I chose to join the UM-Dearborn Ph.D. program due to its proximity and collaboration with industry, the committed and dedicated faculty, and its focus on applied research. Whether you are aiming to become a tenure-track faculty or a technical leader in industry, University of Michigan-Dearborn doctoral programs are designed to help you succeed. My experience throughout the program was fun, engaging, insightful and full of learning. I can truly say that my Ph.D. at UM-Dearborn opened my career path and enabled me to succeed professionally.
Nevrus Kaja earned his Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering in 2019. He currently holds the position of Manager and Technical Lead at Ford Motor Company focused on Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning.
When I graduated with my Bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering in 2001, I had an opportunity to pursue a Ph.D. but I declined it to pursue a career in the automotive industry.
At the time I was eager to start earning an income and building my life. Roughly,12 years later, I found myself in need of a new challenge. Fascinated by advances in artificial intelligence and cybersecurity, I decided to enroll in the UM-Dearborn Ph.D. program. My first course in machine learning with Dr. Murphey sparked in me that same excitement of my early Bachelor's degree. I instantly realized then that this is where I belonged. Having spent several years in the industry gave me a new perspective on the academic material, as I could now clearly link it to real-world problems that I was facing at work. One of those problems was Cybersecurity and automotive applications. So, I took a class in computer network security with Dr. Di Ma and I knew then, that had to be my field of research. My research work exposed me to various areas in cybersecurity and allowed me to evolve both as an Engineer and a Scientist. The highlight of my time at UM-Dearborn was in meeting the many talented professors and students who were eager to help and collaborate. Being able to imagine solutions to theoretical problems and then putting those ideas to test was both challenging and satisfying. Since my graduation, I have changed positions within my company to the role of Cyber Security Architect, which allows me to work on future architectures of automotive computer chips.
Although the Ph.D. journey was tough, I am glad I was able to persevere and finish my degree. I have big plans ahead and I truly owe it to the great support network both at UM-Dearborn and at home.
I choose the UM-Dearborn Ph.D. program because of the proximity to the faculty and administration. On a small campus, the daily relationships make you feel part of the team and not a registration number. I first started as an Information Systems and Engineering Ph.D. student, but when the CIS Ph.D. program was offered, I knew that moving to it was the right thing to do. The update on the curriculum shows how much UM-Dearborn‘s professors are engaged to offer the best possible structure for their students. During my time at UM-Dearborn, I had many opportunities that wouldn’t be possible in other places. As a Ph.D. student, aside from my research training, I had my teaching skills exercised since my first semester, starting from a grader until leading a full course independently. Another valuable experience was the interaction with prospective faculty members that the department was planning to hire. We, as Ph.D. students, were always invited to chat with them and attend to their research seminars. At the moment, I am working as a post-doctorate researcher at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal in Germany, which is a direct result of an internship I did at the National Institute of Informatics in Japan while studying at UM-Dearborn.