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Smiljana Petrovic
Program: Computer Science
Post-Doctoral Position: Associate Professor of Computer Science at Iona College (New Rochelle, NY)
My aspiration was always to work in academia. It combines teaching and research, and I enjoy both. The Ph.D. Computer Science Program at the Graduate Center CUNY prepared me well for that profession.

I moved to New York twenty years ago, with an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Belgrade, Serbia. After working for awhile in a high school, I decided to further pursue my education by obtaining an MS degree in Computer Science from Lehman College. Interesting courses and inspiring professors, particularly Dr. Victor Pan who also teaches at the Graduate Center, motivated me to pursue doctoral degree at CUNY.

I did not have a clear idea of a research area when I started the program, but after taking the Constraint Satisfaction course with Dr. Susan L. Epstein, I was confident that it was my “call”. The Graduate Center was the right school: my mentor, Dr. Epstein is a world known expert in the area and Dr. Haralick from the Graduate Center was one of its pioneers. Competency, high standards, numerous collaborations and the connections of Dr. Epstein made me feel that I have received a top education. Above all, the research was fun and felt like solving puzzles. It was exciting to come up with ideas and see that they work well; there were also many challenges, but that is a part of research and education. I’m still in touch with my mentor and many graduates from the program; professional and social networks make it easier. I feel that Dr. Epstein was more than just an academic advisor to me; she helped me navigate through obstacles and supported me in many ways.  

Since graduation, I’m at Iona College in New Rochelle, NY. I’ve just been promoted to associate professor. The Computer Science program is ABET accredited. The program is relatively small, and I know all the upper-level students well. Undergraduate research is highly respected, students enjoy doing it, and I enjoy passing my passion for research to my students. I take every opportunity to encourage them to pursue a Ph. D. education, and Computer Science at the Graduate Center is certainly the place I highly recommend to my students.