Mirah Dumasia Finds Valuable Learning Opportunities

Mirah Dumasia Finds Valuable Learning Opportunities

2019 MUM graduate Mirah Dumasia


With Tal Ron and Almar Meijles at the 2016 National Undergraduate Mock Mediation Tournament in Arlington


Receiving the Outstanding Student Award from Vicki Alexander Herriott, chair of the Department of Management (photo by Jim Davis)


With her father after the commencement ceremony

Mirah Dumasia hails from the city of Auckland, New Zealand. She learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique when she was 11, along with her family. Growing up with an entrepreneur father, she has always had a fascination with finance and business and she wanted to study in the US, so she decided to apply to MUM.

As a business student, Mirah focused on taking classes in accounting and entrepreneurship. She completed the one-semester track offered by the Concept To Market Institute where she learned how to draw up a business plan. She also participated in a national mediation tournament, where her team took seventh place in two categories. For her dedication to her studies, Mirah received the Outstanding Student Award from the College of Business Administration.

In her free time, Mirah worked part time at MUM’s Golden Dome Market, which turned out to be beneficial for her studies and career. While interacting with customers, she secured several summer internships and her current job.

Mirah completed two curricular practical training internships with the Fairfield-based company Tasty Superfoods, where she helped with advertising and marketing. She also spent two months doing a practical training internship in New York City, doing lead generation for an investment company called Katalyst Securities.

As part of her post-completion optional practical training for international students, she landed a one-year paid position with John Raines Insurance in Fairfield. As a starting professional, Mirah finds her practice of the TM® technique more essential than ever.

“Having the TM and TM-Sidhi® programs to just calm yourself down is important,” she said. “Being able to deal with all the demands of the world can be overwhelming, and when you are always in a place of high stress, you are not going to make the best decisions.”

At MUM, Mirah enjoyed the community of international students and learning about different cultures. In the future she plans to earn an MBA, travel for work, and eventually start her own business.

Educational Innovator Nakisha Hobbs Delivers Commencement Address

Educational Innovator Nakisha Hobbs Delivers Commencement Address

Commencement speaker Nakisha Hobbs


Valedictorian Dylene Cymraes, BA in creative and professional writing


Salutatorian Margaret Ventsias, BA in art


Laura Wege receiving an honorary degree from Dr. John Hagelin


Chris Wege
(Photos by Jim Davis)

606 students graduated from 53 countries during MUM’s 2019 commencement ceremony on June 22, the largest class in university history. These included 389 computer science master’s students, and 50 students from the Maharishi Institute in Johannesburg. The largest number of graduates came from Nepal (126), followed by the US (102) and Ethiopia (59).

Chicago educator Nakisha Hobbs gave the commencement address. Ms. Hobbs cofounded and directs the Village Leadership Academy in Chicago, a kindergarten through 8th-grade school with 700 students, whose focus is to transform urban youth into global leaders and which incorporates the Transcendental Meditation® program. (Watch a video about the Village Leadership Academy, made by 2019 graduate Shannon Ryan here).

Ms. Hobbs is a fourth-generation educator. She holds an undergraduate degree from the University of Illinois at Chicago and a master’s in early childhood education from Roosevelt University.

Ms. Hobbs is associate director of the Office of Early Childhood Development in the Illinois Department of Human Services, where she oversees a $1.3 billion budget. She directs state policy to ensure equitable access to high quality early childhood experiences for Illinois children.

In her speech, Ms. Hobbs described her school as setting high academic expectations, offering small classrooms and individual support, and including a social justice curriculum with an annual trip to a foreign country.

“Nothing in life is ever happening to you; everything in life is always happening for you,” said Ms. Hobbs, offering some of the lessons she learned in life. Based on her experience, she advised graduates to look at adversities as opportunities that are part of life’s adventure. She also encouraged students to stay true to the desires in their hearts that will guide them towards their destinies.

“I just want to remind you all that you have been equipped with everything that you need to be successful in this world. By engaging in the act of transcendence, you have and will continue to transform yourself as an individual. You will transform your community, you will transform your nations, and you will transform our world. I truly believe deep within my heart that each and every one of you in this room is destined for greatness.”

