For one it’s been a homecoming. For another it’s meant immersion in a completely new environment. For the others it’s been like moving into new digs across town.

CECS’s new faculty members have brought diverse backgrounds and areas of expertise to their new jobs, but all agree on one thing: joining the CSUN engineering and computer science faculty has been an excellent career move and promises to be personally and professionally rewarding.

KabirianAlireza.jpgAlireza Kabirian, an assistant professor in the Department of Manufacturing Systems Engineering and Management and expert in operations research and applied statistics, has experienced more than his share of culture shock in his career. After earning his undergraduate and master’s degrees in industrial engineering in Iran, he came to the U.S. to pursue a doctorate at Iowa State University. Following his Ph.D., he taught at the University of Alaska in Anchorage for two years before abandoning the frigid north for Southern California—a move that pleased his new wife, who was not inclined to endure the harsh arctic winters of the 49th state. While he admits that the region’s cultural diversity and recreational opportunities played a part in attracting him to the area, since arriving at CSUN, Kabirian has been especially impressed with how helpful and friendly his colleagues have been. “Everybody here tries to help me as a new faculty member, even if I don’t ask for help,” he says. He also appreciates working at a teaching university. “CSUN is doing a good job educating our engineers for industry,” he observes. “Here students will be more prepared for real-world problem solving. This is what we teach them.”

YoussefGeorge.jpgBy contrast, George Youssef, an assistant professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, never really left the college. He arrived at CSUN as an undergraduate in 2003, earning his bachelor’s degree in 2005. While working at his first job in aerospace, he began to pursue a master’s degree and concurrently started teaching part time at CSUN—something he continued when he went on to UCLA for his Ph.D. While he enjoyed working in industry, he was eager to focus on academia because he has a passion for teaching and, he notes, “In teaching you have opportunity to switch focus so many times in your career, you never stop learning.” As it happened, there was a job opening at CSUN when he completed his doctorate. He was hired, and now, he says, he feels as if he’s back home. He especially enjoys interacting with students—something they have not failed to notice. Once, a student bet some friends $20 that Youssef would still be in his office at 11 p.m.—a bet that he won. “The students kind of push you as a professor to perform better, through the questions they ask,” he says.” I really enjoy that a lot.”

MukherjeeAbhijit.jpgAbhijit Mukherjee, who earned his bachelor’s degree in India and his master’s at Villanova University in Pennsylvania, is no stranger to Los Angeles but, he admits, during the five years he spent working on his Ph.D. at UCLA, he rarely crossed into the San Fernando Valley. So when he arrived at CSUN to interview for a job as an assistant professor of mechanical engineering, he was pleasantly surprised by the size and beauty of the campus. Now, as a member of the faculty, he particularly appreciates the student diversity, which he finds striking, and the quality of the campus facilities. “They’re the best you can find anywhere,” he says. An expert in heat transfer, fuel cell technology and microfluidics, Mukherjee was drawn to Southern California as much for its weather, art, culture and sports as for the excellent job opportunity in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. “LA is a very cosmopolitan place,” he says. “”I want to be successful in my career as a CSUN faculty member and at the same time enjoy life and give my kids the best possible experience. There is no better place than LA.”

NahapetianAni.jpgAni Nahapetian, assistant professor of computer science, loves travel and photography and especially enjoys combining the two, but when it comes to her career, she hasn’t ventured far from home. She grew up in the San Fernando Valley, then earned her bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at UCLA. Following her Ph.D., she taught for a year at California State University, Dominguez Hills before returning to UCLA as an adjunct professor and simultaneously working in the wireless health industry. “It was a great opportunity and a springboard for coming to CSUN,” she explains. An expert in embedded systems, especially hardware-based system security and sensor systems with health applications, Nahapetian had been keeping an eye on CECS for job openings in computer science. “I knew that I loved to teach and CSUN was a great place to do that,” she says. “I also had very positive impressions of faculty members I had met at local conferences.” Now, only a few months into her faculty appointment, she hasn’t once looked back. She has had very positive experiences with students and appreciates the university’s supportive environment. “From all these interactions, I can tell this is where I want to spend the rest of my career,” she says.