Tam Van Vo Acquiring Hard and Soft Skills at MIU

Tam Van Vo Acquiring Hard and Soft Skills at MIU

April 29, 2021 • ISSUE 569

Tam Van Vo

Acquiring Hard and Soft Skills at MIU


MIU student Tam Van Vo

MIU student Tam Van Vo earned his master’s degree in computer science from the University of Science in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and received a scholarship for a PhD program in information and communication at the Toyota Technological Institute in Japan. He has worked for multiple companies in Singapore and Vietnam as a data scientist and machine learning engineer. He also had an academic career teaching at Nanyang Technology University in Singapore and his alma mater in Vietnam.

Tam wanted to advance his education by studying abroad and heard about MIU from a friend. He liked the practical focus of the ComPro curriculum, and financial aid made it possible for him to apply.

Visiting Chicago with his family

“My doctoral education focused on research and theoretical problems,” said Tam. “The computer science master’s program at MIU is more practical and helps me improve my skills and gain knowledge in cutting-edge technologies such as big data, micro services, and machine learning.”

Tam also appreciated the course on Leadership for Technical Managers by Jim Bagnola because it helped him improve his soft skills, which are also necessary for finding success in the job market.

The practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique has been an equally important aspect of the curriculum for Tam. “I really enjoy this effortless meditation technique,” he said. “It helps me grow my brain and enjoy a stress-free life.”

With fellow computer science students in Fairfield (Tam in back row, center)

Tam recently began his curricular practical training as a backend software engineer for Walmart, hired by Flexton Inc. He is currently contributing remotely from Iowa and expects to relocate to California later this year.

In his free time Tam enjoys traveling with his family, and hopes to visit as many states as he can while in the United States.

Faqir Khan

Faqir Khan

April 19, 2021 • ISSUE 568

Faqir Khan

Staying Agile in the Rapidly Changing Business Environment

MIU student Faqir Khan

Faqir Khan earned his undergraduate degree in computer science from the University of Lahore, Pakistan, and has continued to pursue his education in project management and IT through international certifications. He began to specialize in the project management methodology Agile, and when he wasn’t able to pay for a course he offered his work as payment. He became the youngest certified Agile coach in Pakistan and consulted with many companies internationally.

“I am passionate about gaining the latest knowledge and trends in technology,” he said. “I am a risk taker and I am excited to do new things.” Faqir realized that his specialized skills made him more valuable to clients, and he wanted to help others achieve the same. In 2019 he started a nonprofit company to train others how to be adaptable in highly competitive business environments. “I faced the same challenges when I started, so I am doing this for free,” he said.

Conducting a team productivity training session in Pakistan

After the COVID-19 epidemic hit and companies in Pakistan were downsizing, he switched to coaching people in resume writing and interviewing. Using his networking skills, he has helped over 2,000 people find jobs in the IT sector with firms outside Pakistan. He is especially proud of assisting many women, who face more hurdles in the job market.

When one of his friends planned to apply to MIU and came to him for encouragement, Faqir decided to support him by applying as well, and they both enrolled in February 2021. Faqir is pursuing an MBA in SAP Enterprise Resource Planning and business analytics.

Receiving a gold medal from the University of Lahore for graduating first in his class

Faqir appreciates Consciousness-Based℠ education and the depth of Maharishi’s knowledge. As an advocate of continuous self-improvement, he has already experienced significant changes as a result of his regular practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique. “I see myself as a different person,” he said. “I have more focus, and even though I am very busy, I don’t feel any pressure.”

Faqir is currently working on a research article on the impact of digital transformation on organizational sustainability and believes MIU is uniquely positioned to take the lead in this area and consult for other institutions.

Kristina Vitale

Kristina Vitale

April 15, 2021 • ISSUE 567

Kristina Vitale

Facing Fears and Breaking Boundaries

Kristina Vitale

While pursuing an MBA in sustainable business at MIU, Kristina Vitale has also gained practical experience in sustainable technologies. She has built a solar water heater from recycled materials during a sustainable energy practicum class, spent a summer month in New Mexico building houses from recycled materials with the Earthship Academy, and has lived in an off-grid cabin in the woods of Fairfield.

