Computer science graduate student earns MSU TA award

April 22, 2014

Nash_3STARKVILLE, Miss. – A doctoral student’s success as a BCoE teaching assistant has earned campus-wide recognition.

Anas “Nash” Mahmoud received the Donald Zacharias Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award for his outstanding teaching, research, leadership, and service to the computer science and engineering department and Mississippi State University.

Each year, the university honors its 15th president by recognizing a master’s and a doctoral student who have excelled in the classroom as teaching assistants in their fields. Awardees are selected based on nominations from their departments that include recommendations from students and faculty, and evaluation forms from their classes.

Mahmoud will earn a doctoral degree in May after seven years at MSU. He plans to use his experiences and accomplishments at State to work as a professor and researcher in the fields of software engineering and artificial intelligence.

“It is a great honor and proof that hard work pays off,” Mahmoud said, “And of course, it is a very important addition to my professional resume that will help in my job hunting process.”

Mahmoud says that he used his experience as a programmer and software engineer to develop his own teaching style to overcome the challenge of instructing students who are not computer science majors.

Students in Mahmoud’s class have had overwhelmingly positive responses to his teaching model. Not only have they shown interest in taking more programming courses, but some have also considered changing their major to computer science.

“I think my most important achievement is that programming is not a subject that students want to avoid anymore,” Mahmoud said. “It is now a fun class that students want to enroll in.”

The aspiring professor has traveled domestically and internationally as a writer, presenter, volunteer, and speaker at professional conferences. He was a recipient of a BCoE research fellowship and is a member of Upsilon Pi Epsilon and Phi Kappa Phi.

Mahmoud entered the computer science and engineering department at MSU in 2007 as a graduate student and teaching assistant. He then worked as a research assistant, and for the last year, he has taught his own class. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering from Yarmouk University in his home country of Jordan.

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By: Erin Boozer