Our Alumni
2021-2022


I work as a software engineer at Mitchell International, Inc., a company which provides comprehensive, web-based claims management systems for auto insurers to simplify claims processing. I’m part of the product release team and my duties are to lead an engineering team in a rotation every four weeks and create automation for the software release process. I plan, assign and distribute tasks to a group of ten software configuration engineers to make sure we keep the software release process smooth without affecting clients. Previously, I did an internship at Mitchell International. I was working as a software development engineer, delivering new features in C# and Java with best practices.

When I graduated I received an offer from Qualcomm to work in the research and development team as a software engineer. I was also working as a teaching assistant at SDSU for computer engineering and statistics courses. I received a Bachelor of Science degree in computer engineering from San Diego State University. 

Mariam Gagua

Alumni

Mariam Gagua

As product owner of mBank, Bank of Georgia’s mobile application, I’m responsible for ensuring a seamless user experience for our users. I proactively search for new features, work with our stakeholders and business development team, manage the product development life cycle and ensure the completion and distribution of products and solutions that bring value to our hundreds of thousands of users. The biggest project I’ve worked on is the first “digital card” in Georgia, which enables our users to order their debit card in just one second and use it immediately. My main goal is to help Bank of Georgia digitalize its products and meet the needs of the market.

In my job, the most important qualities I need are great technical, communication, management, and delivery skills. Fortunately, I had the chance to master these skills at San Diego State University. Without work ethic, knowledge of computer engineering, and the opportunities SDSU has given to me, I wouldn't be able to accomplish my career goals. It’s a great honor and responsibility for me to be SDSU Georgia’s Alumni Association vice president and give back to the community. I work with the Alumni Association to make sure SDSU Georgia students have the guidance and mentorship they need to maximize the value they give to the communities and companies they work with. On the first day of my freshman year, the university dean gave a welcome speech, where he told us that SDSU students were the “flowers of Georgian youth” and that we could make a real change in our country if we tried our best. That day I realized that the journey of challenging the status quo began.

Luka Lomtadze

Alumni

Luka Lomtadze

The future is nothing but a yet-undefined set of events. The easiest way to achieve our goals is to constantly focus on them and persistently push toward success. Perhaps this is the simplest way to describe my path from being a regular school student in Kutaisi to landing full-time software engineering job offers from both Facebook and Google in Silicon Valley.

During my SDSU Georgia years I made great friends, strong connections, lifetime memories and seized every wonderful opportunity the program provided. I spent my first two years of study in Georgia, during which time I became the president of the School of Engineering, worked for ten different companies and government organizations, started multiple start-ups and made up my mind to take on new challenges on the main campus for the following semester. As a result, after my junior year I got a summer software engineering internship at Facebook, and by the end of the summer I had gotten offers from Google and Facebook to join them as a full-time software engineer after graduation.

Currently, I work at Google on the Android OS team developing amazing features for the world’s most widespread mobile platform, used by more than two billion people. It feels like it’s just the beginning. There are a lot more boundaries in the world which need to be innovatively broken.

Davit Soselia

Alumni

Davit Soselia

I am at KTH, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm. My time is spent mainly between courses, research, and consulting. The courses are highly rigorous. The university operates on a schedule of four periods per year, making the experience pretty intense. I’ve also been involved in various research projects both in theoretical and applied machine learning, and I have mainly had time for research starting in the third period, as I tried to get some of the requirements out of the way in the fall.
For consulting, I am working with a few companies internationally. In Sweden, choices are mainly interest-driven for me, based on which subfield I want to deepen my experience in. One thing to note is that work-life balance is highly valued in Sweden. The program allows a lot of freedom in structuring studies to individual preferences, so you can stay at your desired level of productivity. Coronavirus has somewhat affected my experience. Some important events canceled, others moved online, and the success of that is quite varied. I have yet to experience “Swedish winter”; the winter this year was quite mild. It's uncertain whether this is an outlier or a trend, though.
Overall, my time at SDSU Georgia has prepared me pretty well for the program in terms of both academic and life experiences. I would suggest to future students to try to schedule as much as possible beforehand, since the environment is pretty rapid. There are a lot of opportunities, and time is a luxury.

I’m studying a so-called “Software Systems Engineering” master’s program, although, it’s just a fancy name for computer science. The university is RWTH Aachen in the small city of Aachen in Germany. Aachen is a nice city, right at the border of Netherlands and Belgium, so you can literally travel to two different countries within a couple minutes’ bus ride. The coursework is generally just generic studying, reading, attending lectures (currently through Zoom), and doing homework. Activities generally do not differ much from SDSU, though, unlike SDSU, most of the courses have no mechanisms of controlling if students follow the course or not. Most courses have no attendance requirements, no mandatory homework, and the whole grade for the course is assessed through a final exam.