During the ceremony, MUM President John Hagelin presented Ms. Hobbs with an honorary doctoral degree in education for her lifelong service and groundbreaking contribution to the field of education.

Honorary doctoral degrees were also awarded to Chris Wege, whose family foundation has contributed over $1.9 million to the university, and MUM Trustee and 2003 alumna Laura Wege, who has helped facilitate contributions of the Wege Foundation.

During the Graduation Awards Ceremony the night before, Deepak Baskota, a former member of Parliament and Minister for Home Affairs in Nepal, also received an honorary doctorate for his work leading his country’s Transcendental Meditation organization.

Thursday evening, MUM also presented Navin Doshi, renowned aerospace engineer, philanthropist, author, and Vedic scholar with an honorary doctorate for being a leading proponent of India’s Vedic heritage and its role in the modern world.

Watch the video of the commencement ceremony here.

Third ChangeMakers Event Highlights Entrepreneurship

Third ChangeMakers Event Highlights Entrepreneurship

The 5 finalists and 2 alternates of the Shark Tank-like event (from left to right: Anthony Hernandez, Shristi Sharma, Sophia Malik, Musiliu Bolaji, Corine Brooks, Jeremy Erdman, and Ben Soukup)


The judges with MUM faculty member Cliff Rose, head of the Concept to Market Institute (from left to right: Peter Janssen, Kathryn Frazier, Mar Michelle Häusler, Dennis Roland, Joe Sugarman, and Cliff Rose)


Student Jessica Mauro interviewing Mar Michelle Häusler


Kathryn Frazier, Michael Sternfeld, Mar Michelle Häusler, and Shawn Diddy
(Photos by Werner Elmker)

On June 8 MUM held another successful ChangeMakers event, this time focusing on “How to Manifest Your Great Ideas.”

The morning event, “Becoming a Transformative Entrepreneur,” opened with Kevin Harrington sharing secrets of his success via Skype. He is the inventor of the Infomercial format and one of the original “sharks” on the hit TV show Shark Tank. Kathryn Frazier, known as the “rock star whisperer,” whose clients include Justin Bieber and Lauren Hill, spoke next about her journey of building a successful PR business in the music industry and becoming a life coach. Former London financial trader Mar Michelle Häusler talked about her path to social entrepreneurship. (Read more about the guest speakers here.)

The afternoon session, “Becoming a Big Fish,” took the form of a Shark Tank-like event, where five students pitched their business ideas in three minutes. Presented by MUM’s Concept to Market Institute, the session started with a keynote speech by special guest Joe Sugarman, copywriting and direct marketing legend.

Over 25 students submitted business plans to the judges. The five finalists included four MUM students and one Maharishi School student. The panel of judges included Kathryn Frazier, Mar Michelle Häusler, Joe Sugarman, venture capitalist Peter Janssen, and business strategist Dennis Roland. Students also received written feedback from Kevin Harrington.

The first prize of $1000 went to Corine Brooks, who presented her project called Sustainable Roots Therapeutic Ranch. Maharishi School student Sophia Malik took the second prize of $750 for her idea of an education exchange website that would match up tutors with students. Third, fourth, and fifth place winners were Ben Soukup, Musiliu Bolaji, and Jeremy Erdman, who each received $500. In addition, each of the five students and the two alternates (Shristi Sharma and Anthony Hernandez) received a $500 scholarship to MUM.

“I think the event was wonderful!” said Corine Brooks. “It was a great experience and an opportunity to show what I’m working on for the community. Sustainable Roots Therapeutic Ranch is getting the community support I hoped to receive, and this event helped move it along.”

The event hosts included MUM PhD student, actress, and former TV host Shawn Diddy, and ChangeMakers organizer Michael Sternfeld. The ChangeMakers series is sponsored by MUM, the David Lynch Foundation, and the Abramson Center for Peace.

In addition to the main event, students organized a ChangeMakers Month with a series of workshops to help students take practical steps toward realizing their dreams. Students who helped organize the month were also part of the Saturday event, introducing speakers and interviewing them.

Watch the individual talks and the full-length event videos here.