Dr. Michael Olmstead–Teaching and Studying Maharishi AyurVeda at MIU

Dr. Michael Olmstead–Teaching and Studying Maharishi AyurVeda at MIU

Dr. Michael Olmstead

Practicing ayurvedic pulse assessment

Consulting with a client at MIU’s new Maharishi AyurVeda Integrative Health Center

Michael Olmstead is a doctor of dental surgery who practiced biocompatible dentistry in California and New Zealand. He has also been a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation® technique since 1985 and has incorporated Maharishi AyurVeda® in his practice and personal life for decades.

Dr. Olmstead moved to Fairfield two years ago to participate in MIU’s Maharishi AyurVeda® programs. To formalize his decades of education, he enrolled in the MS in Maharishi AyurVeda and Integrative Medicine Program. In addition, he is teaching courses in anatomy, physiology, and modern health in the BA in Ayurveda Wellness and Integrative Health Programs and plans to develop a dental component for the master’s program.

“I love teaching; it makes me happy,” Dr. Olmstead said. “It’s been very gratifying and fulfilling to use my knowledge and experience and contribute to MIU and the community. ‘Knowledge is structured in consciousness.’ How awake and rested the teacher and the student are will significantly dictate the educational outcome. This process has effectively been shown to occur by using the Transcendental Meditation technique.”

Dr. Olmstead taught dentistry in Oahu, Hawaii, and he is currently a clinical instructor for the Dental Hygiene Program at Indian Hills Community College in Ottumwa, IA. He has been interviewed on over 300 health radio shows and has written numerous consumer-based dental articles.

Dr. Olmstead also lectures weekly at The Raj Ayurveda Health Spa, is certified in Maharishi Marma Therapy, and is a member of MIU’s steering committee for developing and enhancing the Maharishi AyurVeda programs.

In his free time, Dr. Olmstead enjoys spending time in the remote Alaskan wilderness hiking and rock climbing.

Emily Mauntel—From Waldorf Education to Biodynamic Agriculture

Emily Mauntel—From Waldorf Education to Biodynamic Agriculture

Student Emily Mauntel

With Kelly Kretschmar at the Fairfield Farmers Market

On the MIU Student Farm with fellow students

Emily Mauntel is one of six students who recently completed the nine-month Regenerative Organic Agriculture Certificate program as part of her major in regenerative organic agriculture.

Emily grew up in Michigan, where she attended a Waldorf school. She enjoyed spending time outdoors, camping, and working on the community farm, which were all part of the holistic curriculum. Her love of nature led her to study environmental science at Adrian College in Michigan.

While a student there, she was introduced to the Transcendental Meditation® technique by her mother, and learned about MIU from her TM® instructor. When she discovered that MIU offers training in biodynamic agriculture, which is based on the same philosophy as Waldorf education, she decided to transfer.

“I like the curriculum here; it feels like it’s more laid-back, but I am learning so much more in the classroom,” said Emily. “I like both reading about things and doing them.” During the nine-month certificate program, Emily worked on the MIU Student Farm growing produce and helped with the CSA program and the farmers market.

“I also like that meditation is part of the class,” she said. “I feel more grounded from practicing the TM® technique, and I have a clear path of what I want to do.”

During the Thanksgiving holiday, Emily attended a Biodynamic Conference in New York state, where she visited local farms, participated in workshops, and networked with farmers from all over the world. She was able to attend the workshop at no cost with the help of a scholarship she won from the Biodynamic Association. Earlier this year, Emily and her classmate Kelly Kretschmar also attended the Women in Sustainable Agriculture Conference in Saint Paul, Minnesota, as MIU’s official delegation.

In January Emily is heading to Oregon, where she will be completing a three-month internship in regenerative sheep grazing as part of her major. After she graduates in June, she wants to continue interning at various farms and learning more about the role of livestock in regenerative agriculture.

