Irma Ravkic, Assistant Professor of Computer Science
PhD, Computer Science, KU Leuven, Belgium
MSc, Artificial Intelligence, KU Leuven, Belgium
BSc, Electrical Engineering, Tuzla, Bosnia and Herzegovina
Professor Irma Ravkic did her bachelor studies in the field of Electrical Engineering where she discovered her passion for software engineering and complex problem solving. After her graduation, she got a European Union funded scholarship to obtain the Master of Artificial Intelligence in Belgim (University of Leuven) in 2011. Afterwards she embarks on a research endeavor in the field of artificial intelligence / machine learning and receives her PhD in 2016.
A Personal Note:
My passion for computer science comes from a very young age when I tinkered with computers my father would bring for repair. I learned how to create small programs, animations, and music before I became serious about programming. Even though I was lucky to have my father as a role model in my life, it wasn't as simple, because life gets in the way. I would often have to learn technical things by myself since my father was very busy with his work, and he died before I started my high school education. With him dying, both as my father and my active role model, my idea of pursuing a technical career shattered. I was lucky to have an informatics teacher in my elementary school who inspired me to go for coding competitions (even though I hated competing). The encouragement from my teachers and my mother reignited my confidence in pursuing engineering and computer science. Therefore, I believe that teachers and professors can in addition to parents influence youngsters to embark on new, challenging but rewarding adventures. Similarly, I hope that my students would feel I encouraged them and helped them with their initial computer science steps.
And now putting my teacher hat on
Computer science education is fun, but also requires a lot of discipline and work. It was not always smooth for me either, and I am still learning new skills. You need to familiarize yourselves with the technology: you need to know how it works before making it do what you want. In my courses I try to teach a wide scope of technical skills that students can take to the outside world in any profession they choose. Knowing your computer is the first step: it's your tool and your companion. "Thinking like a computer" helps you write and understand computer programs. It's also super convenient: I can do my work anywhere in the world, as long as I have the Internet connection! Why do I like computers? Because unlike with many things in the world around me, I feel I am in total control there: computers just do what I tell them, my mistakes are their mistakes, and their successful computations are my successes.
That moment when my students stop in awe when they realize their computer did something they programmed it to do, in the language both them and computers understand, is pure magic for me. It reminds me of my first computer science steps and the ever lasting excitement it followed.
Publications: Google scholar