join The University of Alabama in Huntsville's MBA program. Prior to joining the university, I was an international exchange student from Malaysia sponsored by the U.S. Department of State. Fresh out of the country, I was absolutely blown away by the international-student-friendly environment and the great faculty members who relentlessly assist you every step of the way. In fact, I was so impressed, I applied for the MBA program right after my return to Malaysia. It speaks volumes when you know you can return to a university like UAH and receive a top-notch education and a challenging learning experience. By the end, my UAH education provided me with a knowledgeable foundation to explore technology commercialization industry in the United States, which is close to non-existent in a developing country. That, coupled with my Certificate in Technology and Innovation Management from the College of Business Administration, enabled me to continue my professional journey in technology commercialization.
I came to UAH because I was extremely impressed with the research related to rocket propulsion systems that is ongoing on campus. Rockets have always been an interest of mine, ever since I was young, and I was fortunate enough to be taken on as a graduate student researcher at UAH's Propulsion Research Center in 2011.
Since that time, I have had the opportunity to work on a vast range of rocket propulsion experimental research topics, such as the determination of burning rates in solid rockets, liquid injector spray characterization, and the development of a novel oxidizer, before focusing on my primary Ph.D. research, suppression of combustion instabilities in liquid rocket engines.
My graduate work has provided me with certain opportunities that I hope will allow me to succeed as a researcher in the propulsion industry upon graduation. Not only was I fortunate enough to be awarded the Wernher von Braun Fellowship in 2012 and place 1st in the field of Engineering at the 6th Wernher von Braun Memorial Symposium Student Poster Competition in 2013, but I was also invited out to Hawthorne, Calif., to guest lecture at SpaceX about my current research.
Being asked to present my work to professionals in the industry has been an experience that has been very important in my development as a researcher, which would not have been possible without UAH and the Propulsion Research Center.
Prior to enrolling in graduate school, I was looking for an elite program that would not only refine my current knowledge base but also introduce me to new aspects of atmospheric science. I wanted to attend a school where I would enjoy the coursework but also be given the opportunity to learn from research experiences outside the classroom. The Atmospheric Science Department at the University of Alabama in Huntsville provided more educational and research opportunities than I could have imagined. The faculty is highly motivated, concentrated on giving the students the best possible education and research experiences. Much of their effort is dedicated to molding students into professionals. Their wide range of expertise serves to provide the specialized coursework desired by the students while solidifying fundamental concepts. Class projects often utilize the suite of instrumentation unique to UAH. The department consistently participates in large-scale data collection campaigns with universities and research institutions across the nation in which graduate students are a driving factor in successful collection and analysis. Collaboration and internships with NASA and affiliates throughout Huntsville and the state of Alabama provide professional opportunities outside the university setting.
During my short time, thanks in large part to the faculty and staff within the department, I have experienced all of this: participating in local deployments of the research instruments, forecasting for a NCAR data collection field campaign encompassing much of the eastern U.S., working with NASA SERVIR on a wireless sensor network project gaining worldwide attention for its adaptability to a large range of problems, and obtaining an internship with Southern Company. The connections I've made in the professional community and knowledge obtained in the classroom and in research has more than adequately prepared me for future professional endeavors.
The MSN program at UAH's College of Nursing provided me with a valuable knowledge base as well as a career in my chosen field. The faculty went above and beyond in ensuring a high level of education. The blend of in-class lectures and online classes were advantageous for me to pursue my education while remaining employed throughout the program. Upon graduation in December of 2013, I accepted a position in my field of study. The program was extremely worthwhile in empowering me to take on this challenge. This would not have been possible without the support, guidance, and instruction I received from the faculty in the College of Nursing.
The UAH MBA program continues to impress me; the quality of the professors and curriculum has been exceptional. As an entrepreneur, the program has offered a lot to prepare me in making smart business decisions to grow and to strengthen my business. While I still have a few courses left, I am confident that this program produces high quality managers that can manage at multiple levels within any size company from startups to large corporations.
I believe that the Master's program in psychology has helped me grow immensely as a student and a researcher. These experiences have provided me with a strong foundation to build on in a doctoral program. The greatest aspect of the program is the opportunity to work closely with amazing professors who are genuinely interested in helping their students succeed. As a student, I have been able to obtain valuable experience honing my research abilities. I have also had multiple opportunities to lecture in upper- and lower-level psychology courses, which is an area that most students do not get to explore before entering a doctoral program.
An added benefit to the program is that students are allowed to explore research areas that they find interesting. There are many different lines of research in the Psychology Department that give students the opportunity to hone in on their specific interests. Whether your goal is to continue to a doctoral program or get a job, the combination of the Psychology Department's dynamic program, unique teaching and research experience, and student-oriented faculty will provide you the ability to excel. I am very grateful for the opportunities that UAH's Psychology Department have offered me.