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  • The Pennsylvania State University, PA, USA
    • Ph.D., Informatics (2015- present)
      • Advisor: Dr. Vasant Honavar
    • M.S., Information Sciences and Technology (2020)
      • Advisor: Dr. Vasant Honavar
    • Ph.D. minor, Statistics (2019)
      • Advisor: Dr. Aleksandra Slavkovic
  • Kharazmi University, Tehran, Iran.
    • M.S., Artificial Intelligence (2015)
  • Iran University of Science and Technology, Tehran, Iran.
    • B.S., Computer Software Engineering (2013)

My favorite teachers:

At the moment that I’m writing this, I’m 28 and have spent 3 years at Penn State. We’re in summer 2018 now. This post excludes my dad (retired math teacher) and my brother, who taught me a lot of math outside school. But school-wise, following is the (un-ordered) list of my most favorite teachers throughout the years:

1- Dr. Ben Shaby, Statistics at Penn State: I took two classes with him, Intro to Probability Theory and Stochastic Processes and Monte Carlo methods. Dr. Shaby taught me the process of thinking through a problem and solving it. I think it’s crucially important for students to learn how to think and how to tackle challenges in problems. Shaby would literally walk us through problems in class as if none of us know what to do, and we’re trying to figure out what to do together. I learned from Shaby that if, one day, I myself become a teacher, I shouldn’t memorize stuff before going to class and repeat them for students. This is what many teachers do, but it doesn’t work. You should take students’ hands and walk them through the process with you. Things may go wrong, but it’s okay, that’s how you learn.

2- Dr. Daniel Kifer, Computer Science at Penn State: I took one class with him, namely, Data Analytics at Scale. It basically meant programming on big data. Kifer was the only professor I’ve seen in my entire life that codes and debugs in class without help from Internet. It’s a huge deal. I mean really, can you imagine coding in front of students, and the code goes wrong, and you debug, and make it work, and explain it, and solve a problem with that code? Kifer is incredible. He’s very knowledgeable, extremely smart, and a caring teacher. I was very impressed by his teaching abilities.

3- Dr. Scott Roths, Statistics at Penn State: He taught me discipline in solving problems. He would teach, legit non-stop, for an hour an a half, with no breaks, and would keep the work going as smoothly as possible. He was extremely disciplined. His way of approaching problems taught me that it’s meaningless to say, I’m tired. If you have discipline in your process of problem solving, you wouldn’t lose your focus, you would enjoy how the flow moves you to the answer.

4- Dr. Lisa Lenze, Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State: The point about her is that she knows how to keep students focused even though they’re losing it. Her class was from 6-9 pm on a day that I had classes from 8 am in a first semester in the US when I’m under a ton of pressure, I’m a TA, I try to research, and I have 11 credits. Way too much to bite, but I had to. Lisa’s class was, however, like coffee, I would go to class, worn out, and come out fresh. That’s all you need to know.

5- Mr. Maleki, high school math: He was my math teacher all of the 4 years of high school. I’m always grateful to him because he founded a great portion of my math knowledge, from number theory, to calculus, etc. His class was a lot of fun. To me, it was like hanging out with friends and a super cool teacher, and in the meantime, learning a lot.

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