How did SDSU Georgia prepare you for your current work/graduate program?

There are many courses I took at SDSU that were very helpful. Many do not appreciate this enough, but some of SDSU’s general education courses, like some “LING” language courses that I’ve taken, or Oral Communication, are extremely important in academia. Many of my final year’s major courses related to communications engineering, like COMPE 560 - Computer Networks, and these became the foundation for the path that I’ve chosen in the field of communications engineering.

What is the most important thing you took away from your undergraduate studies at SDSU?

One of the most important things that any university teaches is self-studying skills. The courses you take in university rely most of the time on your self-studying, especially in master’s programs.

What is the most important thing you have learned since graduation that current SDSU Georgia students should know?

The most important thing that current SDSU students should know is that it is much easier than it looks. Getting accepted and being able to study for a master’s is something that once seemed impossible to me, but now seems so trivial. The fact is, if you managed to get accepted to SDSU and lasted all four years, then you are capable of getting any job you want, or getting accepted to any university you want, no matter what you think of your abilities.

Mariam received her B.S. from San Diego State University Georgia summa cum laude. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in organic chemistry at SDSU. She takes classes, conducts research and works as a TA (basically, she has no time at all to enjoy California). Her research primarily focuses on optimization of selective kinase inhibitors. Currently, she is working on obtaining asymmetric methodology for BTK kinase inhibitor synthesis. She is very grateful to have a chance to study in the USA and to get to know interesting people.

After graduating from the Department of Chemistry at San Diego State University Georgia, I started working at the Newton Free School, where I supervised the chemistry lab for pupils and helped innovate the teaching process. I recently transitioned into industry, and now work at one of the private analytical laboratories in Tbilisi which specializes in testing the quality of food products, soil samples and more.

Vakho Donadze

Alumni

Vakho Donadze

Work:
During the last semester of my senior year, I started working for an international IT company called Exactpro. The company specializes in quality assurance services and related software development, with a focus on test automation for securities data distribution, trading systems, risk management, market surveillance, and post-trade infrastructures. My work is mostly related to Java development, however, there have been projects for which I had to work with Kotlin and TypeScript.

Due to a confidentiality clause, I am not at liberty to discuss projects I'm working on in detail, however, I can comment on the working environment, which is the best I have seen. The company is extremely supportive of every employee. We have opportunities to work with cutting-edge technologies in software testing and development. Career growth is another appealing factor at Exactpro. The company has been trying from its first days to create a community and be socially active. That's why we are organizing and participating in various technological meetups and conferences. As an example of this, I was sent to attend a conference in Milan. Despite operating in Georgia for less than two years we have organized several grand conferences and meetups for IT companies in order to extend our community here.

Studies:
In January, I moved to Trondheim, Norway for my one-semester master's exchange program at NTNU. I was offered the chance by Exactpro to continue working remotely as a consultant, which I gladly accepted. Currently, I am on the last steps of finishing my exchange program, which was a great opportunity to extend my knowledge in software engineering and development. As the semester finishes, I'm planning on returning to Georgia to apply all this new experience in practical work and continue to advance my career.

Reflections:
SDSU gave me a great foundation for all my future endeavors, be it working in the industry or higher education. The theoretical knowledge of the engineering field was balanced with training in teamwork, social skills, and leadership. The fact that studies were in English is sometimes taken for granted, however, I believe that this American environment has made us desirable as job candidates all over the world. For me, the experience I have gained in theoretical and practical engineering was one of a kind, and probably the best that Georgia can offer. Besides my personal development as an engineer, SDSU gave me the chance to create a priceless network of peers and representatives of the country’s leading technology companies.

