TA Spotlight: Jose Herrera

Each week we spotlight an OMSCS TA, so you can get to know who's behind the screen. Here are four questions for Jose Herrera, who TAs CS 7637: Knowledge-Based Artificial Intelligence.

Jose Herrera and family

What do you do professionally?
Professionally, I have been serving in the U.S. Air Force for the last 20 years. I’m currently working on my last deployment as a superintendent for an air terminal in Iraq. I’ll be retiring from the military at the end of the year, and I'll be changing careers. 

Why do you TA for OMSCS?
I started doing TA work for OMSCS because I saw it as a great opportunity to contribute to the success of the program and its mission of providing high-quality education from a top university to a large number of people from around the world at an affordable price. Being a TA to me is a very important job. It allows me to contribute ideas to improve the courses, help students have a positive learning experience, and uphold the quality and rigor of the program. Moreover, the sense of community I get from working closely with great professors and other student TAs and alum TAs is very rewarding. Plus I can honestly say I’m also learning a lot from other students when I read their assignments and projects. There are a lot of creative and smart people in OMSCS!

What's your advice for future students in OMSCS?
Graduating from the program will not be easy. Be ready to invest a lot of time, work, and effort. On your way to graduation, you will encounter many sleepless nights, and your stress level will probably go up. But enjoy the journey because you will learn a lot, you will meet great people and be taught by inspiring professors, and before you know it you will be graduating.

What's your favorite OMSCS course you've taken?
My favorite course thus far is Knowledge Based Artificial Intelligence (KBAI). This was my first course in OMSCS, and I was terrified by the projects. I thought the projects were impossible to do. I thought about giving up. But as the semester went on, I gained valuable insights on KBAI, and terror turned to enjoyment. After many iterations and lots of experimentation and inspiration, I mastered the projects and gained invaluable experience and confidence to continue my journey with OMSCS.