I am Alireza Poshtkohi. I am pursuing a Ph.D. in Neuroscience at the University of Ulster, and my career aspiration is to become a professor while leading a research laboratory in industry after completing my PhD, where I will strive to make usable, effective technology with a positive societal impact. I come from Iran, a country of four equal seasons and full of spectacular natural, historical and cultural wonders—as an example, Persian language spoken by inhabitants of at least three countries in middle east is one of the fewest extant, ancient languages invented by human race during civilisation
I have always diligently tried to bring my enthusiasm up at an intersection between computer science, and electrical engineering, applied mathematics, theoretical physics and medical sciences. Through my passion, the MSc degree, teaching, and working as a researcher at different universities and a variety of research laboratories, my experience has covered a wide range of topics in computer science, electrical engineering and applied mathematics. They have provided me with the opportunity to understand computer systems for improving their performance and applying them to a broad spectrum of challenging problems in science and engineering. I have published six ISI journal articles in top-tier journals, three international conference papers, and three more journal papers and a textbook in Computer Science with Taylor & Francis Publishing in finalisation.
When I began a BSc in Electrical and Electronics Engineering, I never thought one day computer science (CS) would be my first research topic. I remember during taking a course in C programming language I became intrigued by computer engineering. This spark of interest led me to learn and attend many courses in CS department until my first CS conference publication at the last year of my undergraduate degree. I love science and am extremely self-motivated. On this basis, I have instructed myself through different scientific materials by reading a multitude of textbooks and papers beyond my formal education at university, especially applied mathematics and theoretial physics, for solving challenging scientific and engineering problems by using computer science.
Developing new educational materials and techniques as well as teaching and working with students are my primary reasons for seeking an academic career. The essential components of an academic career are teaching and mentoring. I believe that teaching should be seen as a discipline in which the role of the professor adopts in response to the level, progress and feedback of the student(s) being taught. A teacher is first and foremost an educator. However, at times the teacher must act as a leader, mentor, a role model or even a peer for the benefit of the student.
As a lecturer in different departments of computer and electrical engineering, I have gained valuable experience in teaching and supervising undergraduate students. In addition to classroom instruction, I served as a mentor for students in their undergraduate projects, where I provided them with appropriate research topics. My teaching philosophy views education in its many forms as an integral part of both personal and social development. Some students are curious and eager to learn who are easy to teach, but unfortunately not all students in the classroom are in the same state of mind. To deal with this, I believe that engaging students in the learning process is the best solution in such a scenario. Students must be active participants in the learning process, rather than passive receivers and observers. Also providing students with a set of clear and realistic goals improve their thinking and their solving techniques. Challenging and achievable goals gives the motivation for the students to respond in a better manner. Difficult assignments are frustrating and intimidating, while extremely easy assignments are boring, allow students to become careless, and do not give the students any sense of accomplishment.
There are several reasons for which I chose UK as compared to other countries for my PhD studies. Firstly, UK has a very good reputation in higher education worldwide and produces highly cited research articles. The UK educational system promotes critical thinking in order to create excellent innovations in science, engineering and technology. It hosts many universities, most of which are highly ranked and internationally renowned. Secondly, length of a PhD in UK is usually three years in contrast to other countries whose courses often take five to seven years to complete. Moreover, most disciplines in UK at PhD level do not require taught courses and thus are more research oriented, what is extremely consistent with my research personality. Thirdly, as of childhood, I have become intrigued by British culture, English literature, and the social life and great landscapes of the UK when I learnt English language. Finally, student diversity in UK will help me better grow my talents by learning about different cultures and values. Beyond my scientific career, I enjoy from running, climbing, music, photography, studying linguistics and new languages, English literature, history and archaeology. By the way, I have scheduled to learn a third language (viz., Irish) next semester and become a multilingual.