Mostafa Mohammed says the joy he receives from teaching is beyond any description
“The joy I get from teaching is beyond any description. Teaching means to guide students and help them to be better in their life," said Mostafa Mohammed, who received Virginia Tech's 2021 Graduate Teaching Assistant (GTA) Instructor of Record Excellence Award.
"Teaching is to earn my students respect, to make them happy, and successful,” said Mohammed.
Before coming to the United States, Mohammed taught various basic computer science courses for 12 years at Assiut University in Egypt. He has served as an instructor of record for the Department of Computer Science since 2016, and the instructor for CS 4114: Formal Languages and Automata for six semesters. He also serves as a GTA for several other courses.
Mohammed said he was drawn to Virginia Tech’s computer science program because of his love for education. “Virginia Tech has an active computer science education research program. I believed that this is the place that I belonged."
Mohammed credits Virginia Tech for allowing him to also do the research that he loves and enjoys. Outside the department, he said he feels like he has an extended Hokie family. "Every person here is friendly, respectful, and welcoming. I am so honored to be a Hokie," said Mohammed.
“Virginia Tech has an active computer science education research program. I believed that this is the place that I belonged."
Mohammed spends the majority of his time teaching, researching, and preparing for classes. He particularly enjoys working with undergraduate students because they are always eager to learn and seek challenges.
At Virginia Tech he has worked with at least 30 undergraduate students on capstone projects, independent study, or as volunteers. “Each semester I prepare some challenging tasks to give to these students," said Mohammed. "Most of them do their best to accomplish their tasks. I usually learn from them and how they found an out of the box solution to their tasks.”
Mohammed prepares extensively before delivering lectures, trying to anticipate questions and thought processes. He reflected that computer science is a continually evolving department. “Every hour there exists a new tool-- technology. Undergraduate students are usually aware of these new things and they use it to do new amazing things. That is why I have published two posters with my undergraduate students.”
Some key individuals in the Department of Computer Science, including Cliff Schaffer, associate department head for graduate studies, and Cal Ribbens, department head, have been valuable mentors and advisors to Mohammed. After his dissertation, he said hopes to become a collegiate professor, teaching many courses, mentoring undergraduate students, and engaged in computer science education.