Ukrainian Couple

Ukrainian Couple

May 25, 2021 – Issue 573

Ukrainian Couple Finds Personal and Professional Fulfillment at MIU and Beyond

Eugene and Julia Rohozhnikov met while studying software engineering in Ukraine. Julia already had plans to apply to MIU, inspired by her cousin Kate, who attended the MS in Computer Science Program. Julia joined MIU after she graduated and Eugene soon followed.

The couple felt at home on the MIU campus and made lifelong friendships with classmates. “The MIU network is very strong, and we keep our bond all across the world,” said Eugene. “Whenever we travel, we visit dear MIU friends. They open their houses, prepare delicious traditional meals, and we spend hours chatting about life and reminiscing. One of my classmates, Boldkhuu Dandarvanchig from Mongolia, is officially part of our family now.”

At the MIU graduation with friend Boldkhuu Dandarvanchig

Both Eugene and Julia enjoy learning and challenging themselves, so they welcomed the variety of classes at MIU. “The courses are tightly related to real-world professional work requirements, and the professors are very knowledgeable and helpful,” said Julia. “We often worked in teams, sharing creative thought processes and getting great results.”

They found the Transcendental Meditation® program a valuable tool for maintaining a healthy body and state of mind. “TM helped us get the most out of our education and maintain a stable study-life balance,” said Julia.

Recently Julia and Eugene visited Julia’s cousin Kate near Seattle, Washington where Kate is currently a Senior Software Development Engineer at Microsoft. Kate is also a ComPro graduate and first inspired Julia to attend MIU.

Eugene and Julia graduated in 2017 and they now live in Baltimore, Maryland. Eugene started working as a junior developer and has now advanced to senior software engineer. His eagerness to stay up to date with the latest trends in technology has helped him advance at work and become a trusted adviser.

Julia works as lead quality assurance engineer and product owner and enjoys managing teams and working with customers. Since completing her degree at MIU, she has accumulated an impressive collection of certifications and additional graduate degrees in the fields of project management and IT.

Julia and Eugene love to travel and are planning to return to MIU for its 50th anniversary and the ComPro program’s 25th anniversary in September.

Michael Sternfeld

Michael Sternfeld

May 17, 2021 – Issue 572

Michael Sternfeld On a Ramayan Quest

Michael Sternfeld, a professional dancer with the Chicago Movement Company, moved to Fairfield in 1983 and completed the master’s program in the Science of Creative Intelligence® in 1989 at MIU.

Michael had two interests, dance and great heroic stories, so he decided to write two thesis papers: one about consciousness as the source of movement and another about the structure of myth in consciousness. Inspired by Maharishi’s insights, he also developed a deep desire to create a theatrical production of the Ramayan.

His first production of the great Indian epic took place in 1993 at Maharishi School, where he co-directed a cast of 400 students in a stage play. In 1995 and ’96 he created an adventure theme park based on the Ramayan in Vedic City.

Michael directing Maharishi School students in the Maharishi Patanjali Golden Dome at the 1993 production, The Coming of Ram Raj

A few years later he embarked on his opus, the first complete audio recording of the unabridged version of the Ramayan of Valmiki. The project took seven years to complete, resulted in the world’s longest audiobook with a run time of 75 hours, and received the 2004 Outstanding Project of the Year award by Humanities Iowa/National Endowment for the Humanities.

At the same time, Michael also pursued his interest in dance and became a certified somatic movement therapist. Michael feels very fortunate to have made a career out of the subjects he studied during his master’s program at MIU.

Michael joins the Ramayana performers from Thailand at the World Ramayana Conference in Jabalpur, India, 2017

“I was always surprised how my deep dive into Vedic wisdom during my MA in SCI sparked such a wellspring of creativity,” said Michael. “But what amazed me even more is that these impulses translated into practical career paths that have continued to grow over the last 30 years.”

Michael has also taught several continuing education courses at MIU, spoken at international conferences, developed executive leadership programs, and published articles in academic journals—all about the Ramayan.

With students at an MIU ChangeMakers event in 2018

When asked about what he, a Westerner, brings to the study of the Ramayan, he replied, “We have a unique specialty here at MIU. We learn to go to that source level where all the impulses originate. This brings out a fresh, Consciousness-Based approach to knowledge.”

During the past 40 years Michael has produced over 400 events, courses, and pieces of content. In addition to his work with the Ramayan, he has put on events for MIU and the David Lynch Foundation, including large fundraising concerts with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, and Donovan.

Watch Michael’s talk on the Ramayan and leadership here.

Raja Hassan Raza

Raja Hassan Raza

May 7, 2021 – Issue 571 

Raja Hassan Raza

Making Dreams Come True 

Raja visiting Chicago on his way to MIU

Raja Hassan Raza joined MIU’s MS in Computer Science Program last November, and soon he will be looking for a position for his curricular practical training while he finishes the rest of his degree via distance education.

Growing up in Pakistan, Raja had wanted to join the army from a young age. He worked hard in school earning top grades and by the time he graduated from the University of Technology and Engineering in Taxila, he landed a job in the IT department of the Pakistan Air Force, where he helped develop a flight simulation application.

“I consider myself very lucky,” he said. “I got a job at the Air Force before I finished my degree; it’s a big achievement for me.”

While completing his undergraduate degree, Raja taught himself web development and worked through the popular online freelance marketplace Fiverr, helping over 300 international clients, including companies in the US and Canada.

With his colleagues from the Pakistan Air Force

Raja heard about MIU from a university classmate. He wanted to advance his education and become a Java developer. He liked the financial aid package and the block system and he applied. “It’s much easier to study when we are focused on only one subject at a time,” he said.

Raja also appreciates the comprehensive approach to education that not only features qualified faculty, but also extensive career development and personal growth, such as the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique.

“I believe that meditation is good for your mental relaxation,” he said. “MIU offers a higher quality of education because it focuses on the students and allows them to pursue a calmness of spirit.”

In his free time, Raja likes to play cricket, soccer, and badminton and learning new sports such as tennis.​

Sherrie Greenfield Exploring Creativity Through Film

Sherrie Greenfield Exploring Creativity Through Film

May 3, 2021 – Issue 570

Sherrie Greenfield

Exploring Creativity Through Film

MIU student Sherrie Greenfield

MIU student Sherrie Greenfield grew up in a family that has practiced the Transcendental Meditation® technique, and she truly began to appreciate her TM® practice when she was doing sports in high school. “I was always tired, and when I started practicing TM regularly I felt the biggest shift in my performance in sports and school,” she said.

Sherrie heard about MIU when she was looking for a college and came to a Visitors Weekend. Although she decided to enroll at MIU, she also wanted to experience a traditional college, so she attended Portland State University for a semester before joining MIU.

“There is a different feeling at MIU versus any other college,” she said. “The connections you have with people, the depth of the conversations—people aren’t on the surface.”

Working with a classmate at MIU

Sherrie had enjoyed editing videos of her sporting events in high school and decided to major in cinematic arts and new media at MIU. After taking her first class in cinematography, she knew she had made the right choice.

She likes discovering the outdoors with her camera and exploring her creativity by editing the footage she has filmed. Her favorite aspect of filmmaking is editing, and she already has a paid internship doing just that.

Sherrie also appreciates the freedom her classes offer for creating her own projects, as well as the courses that emulate the atmosphere of an actual movie set. “Working in a team, with each person having a role, showed us what it was like to be on set, and I got to see how it all came together,” she said.

Sherrie is graduating next year and is currently completing courses online from her home in Portland, Oregon.