Jeffrey Yackley believes that serving one’s community makes the world a better place.
His contribution toward the betterment of the world comes by sharing his knowledge and passion for computer science. Yackley has worked with inner-city children through the DAPCEP program, teaching them about engineering opportunities. He’s also worked with middle and high school aged students throughout southeast Michigan to share his enthusiasm for computer science.
Yet his proudest moment of his undergraduate experience came from serving an older demographic. For the 2016 College of Engineering and Computer Science Senior Design Competition, Yackley and his teammates developed what came to be known as Honor Story. This project involved capturing the memories of retired persons so that their family histories and treasured stories could live on for future generations.
“It was both humbling and rewarding to work on a project with such a deep social mission and to be recognized for the grueling eight months of work, notably with half the normal number of team members for a project of similar size,” Yackley said. For their efforts, the team was awarded first place.
Yackley continued on as a graduate student and is now pursuing a Ph.D. in computer and information science. His dream career is to become a professor of computer science at a research university. This role will allow him to pursue two of the things he loves: teaching and research.
Yackley considers the relationships he’s made at UM-Dearborn to be the most defining part of his experience. In particular, Professor Bruce Maxim and Assistant Professor Marouane Kessentini are two mentors who have made a significant impact on his studies and career path. He credits Kessentini with teaching him how to be a passionate researcher who demands excellence in his work.
Without Maxim, he may never have discovered the program that now means so much to him. Originally planning to study biochemistry and medicine, a chance encounter with Maxim led him to change majors.
“I'll always be thankful to him for opening up such a magnificent world to me and guiding me through my early development as a software engineer,” Yackley said.
The feeling is mutual.