Written By Alan Buehler '13
When he learned that nearly 2,500 Nepalese refugees from Bhutan were being settled in the Pittsburgh area, software engineering professor Sushil Acharya, Dr.Eng., decided to lend a helping hand. The Nepal native is the faculty advisor of the Association of Computing Machinery club, whose student members recycle computers and donate them to the needy. Acharya made sure his students gave the refugees some of the refurbished machines.
Acharya worked in the software industry in Nepal, Thailand, Dallas, and Pittsburgh for 18 years before becoming a professor, and he understands how hard it is for students to keep up with the industry. “Software changes so fast that, by the time textbooks are printed, their information is outdated,” he says. Student success is what motivates him. “Students need experience to get work, and work to get experience, so how is a fresh graduate to get it?” he says. “I want to give my students real experiences in the classroom so they can be successful when they leave here.”
Acharya has received a $186,000 grant from the National Science Foundation to create a software engineering course. Seven other schools have already committed to using his course, which will teach students how to properly build the right software product for a customer. “We really want to show off Robert Morris University and show businesses that this is what has come out of a small western Pennsylvania university dedicated to education,” he says.
When he was 16 and working with the Lower Kiski Ambulance Service, Mychal Ross had to perform CPR on a patient who had suffered a cardiac arrest. “The feeling you have the first time you go from your knowledge and what you learned to actually doing it to a person was phenomenal and is one of those things that has never left me,” says Ross.
The senior nursing major is now a lab assistant for RMU’s nursing department, where he tutors students in nursing practices such as taking blood pressure and putting in a catheter. “I understand that not every student can get by on their own, and I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for the help of my mom, my peers, and the faculty,” says Ross. He is a member of Sigma Theta Tau, the nursing honor fraternity, and is a Colonial Ambassador and a Global Ambassador, helping international students assimilate. He has also been both a resident assistant and a member of Mosaic, the cultural diversity club, for three years.
Ross plans to work in the medical ICU in a high trauma center for a few years after graduation, then return to school to become a nurse practitioner and eventually a college professor. “I found out that I have been blessed enough to have the gift of teaching and wanting to help others, so I would like to go into teaching some day,” he says.