The Prepared Graduate

Alibek Kaliyev ’24

"Based on my experience as a Computer Science and Business (CSB) student, Lehigh is preparing its students to become experts in multiple spheres rather than one...all students of Lehigh can easily get involved in undergraduate research through the Mountaintop program, or develop themselves as entrepreneurs through Lehigh Baker Institute which runs many interesting programs throughout a year. One of them is the Global Entrepreneurial Fellowship where students have the opportunity to "learn about the entrepreneurial process and contribute real impact by working with startups and entrepreneurial leaders in a global setting."

Q: How has Lehigh prepared you to take on tomorrow’s challenges?

A: As a Computer Science and Business student, I have to take both technical courses in Computer Science, various Business courses, Natural/Social Sciences, Humanities, and Professional Electives. I feel like this kind of interdisciplinary approach, found not only in Computer Science and Business program, prepares Lehigh students to tackle complex problems where the boundaries between the two or more fields are becoming increasingly blurred. One example is my ongoing research in Multifunctional Materials and Machine Learning Group (M3 Learning) where we are accelerating and automating research in Materials Science using Neural Networks and Deep Learning.

Q: How does the CSB program help you to learn to solve problems across disciplines?

A: Based on my experience as a Computer Science and Business (CSB) student, Lehigh is preparing its students to become experts in multiple spheres rather than one. In the spring semester of our junior year, all CSB students start developing a Capstone Project where they apply skills learned from coursework in business and technology to high-impact projects for corporate sponsors. Moreover, every student can choose a CSB track (non-official minor) which consists of different courses that help to learn a particular subject in depth. It is more of a like recommendation from CSB faculty and alumni. Examples of CSB tracks are the Artificial Intelligence track, Business Economics Consulting, Accounting, FinTech, etc.

Q: You are doing research on campus, can you tell us about that and how you connected with the professor?

A: Last two summers, I worked as a Deep Learning Researcher in the Multifunctional Materials and Machine Learning Group (M3 Learning) at Lehigh University where my responsibilities included accelerating the extraction of mechanical properties of materials using deep neural networks. I leveraged data science tools like TensorFlow, PyTorch, Keras, Pandas, NumPy, Scikit-learn to accelerate the process of training and inference of the neural network by 3.5 times and reduce the model size by 3,000 times. As a result, I participated in several research conferences, like CNMS User Meeting at Oak Ridge National Laboratory, Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium at Rice University, Undergraduate Research Symposium at Lehigh University, and received The Most Novel Research Award at Drexel AI Conference.

I connected with my professor Joshua C. Agar before starting my freshman year through the Data for Impact program at Mountaintop. It occurs every summer and is designed for Lehigh students across all majors to participate in high-impact projects. Applications usually open up in the middle of the Spring semester.

Q: What is a classroom or extracurricular activity at Lehigh that helped you determine what you want to pursue in the future?

A: My undergraduate research experience has solidified my interest in pursuing a career as Machine Learning Researcher/Engineer. Moreover, thanks to CSE 109 class at Lehigh, I understood that I like low-level programming, so maybe my early career will be in the field between Artificial Intelligence and High-Speed Computing.

Q: What is your favorite thing about Lehigh?

A: I have multiple things that I like about Lehigh:

  • Lehigh's willingness to help every student to succeed
  • Interdisciplinary approach
  • Diverse, smart and talented people
  • Beautiful and cozy campus

Q: Where is your study spot of choice on campus?

A: My favorite study spot on campus is Lehigh University Bookstore. It has a nice study atmosphere, friendly staff, and good coffee. When it is too crowded, I choose to go to the Grind or the 6th floor of FML.


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Insightful Experience

Major: Journalism
Hometown: Philadelphia, PA