Kristina is a native of St. Louis, with a bachelor’s degree in finance and real estate from the University of Missouri, Columbia. Kristina says she was a shy student with a speech impediment who rarely participated in class. About eight years ago, she embarked on a personal development journey to face her fears and move outside her comfort zone.

Kristina building a solar water heater at MIU

She learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique, moved to Austin, Texas, and started a wellness company that specialized in coaching individuals and businesses in seeking higher self-awareness and empowerment. Through her workshops and events she helped over 500 clients.

One of the ways Kristina stretched her own boundaries was through traveling to countries like India, Morocco, and Japan. It was during those trips that she became increasingly aware of the impact of environmental pollution and decided to shift her career to sustainability. At the recommendation of her TM® teacher, Michael Blitz, she came to a Visitors Weekend in 2019 and enrolled in the MBA program in February 2020.

Traveling in India

“TM was a huge part of overcoming my fears,” she said. “When I took my first class at MIU, I sat in the first row and raised my hand all the time, and I had never done that before.”

Kristina also finds that studying at MIU helps her balance her studies, career, and personal life. “Consciousness-Based education helps you connect the dots and synthesize what you are thinking and how you are expressing it,” she said. “The way the teachers weave consciousness into every single class is so creative and has changed my personal life and how I balance it with my career.”

Kristina is currently doing sustainability consulting for a construction company, and her goal is to help businesses move towards identifying their environmental impact and implement sustainable solutions.

Carolyna Doucette

Carolyna Doucette

April 12, 2021 • ISSUE 566

Carolyna Doucette

A Passion for Environmental Conservation

MIU student Carolyna Doucette

MIU sustainable living student Carolyna Doucette just completed an internship with the National Trust for the Cayman Islands, working on a native species conservation project to protect the islands’ endangered blue iguana.

Carolyna grew up in Grand Cayman and Houston, Texas, and environmental conservation has been a part of most of her life. Three years ago she became a certified coral reef restoration diver, and she has been volunteering with the Department of the Environment to contain and identify new areas of the spread of Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease in Grand Cayman.


Working on the MIU Regenerative Organic Agriculture Program Farm

Carolyna studied cosmetology at Aveda while attending community college. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to start a mobile aesthetic cosmetics business, which she sold three years later. She wanted to pursue a career aligned with her passion to save the environment. She found several universities that interested her; however, when she attended a Visitors Weekend, she felt a sense of belonging in Fairfield and chose MIU.

The practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique has added an experience of calmness to Carolyna’s life that she didn’t have before. “I feel equipped to handle life’s turbulence with ease, and I am grateful for the simplicity and accessibility of TM,” she said.

Scuba diving in Grand Cayman

Carolyna is graduating this June and is currently working on her senior project, which aims to increase recycling streams on campus. “My vision is to turn MIU into the very first zero waste university,” she said. “Tackling waste on a larger scale can make a big impact and change people’s perception about what trash really is and how to manage it as a conscious consumer.” With the help of recycling company TerraCycle, she plans to install recycling bins for materials not collected by local waste management, such as art supplies, chewing gum, and certain plastic items.

Carolyna is also part of MIU Student Government. In her first year she took turns serving as vice-president and then campus sustainability representative, and this year she is student body president. She enjoys being in leadership roles and educating others about living a more eco-conscious life.

Johannes Schweigel

Johannes Schweigel

April 6, 2021 • ISSUE 565

Johannes Schweigel

Experiencing the Fullness of Life

PhD student Johannes Schweigel

MIU student Johannes Schweigel earned a bachelor of science degree in central banking from the Deutsche Bundesbank University of Applied Sciences and worked for the Federal Financial Supervisory Authority in Germany for five years. Although he was successful on the material plane, he lacked a deeper sense of fulfillment and purpose in life. He began exploring the nonmaterial side of life, which he remembered experiencing as a child.