I am an alumnus of San Diego State University Georgia’s class of 2019. I hold a B.S. in computer engineering.
After graduation, I was employed by an international Israeli IT company, Webiz, located in Tbilisi, Georgia. I have been a member of this friendly work environment for about a year, and have had the ability to work with the latest technologies. As a front-end web developer, my team and I have worked on an enterprise resource planning (ERP) platform. As a front-end developer, I was engaged in React.js development and enhanced my skills in React.js, JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS3. Lately I have transferred to Mobile Application Development and have been enhancing my knowledge of it. Currently, I am working on React native. Working at Webiz has been a great experience.
While I was graduating from SDSU in the spring of 2019, I won the “Best Innovator of Georgia” competition, which was funded by the Italian Embassy in cooperation with GITA and the COTEC Foundation. As a prize, I won a three-month internship at one of the biggest business incubators in Italy. After graduation, I travelled to Naples, Italy, and stayed there for three months. I got to know Italian startups involved in pre-incubator to post-incubator processes. Specifically, I worked with the startup E-voluzione, which focuses on applying high-tech solutions to industry, aerospace and specialized research matters.
Besides the internship, I had a lot of experiences while living abroad. While staying in Naples, I quickly discovered what “true” pizza is like. I tasted Italian tiramisu, cannoli, the best limoncello, lemon granita, Aperol Spritz, and the best lasagna ever. I have travelled a lot to various places around Naples, Pompeii, Sorrento, Positano, Capri and Rome. I have seen incredible landscapes and historical destinations, climbed Mount Vesuvius, and visited almost every major museum including the National Archeological Museum of Naples and the Vatican Museum - I literally travelled in ancient times. Not only have I changed as I grew and adapted to the way of life there, but I also saw things through a different lens.
Last year I also applied to grad school in Georgia and was fully funded for two years of studies. Nowadays, I continue studying computer science.
My undergraduate studies at SDSU Georgia have impacted my professional life as well as personal qualities. During those four years there were lots of ups and downs, but they taught me a lot and shaped me to be the person I am today. I have met some amazing people, had absolutely incredible experiences and learned a lot, starting with Assembly Language and finishing with Oral Communications. Besides this, I have achieved more than I ever thought I would. I have matured a lot. I have chosen my career path and broadened my perspectives about life. I’m honestly so proud that I stuck with the mindset of never giving up no matter what.
I would like to wish current and upcoming SDSU students to be motivated and passionate. Hard work and dedication pay off. It is okay not to have the exact answer on some major or minor problems today, but remember that we have all been there. The key to success is following your dreams and always keeping in mind that with passion and love for what you do everything is possible. Looking back, SDSU was everything I could have hoped for and more. The possibilities are endless, and it really is what you make of it. Be open to new ideas and learn every day. Nothing is impossible - the word itself says “I’m possible”!

Sandro Iosava

Alumni

Sandro Iosava

I am Sandro Iosava, one of the first alumni of SDSU Georgia. I am currently employed at BDO, which is a leading international network of consulting and business advisory firms employing 88,120 people and operating 1,809 offices in 167 countries. I am a technical specialist, and my colleagues and I implement an ERP system for companies and support the technical aspects of it on a daily basis.
San Diego State University gave me an opportunity not only to learn essential subjects of the STEM fields, but also to develop skills like communication which are crucial in professional settings, such as interviewing with potential employers and working with clients and colleagues. These skills made it possible to work at companies like Silknet and UGT concurrent with my time at university. Another interesting point is that I met all my employers at job fairs organized by SDSU.
At SDSU I made a lot of close friendships which continue to this day. After graduation, we went on vacation together to Europe, and it was a great experience.
Finally, the most important advice I could give to undergraduates is that you should try to work in as many different places as you can. Based on my experience, I think that during your undergraduate years it's more important to try many different things in your professional field, and to figure out what kind of job fits you the most. From this, you will also gain great work experience which will make you very competitive in the labor market after graduation.

My name is David Janelidze and I am getting my master’s degree in electrical engineering at San Diego State University, in San Diego, California, United States. I have a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, therefore, I am trying to take courses from both the electrical engineering and computer science departments. The previous two semesters I took various courses here, including: Linear System Theory, Machine Learning, Algorithms and Their Analysis and Cyber Physical Systems. From the very first week I was appointed teaching assistant of COMPE 470 Lab with Dr. Ken Arnold. This is a FPGA lab, which gives students the possibility to have hands-on experience with FPGAs and design various projects using Minized FPGA boards and other electronic equipment. I took this course at SDSU Georgia myself, which is why I feel like I understand my students’ concerns and am more confident. Especially since this semester I was appointed as the main instructor of three different sections of the FPGA lab without any professor supervising me.
Apart from taking courses and teaching, I am doing research in Dr. Sarkar’s lab and working on my thesis. My thesis is mostly about computer vision. I made a machine learning model which identifies diseases in tomato plants. This model will be represented in a small embedded device, which will help farmers correctly identify diseases in the plants, and take care of them as needed. Additionally, I applied for an internship for the summer and I am happy to share that this summer, I am starting an internship at Cisco Systems as a Hardware Engineer, mostly oriented toward signal and power integrity. I am very excited to work at a company as big as Cisco, and to be on a team with experienced engineers. As my current work suggests, SDSU Georgia helped me to have sufficient knowledge to enroll in a master’s degree program and teach an upper division class.
To be honest, coming here to San Diego was not easy for me because of my financial situation, and a few other reasons which made me fear that I would not be able to fund my education or get a good job. What I learned after graduating SDSU is that I should never give up. Luckily, not only did I overcome this fear and continue studying and teaching for the second year, but I received funding from TBC Bank and my research supervisor, which fully covered my tuition fees for the first year.
Unfortunately, I cannot tell many stories about how it feels being in San Diego because, like the rest of the world, I am locked up at home due to coronavirus. However, I celebrated my first American Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year and other events with my friends, and I hope I will have more opportunity to travel once life gets back to normal.

