Anas 'Nash' Mahmoud (Student)

Anas 'Nash' Mahmoud

Computer science and engineering teaching assistant Anas "Nash" Mahmoud always has gone above and beyond for his students.

"I love my students; they come before anything else in my life," said the new Mississippi State doctoral graduate whose research interests include software engineering and artificial intelligence. He also holds a master's degree in computer science from the university.

Each time he stood before his undergraduate computer programming class, Mahmoud said he strived to do "one of the major things that I have learned by living in the South: have a good attitude about life."

As part of his classroom leadership style, Mahmoud encouraged students to be more than just good test-takers. Rather, he worked to equip them with the skills and confidence necessary to become successful programmers.

"Teaching programming for non-majors is more like teaching a new language to non-native speakers," he said."I did a lot of research on the most effective ways to teach programming for non-majors, and I found a lot of literature out there from people who have developed successful teaching strategies."

As a result, Mahmoud said he "brought in all of these techniques and built upon things that I observed from my teachers, and, in doing so, developed my own philosophy of teaching and learning."

Though not an easy topic Mahmoud said programming "can be interesting if you talk about things that students can relate to," which includes real-life applications they use on daily basis.

"I tried to keep them in touch with the real world," he added.

Mahmoud's skills and success as a teacher were such that some students actually changed their majors to computer science after taking, and obviously enjoying, his class.

The achievements also received formal recognition when he was selected for the 2014 Donald Zacharias Doctoral Graduate Teaching Assistant of the Year Award. This fall, he will be relocating to Baton Rouge to begin work as a tenure-track assistant professor of computer science and engineering at Louisiana State University.

No matter where life takes him, Mahmoud said he always will be grateful for his graduate-studies experiences in Starkville.

"This campus is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. I have so many good memories from being here at Mississippi State, and the best friends a person could ask for. That's why I love this place."