Mehdi Mekni, Ph.D., is dedicated to rising the College’s pc science program whereas creating new alternatives for college students who share his passions for software program engineering and gaming.
November 12, 2020
Mehdi Mekni, Ph.D., has all the time been captivated with gaming, and it was truly a gaming console that led him to find his curiosity in electronics. As a child, he was interested in how the consoles are assembled, and he started tinkering with them. He admits he “tousled a couple of of them” – a value he willingly paid to discover and be taught.
Dr. Mekni, one of many latest members within the College’s Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering and Computer Science, has remained curious and enthusiastic about studying and discovery, and he says these traits which have guided him each as a pupil and as a professor. When he started to be taught extra about computing, he discovered it simple to know, and he knew he’d discovered his calling.
“I believe I used to be a superb match for the self-discipline, when it comes to each technical and the private abilities,” he stated. “That’s what I attempt to transmit to my college students now. It’s not simply in regards to the laborious abilities, about computing. Comfortable abilities are vital too.”
‘I bleed pc science and software program engineering’
Now an affiliate professor of computer science and cybersecurity on the College of New Haven, Dr. Mekni brings to the classroom his inquisitive nature and his background that spans academia and the company world.
After serving as a professor of pc science and recreation growth on the University of Minnesota, he created and went on to turn out to be the coordinator for the BS in software program engineering and the Skilled Science Grasp of Software program Engineering program at St. Cloud State University. A hybrid program, the BS in software program engineering was designed to be taught in particular person and on-line, reaching college students world wide. The grasp’s in software program engineering program was supplied absolutely on-line. After 4 years, Dr. Mekni grew to become adept at instructing distant and hybrid lessons, and he was well-prepared for instructing in the course of the coronavirus world pandemic.
Though Dr. Mekni and his household moved into their new residence the day Tropical Storm Isaias hit Connecticut, they usually had been with out energy for per week, he was excited and able to start instructing on the College of New Haven firstly of the autumn semester. His imaginative and prescient is to broaden and improve the pc science program.
“I got here to the College with the attention that it has constructed a status for itself as being a hub for cybersecurity,” he defined. “I bleed pc science and software program engineering. We’ve a profitable, well-designed pc science program, and my plan is to develop this system and make it as profitable because the cybersecurity program. I wish to add one other badge to the College to make it the place for pc science as nicely.”
‘We’re greater than lecturers’
Main and rising profitable packages is one thing Dr. Mekni is intimately accustomed to. Beneath his management, the bachelor’s diploma program in software program engineering at St. Cloud State grew from 9 college students in 2016 to 300 college students upon his departure earlier this 12 months. He additionally helped the college develop partnerships with main firms with places of work in Minnesota, together with Boston Scientific, Best Buy, and Delta. He’s well-versed within the company world as nicely, having labored with Vermeg, Ubisoft, and Futjitsu.
An interdisciplinary researcher, Dr. Mekni’s work brings collectively fields corresponding to software program engineering, pc simulation, and synthetic intelligence. Whereas pursuing his grasp’s diploma, which he earned at Laval University in Quebec Metropolis, he performed analysis funded by a number one cellular phone operator in Canada. His work centered on cellular networking, aiming to extend cell service protection high quality whereas decreasing the price of antennae. It ready him for his doctorate, which he earned 4 years later from Laval. He then spent two years as a post-doctoral fellow at Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique in Quebec.
As a part of his doctoral research, Dr. Mekni labored on simulators for Canadian National Railway, serving to to develop a predictive system that might forestall obstacles. His work additionally centered on crowd management simulation, exploring the impression of things corresponding to police and terrain on crowd motion. His thesis, which was printed as a ebook, earned him the William L. Garrison Award for Best Dissertation in Computational Geography.
Embracing his new position on the College of New Haven, Dr. Mekni is now centered on pc science schooling and on creating significant relationships along with his new colleagues and college students.
“I’m very impressed by the analysis and the vital work that college are doing on the College,” he stated. “The pandemic has revealed the human facet of all instructors, and all of us are teaching one another and serving to one another to proceed to develop as educators. We’re greater than lecturers, and our roles transcend the classroom, as we be certain that our college students are staying engaged and wholesome.”
‘Making a dwelling whereas dwelling your ardour is an excellent mixture’
Dr. Mekni can also be bringing his ardour for gaming to the College, and he’s creating a brand new recreation growth focus in pc science. The focus, which can be a novel alternative for college students to study recreation design, using prolonged actuality, digital actuality, and augmented actuality, is among the some ways he’s endeavoring to develop the pc science program. He envisions alternatives for the players of the longer term to do all the things from studying how video games work to creating their very own startups growing or promoting video games.
“Making a dwelling whereas dwelling your ardour is an excellent mixture that we wish to provide to the scholars who’re captivated with gaming,” he stated. “We need to assist them use their experience and expertise and turn out to be the builders, builders, and creators of video games.”