Givi Kalandia

Alumni

Givi Kalandia

My name is Givi Kalandia and I am currently a master’s student in chemistry at Katholieke Universiteit Leuven in Leuven, Belgium.
In order to better understand what I really wanted to study, I have decided to join a master’s program which, in my opinion, gives students an opportunity to identify more specifically the subject that they want to explore. My primary field of interest is organic chemistry, with an emphasis on organometallic chemistry and because KU Leuven has research divisions with very high research output in this field, I have decided to apply for it.
In the fall semester of 2019, I took the courses of Advanced Organic Chemistry, Advanced NMR Spectroscopy, Chemistry and Characterization of Surfaces and Thin Films, Polymer Physics and Synthesis, and Organometallic Chemistry. As you can imagine, my first semester was very exciting. I was not only tested on my prior knowledge of the subject, but was also introduced to new depths and practical aspects of the field. Some of the topics that were included in the courses were 2D NMR post processing, introduction to the chemistry behind creating transistors, understanding the physics behind polymer materials such as Kevlar, and organometallic chemistry as a tool for designing synthetic pathways that are vastly superior to regular organic chemistry approaches. One of the best parts of KU Leuven’s master’s program is its one-semester external internship course. In my opinion, this course exposes students to the many opportunities that chemistry can offer and they can thereby see how the chemical industry environment differs from the academic research environment. When I first saw this in the curriculum, I was very excited, because I have always wanted to see what it is like to work at a big chemical company. I have started my internship this semester at Huntsman Corporation, which is a global manufacturer of differentiated and specialty chemicals. It is one of the biggest companies in the polymer chemistry market, and I was very motivated to understand what scientific challenges companies of this scale are trying to overcome. In February, I became an intern at Global Research Group and since then I have been working on a project that focuses on studying the kinetics of polymerization reaction using the Differential Scanning Calorimeter.
San Diego State University played an essential part in all of the above. Even the admission procedures convinced me that my experience and degree would meet international standards. Even though the classes in the beginning contained overwhelming amounts of material, San Diego State University Georgia equipped me with all the essential tools for adapting to the situation and overcoming the challenges.

As a graduate of SDSU Georgia’s first cohort, I can proudly say that my generation has overcome the era of constant doubt in our potential, even from the people closest to us. From this time, we have gained something that cannot be taken away from us: self-respect and determination. The very first cohort enrolled in this American program in STEM fields in Georgia raised many questions in society, especially when it came to girls. I, Kesi, a girl, listened only to myself, took a risk to study chemistry, and graduated successfully.

I was an active member of the community at SDSU Georgia. I was a member of the Grievance Committee; American Chemical Society (ACS); treasurer of the ACS student chapter in Georgia, and a founder and president of the Bio-Engineering Club. Simultaneously, I worked in managerial positions as coordinator of the Georgian Comic Book Project at the US Embassy (with a personal grant), at the Caucasus International University as the STEM weekend school coordinator, and at the NGO Youth for Democracy as a project manager in collaboration with the UN. On top of this, I successfully finished all my chemistry courses (organic, inorganic, analytical, and biochemistry with labs), graduated with a 3.4 GPA, and was three times on the Dean’s List.

And you know where the greatest witchcraft is hidden?

Imagine getting your degree. Finally, that paper is in your hand, and the worst question ever pops up. What should I now do with it?

After four years of hard classes, sleepless nights and hard work in pursuit of my degree, I looked at my diploma, then at my CV, and saw that the only thing related to chemistry in my life was the diploma. Suddenly, an error window popped up in my brain.

I am currently the Innovation Community Development Manager at Georgia’s Innovation and Technology Agency - the job which assembles all my experiences and goals and gives me the best opportunity to develop myself in STEM fields, but in terms of management.

After this text, many would ask, “Why did you lose four years, then?” No, I didn’t lose anything. Maybe I didn’t continue my studies in STEM and am planning to enroll in an MBA program later, but SDSU Georgia has taught me what it takes to be determined: respect your choice despite what others say, and appreciate the time that shows you who you truly are and what you truly want in life. No experience is a waste of time, and no time is wasted if it teaches something.

During four years at SDSU Georgia, I’ve met many international scientists, learned from their experience, widened my network, and most importantly, grew as a person who knows what she wants. I hope this helps any current or prospective student to understand that it doesn’t matter if you have no idea how that single paper called “the diploma” can be helpful to you. If you are freaking out because you have no idea what to do after graduating, or if there is a conflict between your interests and the diploma, know that you are strong enough to figure it out. You WILL figure it out, and you will come up with the mixture that is unique and best for you. As a real alchemist, and the witch of your own life, in the end it’s only up to you how you arrange the ingredients for the desired potion.

