Christopher Smith—Exploring The Permanence of Structures

Christopher Smith—Exploring The Permanence of Structures

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MIU alumnus Christopher Smith graduated from the University of Massachusetts’ MFA program in ceramics this August and is currently working for ceramic artist Chris Gustin in South Dartmouth, MA.

MIU graduate Christopher Smith

A native of Massachusetts, Christopher enjoyed making art as a child, but after graduating from high school he put aside his dream of becoming an artist. Nine years later he saw a Facebook ad for MIU, attended a Visitors Weekend, and enrolled within a month.

With fellow MIU art students

Christopher had been interested in meditation and had tried a few techniques, but it wasn’t until he learned the Transcendental Meditation® technique that he found what he was looking for. “It was such an automatic process, very profound, immediate, and enjoyable,” he said.

Exploring the Sonoran Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, Arizona

He decided to major in Maharishi Vedic ScienceSM, and spending time at MIU rekindled his love of art. He completed a second major in the BFA program and graduated in 2016.

“Having consciousness as the basis of education is important,” he said. “I have always been a good student, and I always enjoyed learning, but I never really enjoyed school. Seeing the difference at MIU made me hopeful and I was willing to try it. I really loved it.”

Christopher’s sculptures at his MFA exhibit

At the University of Massachusetts Christopher volunteered as the president of the ceramics club. As a result of his work in the club, he received a scholarship to conduct field research in the canyons of New Mexico, Nevada, and Arizona, as well as historic sites like Chaco Canyon National Park. His research inspired some of the sculptures he created for his graduate thesis, which center around man-made and natural structures and how the timelessness of these structures creates a feeling of transcendence, permanence, and impermanence.

In the future Christopher would like to regularly visit art residencies and exchange ideas and techniques with fellow artists all over the country.

PhD Students Participate in Virtual Management Conference

PhD Students Participate in Virtual Management Conference

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Ten doctoral students from the College of Business Administration participated in the 80th Annual Conference of the Academy of Management in August. This was the Academy’s first virtual experience, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Academy of Management (AOM) is the preeminent professional association for management and organization scholars, with a membership of 20,000 professors and PhD students from over 120 countries.

PhD student Ayesha Sengupta

MIU professors have been attending and presenting at the conference for years. Since the live event was cancelled, scholarships from the Wege Foundation enabled ten PhD students to register for the conference in addition to the faculty participants.

Professor Sabita Sawhney

“I had the chance to attend the New Doctoral Student Consortium for 3 days,” said PhD student Ayesha Sengupta. “The participation in the sessions was quite large and the topics addressed were very relevant to any doctoral student. The focus included addressing the dilemmas and concerns while conducting research, the challenges while seeking and establishing a career in academia, how to plan your years during the doctoral program, the challenges in publication, and so on. The discussions were not generic, but instead very structured and precise. It gave me a deep insight into my own goals and plan for my doctoral degree and what my next steps can be afterwards.”

According to Professor Sabita Sawhney, director of the PhD program, the students successfully networked with fellow students around the world, received guidance from faculty at other universities, and realized that their experiences and challenges are shared by other PhD students. They also felt on par with students from other universities and were comfortable interacting with professors.

PhD student Nakita Bruno

“The AOM Conference was an inspiring and educational experience,” said PhD student Nakita Bruno. “It revealed to me the wider role that the field of academia has on society and how individual scholars with their varied interests together are making an impact in many facets of the human experience. I appreciated having the opportunity to connect with and learn from respected leaders in my field.”

PhD student Kennedy Kamfwa

“I learned a lot about becoming a research methodologist, publishing requirements, and managing academic collaborations,” said PhD student Kennedy Kamfwa. “The insights gained will help in crafting a research paper to launch a Consciousness-Based university for thousands of students in Africa.”

The students who participated in the conference can take advantage of their one-year membership to access the sessions they weren’t able to attend and continue networking with other members.

MBA Team Ranks in Top 1% in World Competition

MBA Team Ranks in Top 1% in World Competition

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Ariunbulag Tur-Amgalan

MIU’s MBA teams performed exceptionally well again in the international Capsim Capstone business simulation. One team finished in the 99th percentile, competing with 1071 master’s-degree level teams worldwide. Team members included Munkhtamir Doljinsuren (Mongolia), Ariunbulag Tur-Amgalan (Mongolia), and Abraham Asfaw (Ethiopia).