Veda Jamoona—Researching Higher States of Consciousness

Veda Jamoona—Researching Higher States of Consciousness

PhD student Veda Jamoona in the neurophysiology lab

Teaching Sanskrit to students in the MA in Maharishi Vedic Science program

On stage with the student panel during Dr. Tony Nader’s visit in the spring

Veda Jamoona is a PhD student in Maharishi Vedic Science℠, conducting research on the correlation between higher states of consciousness and neurophysiology. She is studying the brainwaves of individuals practicing the TM® program to discover any unique markers of higher states of consciousness as described by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

Veda is from New York City, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from New York Institute of Technology. She first came to Fairfield in 2008 with her mother, who had heard about MIU from a friend. Having grown up in an Indian family, Veda studied Indian philosophy and Vedic traditions from a young age, but she was surprised and delighted to find a university incorporating Vedic knowledge in its curriculum in Iowa.

She applied for the MBA program right away, but after her first class in the Science and Technology of Consciousness, she switched to studying Maharishi Vedic Science. “I was really impressed with the precision the teachers taught with,” she said. “Their egos were not at all involved; the knowledge came directly from Maharishi.”

After finishing her MA in Maharishi Vedic Science, Veda began the PhD program but had to return to New York City. In 2017 she came back to MIU to finish her doctorate. In addition to studying neurophysiology with Dr. Fred Travis, Veda is teaching Sanskrit in the part-time MA in Maharishi Vedic Science program.

Veda took the TM-Sidhi® course during her first semester in 2008 and found her practice of the TM and TM-Sidhi programs valuable for growing pure consciousness, reducing stress, and expanding her horizons. “I don’t see the limits, I only see the space,” she said. “The field of possibilities grows and I only think about how I can accomplish something.”

Veda loves teaching and conducting research on consciousness, which she hopes to continue doing after completing her doctorate. “Here at MIU we have the answers to questions because we are able to think outside the box,” she said.

Andy Zhong—CEO of Billion-Dollar Gaming Company FunPlus

Andy Zhong—CEO of Billion-Dollar Gaming Company FunPlus

MUM graduate and gaming CEO Andy Zhong

Andy speaking to students during a company open day

Andy (left) with co-founder Yitao Guan (right) at the company’s 2018 annual party

Trekking in the Gobi Desert as part of a company expedition

MUM graduate Andy Zhong earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Dalian University of Technology in China, and began his career as a research engineer at Bell Laboratories in 2005. He entered MUM’s MS in Computer Science Program in 2007 and soon moved to Silicon Valley to serve as engineering director and lead product manager at RockYou, developing the popular Facebook games Birthday Cards and Zoo World.

Andy says that the time he spent at MUM was very helpful in landing him a job at a top Silicon Valley company. He has also found the practice of the TM® technique beneficial.

“Transcendental Meditation has become a powerful tool to help me become more focused and live in the present,” he said. “It also gives me the ability to inquire deeply and guide my curiosity to explore.”

In 2010 Andy co-founded FunPlus, a gaming company that created such hits as Facebook’s Family Farm, Royal Story, and Happy Acres. Although the company was founded in San Francisco, Andy and his co-founder Yitao Guan took venture capital from Silicon Valley investors and moved the company to Beijing, China, where they built their casual gaming studio called Dian Dian.

After the success of the Facebook games, Andy’s company launched several multiplayer mobile strategy games, including King of Avalon, which became a bestseller in 67 countries in 2016, and Guns of Glory, which became the best selling game in 45 countries in 2017.

The company now has offices in Taipei, San Francisco, Singapore, and Tokyo, with over 1,000 employees from 20 countries. In less than ten years, FunPlus became one of the most significant companies in the gaming industry, generating over $1 billion in revenue.

One of the strategies Andy has pursued was to conquer global markets, instead of focusing on China. His approach has proven successful, as most of the games’ users are in the West, with most revenues coming from U.S. users.

Andy sold the casual games division Dian Dian in 2016 for $1 billion and now focuses the company’s development on strategy games, mobile live streaming, e-sports, virtual reality content, and game publishing platforms.

His long-term goal is to make his company one of the top three interactive entertainment companies worldwide and create the best games and gaming community for over 5 billion users all over the world. “We never limited our goals based on what we have accomplished in the past, but we always pursue bigger dreams,” he said.