Giorgi Kviria

Alumni

Giorgi Kviria

Studying at SDSU Georgia gave me a huge experience. I have learnt the value of helping others to overcome obstacles to professional and academic development. Years of late nights spent studying are finally resulting in success.
As a Senior Technical Expert in the Automation Department of Georgian Water & Power LTD, I am working on Supervisory Control & Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems, automating systems and processes within the company. I manage water flow and pressure measurement and safe data transmissions throughout Tbilisi, Mtskheta, Rustavi and Gardabani.
I am also the SDSU Georgia Alumni Association president, helping alumni to remain a community and promote one another.
I would advise current students to sacrifice as much as they can, so that later they can proudly say, “This was worth all the sacrifices I have made.”

Last year I graduated from San Diego State University Georgia as a computer engineer. I had been thinking a lot about what I was planning to do after graduation. Finally, I decided to apply for a master’s program in software engineering at the University of Tartu. I was accepted and got a tuition-waiver scholarship. I wanted to study abroad to get an academic experience and to meet people from a different culture and broaden my mind.
Before I applied for a master's program, I attended a summer program there and that was the time when I decided that I wanted to continue studying there. Academic reputation, teaching methods, scholarships, and working opportunities after graduation – these reasons made me realize that it was the best choice for me. The international master's programs in software engineering enables me to obtain two degrees from two universities - the University of Tartu and Tallinn University of Technology. After the first semester of studies students choose between specialized skills in two major software application domains: enterprise systems and embedded real-time systems. I chose enterprise systems.
The first semester of studies was too intensive. We had to take subjects from two universities. I was living in Tartu, but every week we had to go to Tallinn to attend classes. We had to wake up at least at 6:00am to prepare and then take a bus from Tartu to Tallinn. We needed two and a half hours. We had four classes from 10:00am to 6:00pm. Then we had to return to Tartu. These days were very tiring, but it was worth it. The subjects that we are studying are very interesting. They give us technical skills as well as management skills. I have had to work with programming languages such as Fsharp, elixir, Java, python, and VueJs. Classes are divided into two parts: lectures and practical. From the classes I would say that I gained not only theoretical knowledge, but also practical skills and it will be very valuable for me to use this knowledge to work in industry later.
During the semester I had a chance to participate in several hackathons and programs such as BioInnovation Days or STARTERtartu program. During the program, my team was chosen to travel to the Medical University of Łódź in Poland to present our ideas to local experts at the “Forge of Talents” competition. Also, a reporter reached out to us and our interview was published in the January 2020 issue of Lufthansa's magazine.
During this semester, I am part of the Global Digital Innovation Programme (GDIP). Six students from the University of Tartu work collaboratively with students from Inno.Space - Design Factory Mannheim. Currently, our team is finishing up with our solutions for the projects offered by the company VidaWell, located in Germany. The final presentations were supposed to be held in Mannheim in June, but unfortunately because of the virus it will be held online. It was a really great experience for me to learn about product design and development during the process.
I have been thinking about gaining some work experience here in Estonia, but the internships I applied for this summer were canceled and I had to return to my country because of the virus. But, I also started working remotely and I hope that I will have a chance to get real working experience in Estonia soon.

I am Ana Lomashvili, a member of the first cohort to graduate from SDSU Georgia. Last year, my application achieved the highest score for admission to a graduate program at the Technical University of Munich. This led to my admission to the university, which is ranked 20th in electrical engineering worldwide, all without an interview. This is all thanks to San Diego State University Georgia, which helps all its students to develop into internationally-appealing candidates for academia as well as industry. Starting my studies among the world's finest students has opened up new challenges. The competition has increased exponentially while exams are a time-pressured machine that easily filters out those who are not ready to work on real engineering problems.
Currently, I’m looking for an internship, as my program includes a mandatory research internship at the university or a company. Fortunately, I have been well-prepared by SDSU Georgia, as it granted us an opportunity to do summer research at the main campus of San Diego State University. That helped us acquire theoretical knowledge as well as lab skills. As a piece of advice for future graduates, I would recommend working more on theoretical in-depth knowledge to be able to compete with international standards, and I would certainly encourage them to apply for the best graduate programs because we can do it!