Ariunbulag Tur-Amgalan

Abraham Asfaw, who worked as a university lecturer prior to coming to MIU, said of the simulation: “My Capstone experience has taught me how to make decisions around the management of a company’s resources, finance, human resources, production, automation, and marketing within the constraints of time and leading a company as a team.”

Abraham Asfaw

Since the beginning of the Capsim business simulations in 2010, MIU’s MBA student teams have consistently performed well in this challenging executive decision-making process modeling an eight-year period. In each competition, MIU has placed at least one team in the top 10th percentile.

Professor Andrew Bargerstock

“The Capstone simulation is a platform of real world business which requires us to comprehend the knowledge we have acquired. It is also a holistic way to evaluate a business with not only conventional financial performance evaluation, but other essential metrics of performance, including total quality management and human resources,” said Ariunbulag Tur-Amgalan, who worked as chief financial officer of the second largest privately owned electricity distribution company in Mongolia and chose MIU because of the financial assistance it provides to international students.

Professor Andrew Bargerstock said, “We are also pleased to acknowledge the high level of performance from two other teams: Addis Adugna, Alazar Wodajo, and Amanuel Wendemagenge at 90th percentile, and Gereltsetseg Zorigtbaatar, Gunjmaa Mijiddorj, and Teshome Fetene at 80th percentile. We feel that the Capstone simulation results demonstrate the readiness of our students for job markets now and speak well of their potential later for executive leadership positions.”

New Trustees Join MIU’s Board

New Trustees Join MIU’s Board

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MIU has added five new members to its Board of Trustees, representing four different countries and continents.

Nakisha Hobbs

Nakisha Hobbs is co-founder and director of the Village Leadership Academy in Chicago, a K–8th-grade school with 700 students, whose focus is “to transform urban youth into global leaders” and which incorporates the TM® technique throughout.

She also served for two years as associate director of the Office of Early Childhood in the Illinois Department of Human Services, overseeing a $1.3 billion budget and directing state policy to ensure equitable access to high quality early childhood experiences for Illinois children. In June, 2019, Ms. Hobbs gave MIU’s commencement address and was awarded a Doctorate of Education Honoris Causa diploma.

Rena Boone

Rena Boone has been a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation® technique since 1973 and a Consciousness-BasedSM educator. She chaired the San Francisco Transcendental Meditation center in the 1970s and then moved to Fairfield to become a teacher at Maharishi School when it was first starting, spending the next 30 years there.

She was also director of the Quiet Time program at Ideal Academy Public Charter School in Washington, DC, for eight years. She currently works at the David Lynch Foundation as regional director for Washington, DC, and serves as executive director of The Meditation Center at THEARC in southeast Washington, DC, serving a largely Black community.

Lorenza Garghetti

Lorenza Garghetti, MD, is a pediatrician from Italy who has practiced the Transcendental Meditation technique for 30 years. She has been a proponent of Maharishi AyurVeda® and supporter of the Maharishi Vedic Pundit project in the Brahmasthan of India.

She and Raja Dr. Bruno Renzi have started a Maharishi AyurVeda medicine program in Italy in conjunction with MIU and in 2019 inaugurated a Maharishi AyurVeda Health and Prevention Center in Milan, Italy.

Kwesi Orgle

Kwesi Orgle is from Ghana with a PhD degree in tropical forest ecology from the University of Aberdeen, UK. He has served as director of the Resource Management Support Center for the Forestry Commission of Ghana and has worked with a variety of NGOs, including the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), Fearless Planet, and Global Country of World Peace. He has worked on development projects with traditional leaders in Ghana, Zambia, Nigeria, and Cameroon.

Mr. Orgle is also a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation technique and has taught the TM technique extensively in Ghana. He is executive director of the Institute for Excellence in Africa, a US nonprofit which has worked to implement Consciousness-Based projects designed to address developmental needs in Africa.

Yingwu Zhong

Yingwu Zhong from China is the CEO of the billion-dollar gaming company FunPlus, a 2010 MIU ComPro graduate, and recipient of a 2020 Doctorate of Science Honoris Causa from MIU.

