Jasur Shukurov appears to be your average college senior at Adelphi.
You can find him studying in Swirbul Library late into the evening or casually greeting people as he walks the grounds on campus. But underneath his demeanor there is a dedication to software engineering and to helping his fellow peers or people in need, an astonishing work ethic, a positive attitude, and an extraordinary list of accomplishments.
Shukurov came to Adelphi from Uzbekistan in 2018. He is majoring in computer science with a concentration in software engineering and is a member of the Honors College. He’s worked in the admissions office and the Office of International Services, where he helped organize East Meets West, a cultural event attended by more than 200 Adelphi students. He now works for the Office of Information Technology as a teaching assistant and as a research assistant. He received a highly competitive Google Generation Scholarship and several internships. His latest, a software engineering internship at Amazon in California this past summer, so impressed the company that he has a full-time position waiting for him after he graduates this spring.
How His Journey Began and Progressed
“Choosing computer science was an easy choice,” Shukurov said. “I was into technology since I was like 14; I started coding around that age too. It’s something that I am actually very passionate about—from an early age I just knew I was going to have this field in my life.
“It is very important to do something you’re passionate about, something you love,” he added. “I truly believe that when you’re doing anything that you enjoy doing and that you love, you’ll find success in it. For me, it’s computer science. I enjoy when the course is difficult because that means I am learning something. I never dreaded going to class, I enjoyed the challenge because I knew it was going to help me.”
At an internship for a large healthcare company, Shukurov and his fellow interns, many from Ivy League schools, competed in programming contests. He did so well that he obtained the role of leader of his software engineering team.
His professors say Shukurov has many positive qualities that contribute to his success.
Xiaoxing Liu, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, has been Shukurov’s adviser for the past four years. “Besides his exceptional academic record, I was impressed by how Jasur had managed to take part in many internships/tech scholar programs,” Dr. Liu said. “His enthusiasm for computer science, great communication skills and very effective time management make him stand out. Jasur is very self-motivated. When he sees something, he pushes to get the issues solved.”
David Chays, PhD, associate professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science, has worked very closely with Shukurov throughout his college career. He stated, “Jasur is very smart and talented, but aptitude alone does not explain his outstanding performances. He valued all course topics enough to work as many hours as needed to master those topics, and he always had a positive attitude, even when there were challenges. He demonstrated positivity in every class as a student, every lab he attended as a teaching assistant and every meeting as a research assistant.”
When Passion and Activism Met
Shukurov said, “Coming from Uzbekistan, which is a developing country, even though I am from a well-off family, I’ve seen some other families and people who live in poverty. They do not have access to a good quality education. Seeing all of that I noticed that with technology like coding through software engineering, you can develop a lot, like a better education system, without many resources, just a laptop. So long as you have access to the internet you could get any education you want. That was something really fascinating to me about software engineering.”
Dr. Chays said that as his teaching assistant for first-year programming, Shukurov motivated students to get through the many hours of developing computer programs to solve problems and understand challenging concepts.
For his Honors College thesis topic, Shukurov chose to develop apps to help people who are blind. According to Dr. Chays, he interviewed people with blindness to identify their needs and is now building apps to meet those needs, such as identifying currency and objects, being able to “read” posters and text visuals, and navigate safely.
Dr. Chays said that in his computer networks and software testing courses, Shukurov “helped his teams specify, design, implement and test a networked carpool app that connects drivers and passengers.”
He said that since March 2020, Shukurov has also been working on an interdisciplinary research project with professors Barbara Ertle, EdD, and Saleh Aliyari, PhD, to develop apps for early math learning. “[Shukurov] implemented an app designed to promote the mathematical skill of subitizing in young children,” said Dr. Chays adding, “Jasur’s work is critical to the success of our project. Without any extrinsic reward of course credits nor funding thus far, Jasur enthusiastically volunteered his time and diligent, exceptional work on this research project. This included participating in and following up on our weekly research meetings even during spring break and summer of 2020, when the campus closed due to the pandemic, and our collaboration continued online. Jasur was happy to contribute, throughout the lifetime of this ongoing, long-term project.”
Dr. Chays said that Shukurov has “proven to be a great asset to the University, his fellow students and the research project on which we collaborate. His accomplishments during his time at Adelphi are truly exceptional. I look forward to all the wonderful things that he will accomplish in the future.”
Dr. Chays said that he believes current and future students at Adelphi can achieve similar levels of success by following Shukurov’s example of maintaining a positive attitude through challenges and caring about their coursework and about other people.