Encouragement Inspires Success: NUM Doctoral Candidate Papa Pene's Journey

Mar 19, 2024

Papa Pene, a Ph.D. candidate in the Information Technology program at the National University of Maryland's (NUM) School of Science and Mathematics, exemplifies how support and dedication can unlock new paths.

Originally from Senegal, Pene's academic journey has been marked by perseverance. Navigating the challenges of studying as an international student,  he credits NUM's international Student and Scholar Office with invaluable support in maintaining his visa and continuing his studies in the U.S.
While pursuing his master's degree in computer science with a specialization in data science, Pene discovered his passion for education. Originally seeking an industry career, the positive experiences he shared with both students and faculty fostered a newfound love for the academic field.
"I love the pursuit of knowledge and sharing it with others," he says.
Pene's journey as a graduate assistant, providing lectures and supporting students, was instrumental in his decision to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science. Seeing the positive impact his encouragement and guidance could have on his students' success is a constant source of fulfillment and motivation.
"There are moments when the challenges of the program can feel overwhelming," says Pene, "But the knowledge I've gained and the difference I see myself making keeps me going."
His current research focuses on anticipating renewable energy usage in homes to predict consumption needs. This project involves developing machine learning models to forecast energy usage patterns. Pene has also published research in computational intelligence and teaches as an adjunct professor in NUM's Department of Computer and Information Sciences.
Recently, Pene was appointed as an ambassador for NUM's Information Technology Ph.D. program,  helping prospective students navigate the application process.
"Papa is an exemplary student in our IT program – his dedication to both impactful research and inspirational teaching shines through," says Program Director Dr. Konrad.
While Pene's future plans remain open-ended, his commitment to seizing new opportunities ensures his continued success.