In 2010 Mr. Zhong co-founded FunPlus, a gaming company that created such hits as Facebook’s Family Farm, Royal Story, and Happy Acres. After the success of the Facebook games, the company launched several multiplayer mobile strategy games. 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.

Phuong Nguyen—Making an App for a Niche Market

Phuong Nguyen—Making an App for a Niche Market

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MIU student Phuong Nguyen

MIU student Phuong Nguyen was among the five finalists who pitched their business ideas to a panel of entrepreneur judges during MIU’s second Changemakers Shark Tank-like event in June. Phuong’s idea for a nail salon management app was awarded second place.

With her twin sister Hang and aunts at Tan Son Nhat airport in Vietnam prior to flying to the US

Phuong grew up in a small town in the south of Vietnam. When her brother brought home a computer one day, Phuong became interested in programming. She started learning about programming in sixth grade and studied computer science at university.

She joined MIU’s Computer Professionals Program in early 2020, drawn by the program’s offer of affordable initial payment, paid internship experience in the US, and one course at a time curriculum.

Visiting Silicon Valley before coming to MIU

Phuong has also learned to appreciate the Transcendental Meditation® technique. “Before I applied, I thought that meditation was a religious practice,” she said. “Little did I know that meditation has nothing to do with religion. It helps me manage stress and I am more positive and happy. I am able to think more clearly and be more productive with my time.”

Learning how to do acrylic nails at her friend’s nail salon

Prior to arriving at MIU, Phuong visited some Vietnamese friends in California who own nail salons. She observed how they ran their businesses and realized they were managing their operations manually. She decided to develop an app that can serve the unique needs of these businesses. Seventy percent of nail salons around the globe are operated by Vietnamese, but Phuong is making her application available in English as well for other users.

She is currently having her app tested by some of her friends before launching the product and plans to devote a portion of her profits to start a foundation for the education of Vietnamese students in need.

In her free time, Phuong likes to improve her English and make videos for her Vietnamese friends about her life in the US while teaching them English phrases she has learned.

Hagen Rainbow—Promoting Maharishi Ayurveda Around the World

Hagen Rainbow—Promoting Maharishi Ayurveda Around the World

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MIU alumnus Hagen Rainbow

MIU alumnus Hagen Rainbow received his first degree from MIU in 2011—a major in media and communications and a minor in business. He worked as a videographer for the David Lynch Foundation and as internet marketing and social media manager for the Maharishi Foundation. In 2013 he became a teacher of the Transcendental Meditation® technique and taught the TM® technique to 200 students in Los Angeles schools.

With Father Gabriel Mejía (founder of Fundación Hogares Claret) and Jenna De Freitas in Medellín, Colombia

Around that time Hagen developed a desire to expand his knowledge of Maharishi’s technologies for healing the mind and the body. He completed his pre-medical courses at the University of Iowa and then enrolled at American University of Integrated Sciences in Barbados, which had a partnership program with MIU integrating Maharishi AyurVedaSM with a medical degree. In 2019 he earned his MS in Maharishi AyurVeda and integrative medicine from MIU.

Teaching Ayurveda at Hogares Claret in Medellin, Colombia

Next he spent five months at the Ayurveda Integral Health Sadhana Center of Fundación Hogares Claret in Medellín, Colombia, managing the Ayurveda clinic and giving consultations. Over the past year, Hagen has been working with Nepal Maharishi Vedic Foundation on various projects.

“Maharishi’s approach to Ayurveda is unique, as it focuses on consciousness,” said Hagen. “My goal is to help bring Maharishi’s knowledge to the world. I have a vision to create affordable Maharishi RejuvenationSM program clinics that incorporate the high standards of Maharishi AyurVeda that people have come to trust.”

With the team at Nepal Maharishi Vedic Foundation

Currently Hagen is leading an initiative for the construction of a Maharishi AyurVeda Center in Pokhara, Nepal, near the Annapurna Mountains in the Himalayas. He is also managing Global Family Farms, which creates economic opportunities for rural farmers in Nepal through ethical, organic agriculture and supports the Maharishi Vedic Pandit schools in Nepal. In addition, he is involved with the recruitment and training of Maharishi Vaidyas in India and Nepal.