Name: Romerl Elizes

Major at Baruch College (Degree Obtained): MBA Computer Information Systems

Company:   

 1. Research Foundation of the City University of New York (full-time)
 2. University of Maryland University College (part-time)

Title:  

 1. Senior/Developer Manager
2. Adjunct Assistant Professor of Computer Science

Graduation Year(s): 2005


1. Please briefly describe your current profession/activities in-detail including your responsibilities and/or tasks.

I am a Senior Developer in Java/JEE, Node.js, Javascript, and .Net supporting the Kuali Financial System and other systems for the Research Foundation CUNY. I am tasked to maintain, customize, and upgrade the applications based on client needs. I am also an Adjunct Assistant Professor in Computer Science focused on teaching a variety of undergraduate courses. I have taught 30 credits of courses since I began in 2013. I have found that teaching students the necessary programming skills to be successful in the workplace to be very rewarding and challenging.

2. Please briefly describe your career path to-date, including the reasons behind career changes you made since graduating from Baruch College.

During my tenure at Baruch College, I was a full-time employee of Information Builders supporting their WebFOCUS product. After graduation, I decided on a major industry change by working in the military and academic arenas instead of the corporate arena. The academic and the military venues surprisingly were behind the technology times compared to corporate venues and I felt that my contributions would greatly enhance the organizations I worked for. I also pursued my doctorate degree in Computing at Pace University on a part-time basis and completed my degree in record time by the end of 2008. My dissertation was “Investigating the Value of Sequences of Natural Computing Heuristics to Address Traveling Salesman Problems.”

While continuing to enhance my programming abilities supporting research administration and financial applications for the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and the Research Foundation of the City University of New York respectively, I successfully obtained officer commissions in the New York Guard (Captain) and the US Public Health Service (Commander) serving in IT and administrative-based missions with H1N1, Haiti Earthquake, and Hurricane Sandy. To be in a disaster response mission is an awesome opportunity as well as an awesome responsibility. It is no longer about you. It is about you being deployed as part of a team to help serve the common good in a catastrophic situation. The challenges are more than just about what system is beneficial for the situation: it’s about what application could be developed in a short period of time that could do the most good in minimizing human loss and mitigating disaster response.

3. How did your experiences at Baruch College (e.g., academic studies, extra-curricular activities, student groups) prepare you for your career?

I was working full-time and going to Baruch College part-time while raising a family.  While I did not have much time for extra-curricular activities, the preparation for group presentations and projects at Baruch College helped me tremendously for the rigors of doctoral studies and military command. Prior to Baruch, I could not speak comfortably in public. The MBA program forced me to learn how to speak in front of an audience and work with a team to obtain a common grade. These are necessary skill sets to have when you must work in a highly stressful team environment during a disaster response, prepare a presentation to senior military staff who will ask pointed questions about specific points in the presentation, speak in front of a group of people that report to you and expect you to lead them through a crisis, or present a paper at a conference of 100-plus member audience. Because of my Baruch experience, I became extremely confident in public speaking and presentation.

4. What job resources (e.g., internships, work-study jobs, summer and/or other work opportunities, etc.) have influenced your career choice(s)?

During my tenure at Baruch and beyond, I have always researched other work opportunities. I had it already set in my mind that I wanted to pursue a doctorate degree. I entered the MBA program just around 9/11 and military service was always in the forefront of my career choice. I sent blind emails to personnel in the US Public Health Service, US Army National Guard, and other branches to get a feel about the admission standards for commissioned service. I researched other possible opportunities in finance, but I felt that service to Country was a very powerful motivator in my career choice.

5. Today, what advice would you give to an undergraduate or graduate Baruch student interested in your field?

I have five important points of advice for undergraduate and graduate students interested in my career path. I believe this applies to all fields, however, and I speak only from my experience.

a. Continue to try to reach your academic and professional goals at a “sustainable pace.” I was really hungry for a doctorate degree and a military commission and I let nothing stop me from obtaining those goals. I must admit I was that hungry and was willing to do the exhaustive research to maximize my chances in obtaining those objectives. After I graduated with my MBA, I went straight into my doctorate program in the Fall of the same year. However, I was fortunate to have a spouse that was supporting of my career and professional objectives during that time of my life. Raising a family while obtaining these objectives can be a little difficult but it can be done.

b. Keep asking questions about your career objectives from more experienced professionals in the fields that you are interested in. Believe it or not, blind emails and their related responses are valuable sources of information. Hearing real stories from the trenches helps you focus your career objectives to something more desirable for your needs.

c. One thing I love about having an information technology career is that it is malleable. Every organization I have worked for always has IT problems it needs to solve. If you decide to pursue this career path, just remember the job that you are starting will most likely not be the job that you will stay in for the rest of your career. There is always room for you to learn a new technology. Once you have acquired a skill through self-study and actual work experience, you can certainly apply that new technology in other industries. You may decide to work in corporate for a few years and then move onto another industry such as academic or military AND you will not be penalized for making that transition in the long-term. You will still get phone calls from corporate head hunters or recruiters for an interview.

d. Keep your resume always updated as you acquire new skill-sets and experiences. Better yet, as you acquire skill-sets, post them on your LinkedIn account short history. I have gotten many blind requests to interview because of the newly acquired skill-sets and experiences.

e. Even if you have a good job, still go to job interviews at least 3 times per year. This practice helps you to compare your current experience with what the organization is looking for. You do not lose your job interviewing skills and you are able to acclimate your interview style with the myriad of questions posed by your interviewers. Moreover, if during this process, you got an amicable job offer (even if you don’t accept), this experience will only increase your confidence in your ability to compete in the marketplace.

6. What do you like to do in your free time?

I have a 1st Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo prior to my Baruch studies. I quit Taekwondo to pursue my academic and career objectives. I got back into Taekwondo a year ago only because my teenage son was interested in learning. I not only got back into it but have successfully placed in tournaments as a 45 year old competitor. I am an assistant instructor at my Taekwondo school and am currently training for my 2nd Degree Black Belt certification. I am also heavily into life-long physical fitness and incorporate running and weight training into my program.

My wife got me into tap dancing during my MBA journey and she and I perform at community shows, recitals, and nursing home shows when time allows.

My wife and I raise two kids, a teenager and a 1st grader. I try to help them navigate their academic and social pressures, while I enjoy my free time with them. They always motivate me to do better and I always hope that my earlier ambitions and achievements will help provide them with enough ammunition to pursue their dreams.



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