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Office of Graduate Studies

Graduate Student Profile

Ashwathy Ashokan
photo by Tim Fitzgerald

A Summer in Seattle

11th Oct 2011

In 2007, Ash Ashokan was working as an Information Technology consultant. But, it was always her plan to go back to school to get her masters degree in order to prepare for the next stage in her career. Ash was looking for a high quality Computer Science program that would also be affordable. She checked out several programs and settled on her top choice: the University of Nebraska at Omaha's masters program in Computer Science.

"The combination of excellent professors, relevant courses for the job market, great facilities, the right school environment and the affordability made me know I wanted to be at UNO," Ash said. "A masters degree from UNO will help give me the additional edge in the market place in terms of ability to solve complex problems. My Computer Science masters program requires independent research, original thought, excellent writing and presenting skills -- all of which will help me excel in my career."

In fact, Ash's education at UNO has already served her well. In the summer of 2011, Ash was selected by Microsoft to come to Redmond, Washington, to work on Windows 8 as part of an elite team.

As an intern at Microsoft she worked within the Windows and Windows Live Business division specifically within the Windows USer Experience team.

Ash's team was part of the Windows User Experience team which was responsible for the look, feel and overall user experience of Windows 8. Ash's team also developed a "metro styled app," named "TreeHouseStampede," a word game app for the new Windows 8 interface.

"My fellow interns and I were some of the first developers of Windows 8," Ash said. "It was great to learn how a large technology firm, such as Microsoft, brings together the talent and resources to create the next breakthrough product or solve the next big problem. It was also great learning from peers, mentors, and to learn what it takes to thrive in a corporate setting."

Training and education Ash received as a part of her UNO graduate classes helped her not only get the internship at Microsoft but also helped her navigate through the program.

Ash's UNO graduate level professors are very particular that students learn the theory behind lessons as well as experience hands-on exercises taught in class by getting students to implement concepts into reality.

"Hands-on exercises offer UNO students a tremendous learning experience. It gave me an opportunity to work not only with the languages and technologies I was familiar with but also pushed me to learn new languages and new technologies that best catered to the requirements of the project," Ash said. "This helped me develop relevant skill sets required to work out in the 'real world,' like my internship at Microsoft."

Ash, who was born in Kerala, India, plans to join the computing industry after her masters degree, and later on pursue her PhD. Her long-term goal is to be a teaching professor.

For anyone considering getting their graduate degree in Computer science Ash offers this: "Computing is an exciting field that will open up a lot of possibilities in a variety of professions," Ash said. "It is a tough but rewarding program that will make you stand out."