In 2017 he stumbled upon the Transcendental Meditation® technique in a book and, within a couple of weeks, he learned it. He enjoyed the experience of deep bliss and Transcendental Consciousness so much that he wanted to learn more. “My life took a 180-degree turn when I learned TM,” Johannes said.

Over the next two years Johannes took every opportunity to attend TM® retreats and advanced lectures, including an international TM retreat for young people in Romania. He also learned the TM-Sidhi® program and decided to enroll at MIU.

With friends at his 2020 MIU graduation (from left to right: Antwan Penn, Ashleigh Page, Gwendolyn Stowe, Johannes Schweigel, Madhava Martin)

Johannes began the master’s in consciousness and human potential in the fall of 2019, graduated in the summer of 2020, and immediately joined the PhD program in Maharishi Vedic Science℠. “I had great experiences reading the Vedic literature and I want to get fully immersed in it,” he said.

Johannes is not only enjoying reading the Vedic literature in Sanskrit, but is intrigued by the use of sound and vibration for spiritual experiences in various traditions around the world. He wants to explore this topic in his PhD dissertation.

Living in the Fairfield community and attending MIU have brought him closer to his desire to lead a fully integrated life. “Living 200 percent of life is real for me,” said Johannes. He enjoys Maharishi’s technologies for the growth of higher states of consciousness and strives to use his talents to contribute to a more harmonious society. In his free time he likes spending time outdoors and practicing yoga and kung fu.

MIU Faculty Contribute to New Book

MIU Faculty Contribute to New Book

March 17, 2021 • ISSUE 565

MIU Faculty Contribute to New Book on Innovative Education

The cover of the new anthology

MIU faculty have contributed to a new anthology of educational research and essays, titled Advancing Innovation and Sustainable Outcomes in International Graduate Education, published by IGI Global. The book features groundbreaking research by MIU faculty members Fred Travis, Dennis Heaton, John Collins, Anil Maheshwari, and doctoral student Nakita Bruno Green, with a foreword by President John Hagelin and President Paul Chan of HELP University in Malaysia. The book is a collaboration between MIU faculty and faculty from HELP University.

The book was edited by MIU adjunct professor and MBA alumnus Mohan Raj Gurubatham and Geoffrey Alan Williams. Mr. Gurubatham conceived the anthology around new paradigms of graduate education. He works as professor and digital learning expert at the Entrepreneurship, Leadership and Management Graduate School of Business of HELP University.

Professor Gurubatham has years of experience working with global consulting firms in technology, change management, e-branding, culture, and learning. He has received international acclaim for his higher order thinking model, which has shown that the practice of the Transcendental Meditation® technique expands a person’s conscious thinking and facilitates knowledge transfer. In his conclusion to the book, he applies this model to integrate the ideas from the various chapters and showcases the significance of Consciousness-Based℠ education in improving the effectiveness of graduate studies.

Adjunct Professor Mohan Raj Gurubatham

A chapter by Dennis Heaton and PhD student Nakita Bruno Green addresses how the inclusion of tools for consciousness development in management education can support achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

Anil Maheshwari contributed two chapters. One shows how the principles of natural law can provide an integrative framework for teaching data analytics, resulting in stress-free learning. The second chapter examines how big data technologies and architectures can be applied to meet the special needs of emerging societies, especially in the healthcare sector.

Fred Travis wrote three chapters for the book. The first, with John Collins, summarizes a study showing that students participating in Consciousness-Based education had higher levels of brain integration, associated with emotional stability and success in life, and higher global constructive thinking, leading to greater success on the job and more stable personal and social relationships.

Professor Travis’s second chapter on “Innovation, Creativity and Brain Integration” suggests that creativity may depend on a higher order of brain integration. His third chapter, “Negative and Positive Mind-Wandering,” shows how positive mind-wandering enables the mind to escape the constraints of the current situation and explore novel solutions.