Upon graduating from SDSU’s main campus with a bachelor’s in computer engineering, I returned to Georgia and decided to pursue my career in software engineering.
I was first employed by the Data Exchange Agency as a junior back-end developer. I worked on several interesting projects and implemented various services for the Public Service Hall of Georgia. After four months I decided to tackle something more challenging and got employed by Alta Software as a full-stack developer. The company focuses on creating software for banks not only in Georgia but in Europe as well. My first task was quite challenging: I had to implement my own online banking system. The task turned out to be not as simple as I thought. I realized that there were many new approaches that I wasn’t aware of. However, I managed to overcome the difficulty in two weeks. Currently, I am working on refactorizing bank back-end systems to modern approaches. This process is very interesting and challenging at the same time, as we must learn new approaches, cover the business logic, and work as a team to successfully accomplish user requirements.
Besides my job, I decided to create my own side-project with my friends, and in the next few months we are planning to launch a startup that will greatly benefit our pets’ lifestyles and significantly simplify our daily lives. I am using skills acquired from my job experience to create a successful application and web page, as well as assemble a great, hardworking team. However, the impact of San Diego State University is priceless in my career. There are thousands of reasons that I’m grateful for what I acquired from SDSU, but, I will try to outline some of the most important ones.
Firstly, at SDSU I covered various subjects that remarkably increased my general knowledge. I always wondered why there were many general education classes throughout my studies. However, today I realize that all of that helped me to become a more successful, educated, and motivated person. Also, all major classes helped me to learn the coding languages (or coding approaches) in a very detailed way, and simplified my daily life as a software engineer. Also, we had many homework assignments and projects in teams which has greatly impacted my career, as at work every day we work in teams and share our knowledge and information with each other.
I always had difficulty presenting in front of people, but SDSU helped me to master my oral communication skills and create presentations and speeches of great quality. In the end, I want to say that without SDSU’s internship fairs and resume-writing sessions I wouldn’t be able to succeed in my career. Even though I have faced several defeats during interviews in the United States, I always knew I could never give up, and every interview moved me to study harder and harder. Even after graduating from university when I don’t have any homework or upcoming deadlines, I’m always open to learning new material, mastering new skills, and collecting certificates that will further extend my knowledge and leadership skills.

In 2019, I got my bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at San Diego State University Georgia.

The main reason I chose electrical engineering is renewable energy. Georgia is a country rich in resources for hydro energy. For me, energy independence is the key to economic stability. With the increase in electricity consumption, importation of electricity is increasing as well, and Georgia’s national security could be in great danger. That is why I think that it should be the first interest of the Georgian people to have more successful energy projects in Georgia.

It’s already been one year since l started working at AGD (Austrian Georgian Development) as an electrical engineer. AGD has an ongoing project at Lakhami 1 & 2 Hydro Power Plants in the village of Lakhami, in the region of Svaneti. The estimated installed capacity of this plant is 18 MW(megawatts). This project incorporates two powerhouses with five Pelton turbine generators. My main responsibilities are to supervise the work of our contractor, Global Hydro, and also to participate in the work at the construction site. Global Hydro is an Austrian company with a huge portfolio of prosperous projects all over the world. We expect operations to start by the end of June 2020. After starting the operation, I will continue my work as an operational manager at Lakhami 1 & 2 Hydro Power Plants.

I could not have accomplished this without basic theoretical and practical knowledge, which l got through years of studying at SDSU Georgia. Aside from basic engineering classes, which helped me to work as an engineer, l learned how to work as a team member and develop communication skills.

Nowadays, l understand how all my classes at SDSU Georgia helped me to become a true professional, and l appreciate all that SDSU Georgia gave me to become who l am now.

Otari Rurua

Alumni

Otari Rurua

My name is Otari Rurua, I am 23 years old, and an electrical engineer. I graduated from San Diego State University Georgia in 2019.

My career started in 2015, soon after I enrolled at SDSU.

UG-Limess STEM Academy was the first company that expressed an interest in me, and hoped that I would be an outstanding teacher with high education and skills. I spent two years at the company. At the same time, I was chief editor of the student newspaper STEM Generation.

I spent the summer of 2016 as an intern at the Vartsikhe hydropower plant in Kutaisi. I was also an intern at ESCO Georgia in 2018.

In 2019 I started work as a product support specialist at VEON Georgia. This year I have become a teaching assistant at SDSU, and have begun work on a startup that will be ready for next year, and which I hope will be successful.

I am fond of teaching; whenever I have time, I always try to help someone. I have one student whom I tutor in programing. I was also an Intel volunteer at STEM Camp in 2018.

My name is Ani Shalamberidze, and I am a master’s student at San Diego State University in San Diego, California. This year I am applying for the JDP (Joint Doctoral Program) between San Diego State University and the University of California San Diego. In case of a positive outcome, next year I will be taking courses at UCSD, which is ranked among the top chemistry programs worldwide. My primary field of interest is organic chemistry, however, I wanted my research to be more diverse in terms of approach and applications. Luckily, I found a perfect match even during my undergraduate exchange semester. This was my first actual research experience that guided me and greatly influenced my decision to apply at SDSU and return to that research group.

