Meet Pouya Mahdi Gholami, Computer Science

April 3, 2024

Pouya Mahdi Gholami

Pouya Mahdi Gholami, a fourth-year PhD student in Computer Science, studies adaptive operation and intelligence on energy-limited edge devices. Born and raised in Iran, Pouya majored in computer science and German at Grinnell College in Iowa before coming to Chicago. We interviewed Pouya about his experiences at UChicago.

Why did you choose the University of Chicago?

I really enjoyed the department and its atmosphere during my prospective student visit day. Students and faculty were genuinely interested in the work they were doing and were open to collaboration. I also had similar interests with my potential advisor and agreed with his views on academic life. I spent most of my college life in a small college town, so I was excited to spend some time in a big city.

Please describe something you are proud of accomplishing at UChicago.

When I started my research at UChicago, I knew what I wanted to do but I actually had very limited experience with the actual subject matter (artificial intelligence or energy-limited edge devices). Over the past few years, I have managed to learn a tremendous amount in my research area and feel like an expert in the field. On a more social note, my first PhD year occurred during COVID, and I really missed being able to meet and chat with my peers in person. So, over the past 3 years, I am proud that I have been part of and helped uphold a CS PhD community.

What has been your most memorable class and why?

Engineering Interactive Electronics onto Printed Circuit Boards. The class was a lot of hands-on work along with intense discussion with the professor and TAs. I learned a lot and had lots of fun.

What is your favorite restaurant or food truck in Hyde Park? What is your favorite dish?

I really like Cafe 53. Pretty much anything from there with Dutch Crunch is amazing. Wish I was that good.

What’s something you love to do outside of the classroom and lab?

Tabletop games, climbing, or just taking a walk along the lake shore.

What’s the coolest thing you’ve done in the city so far?

I enjoy a lot of shows/theater pieces and Chicago has plenty of those available. I think my favorite was Fiddler on the Roof at Lyric Opera.

What support have you received at UChicago that was particularly valuable to you?

My labmates and advisor have been invaluable in not just getting the actual research done but also understanding academic life.

How has your background or experience prepared you to contribute to an environment where diversity and inclusion are valued?

I am of Persian descent (the majority ethnicity in Iran), but I grew up in an Azeri region (an ethnicity local to the northwest of Iran) and moved to the US for education once I was 18. Hence, I have been exposed to cultures and languages different from my own and also felt seclusion due to my differences. Given these experiences, I learned from an early age to welcome others and their opinions, hoping to create a more productive and inclusive environment.

What advice or insights do you have for new or prospective Maroons?

There are plenty of things to do and accomplish here (both academic and life-wise). Whether you accomplish them depends on your ability to manage your time and motivation wisely.

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