Since graduating from St. Cloud State University, alumnus Chaithanya Sama ’03 has started a research fund with the SCSU Foundation to support the computer science department in delving more into the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning.
No one ever knows how much the next turn will impact your life. That is certainly true for Chaithanya Sama ’03, Computer Science. Sama arrived from India to pursue a master’s degree as a shy kid with limited interpersonal and growing English language skills. He earned a teaching assistant position with professor Ramnath Sarnath in the Computer Science Department who encouraged him to develop lab curriculum and teach that curriculum in front of the class.
Sama took the opportunity provided and graduated in three semesters. Along the way he met his future wife, grew his confidence, public speaking, interpersonal and career building skills and landed his first job. Fast forward 17 years and Sama has started multiple companies and has employees in both the United States and India.
“My life took a turn when I came to St. Cloud State,” Sama said. “The opportunities are endless in a new country, and I took advantage of those that were provided to me.”
Sama has stayed in contact with Dr. Sarnath over the years and has supported the department in different ways. This past year those conversations included the department’s interest in delving more into the areas of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Sama decided to start a research fund within the Foundation to support the department’s academic pursuits in those areas. He is also in talks to contract with a professor and students to work on specific projects related to those areas.
“These areas are of great importance to my business, but they are the future of the computer science industry,” Sama said.
Sama has also lended his knowledge to the University by serving as a founding member on President Robbyn Wacker’s International Advisory Council.
“Serving on the Council is a great way to give back,” Sama said. “I have never had to look back in my career, and I owe a lot of that to St. Cloud State.”