From my very first week as a graduate student I joined Byron Purse’s Lab, which is a diverse team of graduate and undergraduate researchers using the tools of synthetic and physical organic chemistry to address challenges in the chemical biology of nucleic acids and supramolecular chemistry. My individual research project is focused on design and synthesis of fluorescent nucleoside analogues with enhanced properties and photophysical studies. Also, I am involved in an enzymology project, specifically designing molecular inversion probes. Other members of the Purse Lab are working on nucleoside analogues as prospective new medicines. They are using synthetic chemistry to re-design the natural substrates for bacterial and viral enzymes to selectively poison the metabolism of pathogens. All the diversity of the projects in the lab gives me a chance to experience a bit of many different techniques and approaches from different fields of chemistry that are bound together, which makes the working process more interesting and valuable for me. Unfortunately, because of the COVID-19 lockdown, we are not allowed back in the lab until summer, which is a big drawback for the ongoing research. On the other hand, since my lab is also working on nucleosides as antiviral agents, my lab mates are contributing to the battle against the coronavirus, which also gives me an opportunity to be involved in this project this summer.

Additionally, I am working part-time as a Teaching Assistant in the organic chemistry lab (Chem232L). Teaching an organic lab all by yourself is a huge responsibility because you have to make sure the students receive appropriate education from you, be cautious of everything that can go wrong, and care for students’ safety all at the same time. However, I have experienced being a TA in the same course during my undergraduate senior year (even though I was assisting a professor), which prepared me ideally for this job. Now I am confident, comfortable and proud to be teaching 60 students, even though it gives me plenty of work grading their lab reports, quizzes, and exams .

As for my own courses, since I have been here I have taken some very interesting classes, including physical organic chemistry, spectroscopic characterization of organic compounds and topics in environmental chemistry. These courses cover a wide variety of the topics that are very relevant to my research work and our everyday lives here. Thanks to the fundamental knowledge received at SDSU Georgia, I was able to keep up with the material easily and further deepen my knowledge.
One more thing that I must mention is that I’m grateful to SDSU Georgia for connecting me with amazing students, whom I can proudly call my friends, and who are now successfully pursuing their careers in many different countries, and, most importantly, those who are taking this journey in California with me and sharing all the wonderful experiences by my side.

Since graduation I have been working at an international company, Veon (Beeline), as a data scientist. My main task is to analyze big datasets, visualize, and create machine-learning models from them. My job is really interesting since it gives me the opportunity to use not only my technical skills, but also artistic skills while working on data.
After graduation, I applied to several universities in Europe. I have been studying at one of the best engineering university conglomerates: Institute Polytechnique de Paris, located in Paris. I am majoring in Artificial Intelligence and Data Science. In the first year, there has been intensive studying, and for the second year there is a compulsory internship where I will have the opportunity to work on research at a big company. My goal is to have an internship at one of the “Big Five” tech companies.
After graduation, I realized how important the skills and experience I gained from SDSU are, because they gave me not only a specific superior knowledge in my field, but also key skills to enable me to put his knowledge into practice in real life. It also taught me how to communicate with other people and have connections. In addition, since I had the opportunity to be an exchange student at SDSU main campus, I learned to live independently and improve my intercultural communication which helped me to continue studying abroad without any problems.
My goal was to use this bad COVID-19 situation as a challenge to create new opportunities. I used this time to acquire new skills by watching online courses, working remotely, and applying for graduate schools and scholarships. For me, COVID-19 has been a challenge that I have turned into opportunities to reach my goals.

I am Tamar Kerdikoshvili, SDSU Georgia Class of 2020 alumnus. I cannot believe that four amazing years of my life passed so fast, and that I am now sharing my experience to upcoming freshmen as a Master of Science student at the French Riviera. My advice to current students who are probably overwhelmed from the journey they are stepping into is to stop being anxious, as they made the best decision of their life when they chose SDSU.

Of course, SDSU didn’t teach me how to handle the French bureaucracy, but it gave me a quality education and the skills to survive the tough education system in France. Also, I have to emphasize that I have never been the type of student who stays at the top of all her classes, and the COVID outbreak early last spring killed every single drop of motivation inside me to apply for a master’s. I applied to a few European universities in early spring but during my online graduation ceremony, I felt very miserable because for the first time ever I realized that the world had just stopped. The magic happened during summer. I was getting admission letters, one after another, and that’s not everything: one early morning in July I got an email saying that I had become a “bourse” – a French government scholarship awardee. So, it seems for SDSU students, dreams also come true.

