Moving from Student to Faculty: CS Doctoral Students Choose Academia Over Industry

For Department of Computer Science (CS) doctoral students Syed Billah ’19 PhD and Vikas Ashok ’18 PhD choosing how they would jump start their careers was easy. Both of them decided to join a long list of Stony Brook CS PhD graduates who have become faculty at great universities around the world.

“One of the most rewarding experiences for me is being able to share knowledge with students in a classroom and one-on-one. As a part of the faculty at Old Dominion University, I am looking forward to taking what I learned from the CS professors at Stony Brook and applying it to my own classes,” said Vikas.

Vikas has expertise in web accessibility, natural language processing, and human computer interaction and served as a post-doctoral associate in the Department of Computer Science for the last year. Having completed his MS in computer science at ODU, Vikas will be triumphantly returning to ODU as an assistant professor in their Department of Computer Science. At Stony Brook, Vikas was advised by professors IV Ramakrishnan and Yevgen Borodin.

This summer we also bid farewell to Syed Billah as he joins The Pennsylvania State University as an assistant professor at the College of Information Science and Technology. In addition to preparing for Pennsylvania’s intense winter season, Syed is ready to tackle courses in HCI and Systems to push the agenda of Human-Centric design and development. “Becoming a faculty member allows me the freedom to focus on two of my passions: transforming assistive technologies for people with sensory losses, and educating students about the challenges in designing and developing those technologies,” says Syed.

During his time at Stony Brook, Syed was advised by professors IV Ramakrishnan and Donald Porter. He joined Stony Brook after earning a M.Sc in computer science at the University of Arkansas. Both gentlemen are recipients of the Catacosinos Fellowship for Excellence in Computer Science which recognizes the extraordinary accomplishments of doctoral students in furthering computer science.

According to CS Professor Aruna Balasubramanian, “While our students are seeing awesome industry offers, in the last three years many of our students have gone to academia instead. It is great to be able to follow their success with pride.”

Stony Brook University CS PhD graduates who have also chosen academia over industry include:

  • Ben Shneiderman ’73 PhD, Professor, University of Maryland
  • David Gelernter ’76 PhD, Professor, Yale University
  • Dzejla Medjedovic ’14 PhD, Assistant Professor, International University of Sarajevo
  • Fred B. Schneider ’78 PhD, Professor, Cornell University
  • Hanspeter Pfister ’96 PhD, Professor, Harvard University
  • Hau Chan ’15 PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Nebraska-Lincoln
  • Jihoon Ryoo ’17 PhD, Assistant Professor, SUNY Korea
  • Jun Yuan ’16 PhD, Assistant Professor, Pace University
  • Mohammad Ruhul Amin '19 PhD, Assistant Professor, Fordham University
  • Ping Yang ’06 PhD, Associate Professor, Binghamton University
  • Pramod Ganapathi ’16 PhD, Assistant Professor, Indian Institute of Technology
  • Rishab Nithyananda ’17 PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Iowa
  • Samuel McCauley ’16 PhD, Assistant Professor, Williams College
  • Shikha Singh ’18 PhD, Assistant Professor, Williams College
  • Vinhthuy Phan ’03 PhD, Associate Chair/Professor, Memphis University
  • William Jannen ’17 PhD, Assistant Professor, Williams College
Of course we can’t forget our own faculty who also got their start as CS students at Stony Brook and are now professors: CR Ramakrishnan, R. Sekar, Paul Fodor, Ritwik Banerjee, Richard McKenna, and Kevin McDonnell.