I moved to the French Riviera in October to study Environmental Hazards and Risks Management at Université Cote d’Azur. I have wonderful professors from Canada, France, Belgium and Italy who are research scientists at famous European institutions such as INRIA, INRAE and ADEME. They teach me how to build a bridge between science, engineering, technology and the environment. I have to mention that my background is biochemistry, but because of the American education system I had less trouble getting acquainted with programming languages, data science and remote sensing concepts compared to my classmates. Also, since my master’s is based on technologies and it’s a lot of hands-on practice, it has been all face-to-face since the very beginning. Even though sitting in class wearing a mask for hours is very uncomfortable, I perceive myself as very lucky because I have a chance to enjoy the golden sandy beach of the Riviera and the sun all winter. As for my future plans, I will do very interesting research at the Institute de Chimie de Nice with my wonderful chemistry professor starting in May. I feel a lot of responsibility, but also a lot of confidence because I am familiar with all the relevant lab techniques that will be applied during research.

My name is Mariam Narchemashvili and I am a graduate of San Diego State University (Georgia) with a degree with distinction in computer engineering. Currently, I am working as a software developer in the IT operations and development department at RSM Georgia Solutions, which is a certified, award-winning SAP partner. I got to know about this organization from one of SDSU Georgia’s job fairs. I started working as a junior developer in January 2020, and soon got promoted to software developer. My responsibilities include familiarizing myself with the business processes, requirements, and needs of client companies. These include the leading companies in the Georgian market. I develop SAP Business One Add-Ons and customize LS One, designing, implementing, and managing software programs. My first big project was creating SAP Business One Add-Ons for TBC Pay. While working on this project I learned a lot about SAP Business One as a leading software in ERP Solutions for business functions. Most importantly, it helped me to develop my skills in programming as well as deepening my knowledge gained from the university. Currently, I am responsible for several projects, and most of them have been successfully implemented in the Georgian market. Besides gaining great experience in software development, it is really important to me that the work environment is absolutely amazing. The RSM Georgia Solutions group is not big, which allows my coworkers and I to be close and friendly. I believe that such a working climate encourages us as a group to be more creative, productive, innovative, and mobilized for success.
Apart from gaining working experience, which I believe is one of the most important things that students can do, I am planning to continue my master’s studies abroad. Nowadays, I am applying to several programs at Italian and Swedish universities and also participating in scholarship programs. The knowledge gained in computer engineering from San Diego State University and almost two years of working experience in my major will help me to be a successful applicant for a master’s program in one of the world’s highest-ranked universities, which offer quality education and outstanding opportunities. It is also significant that my supervisor at work is absolutely supporting my goal to become a specialist in my chosen field.
I believe that I am lucky to be a SDSU Georgia graduate, as an international diploma is a rare opportunity in our country. The quality education that San Diego State University provided makes us competitive not only in Georgia but abroad as well. Additionally, it gives us the ability and courage to set ambitious goals and pursue them. I encourage all SDSU students to study hard and participate in all the activities that the university offers, because the experience will make them more competitive and distinctive in their field of study.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic our everyday life changed drastically. Studies and jobs became remote, and this has caused huge problems first and most importantly for our education, and additionally for our working environment. Besides having several mental and psychological breakdowns caused by the pandemic and all the restrictions imposed by the government 😊, I think that I deal with all the challenges quite well. Working remotely is a common practice in the life of a software developer, so I have easily adapted to this working environment, even though it is difficult to work without daily communication with my team members. In general, I see all the issues raised by COVID-19 as a challenge to become better in my profession.

Temuri Mikava

Alumni

Temuri Mikava

During my first year at SDSU, my friends and I founded an educational company. Since then, I have been working as a developer and a CTO. I am responsible for writing codes, consulting other employers, and mentoring interns. We have had several popular projects, including Murtsku, Lupi, Hubu, and TVSchool. Currently, all our projects are only in Georgian, but we will soon start translating them into several different languages and will try to introduce our projects to other countries too.

Since I am a co-founder of the company, I have decided to stay in Georgia and have applied for a master's degree at Ilia State University, in the program of Nano-engineering. Although I have a bachelor's degree in Computer Science, I have decided to gain multidisciplinary knowledge by applying to a different field. Right now, it is a bit hard, since everything in this program is related to either physics or chemistry and I have taken just two courses in physics. However, I am confident that I will soon overcome the obstacles since studying many materials in a short time is the skill I have acquired at SDSU Georgia.

Another great skill that I have acquired at SDSU has been teamwork. It is a crucial skill, especially in the COVID pandemic, since maintaining active and healthy relationships with team members has never been more important.

When I look back at my past, there are some things I would have changed, but my biggest advice for current students would be to enjoy the courses. To earn the highest grades, I have been sometimes over-studied before exams, and many times have been awake at night reviewing the materials. While this method works perfectly for that purpose, it certainly does not provide long-term knowledge. It would have been better if I had concentrated on long-term memory and not on grades.

The pandemic period has been very inspiring for me. I would say I have undergone a metamorphosis. My mentality and vision of the future has been changed for the better. I have always perceived challenges as opportunities and the pandemic period has been one such challenge. It has boosted the development of telecommunications even more and helped me to save considerable time each day.