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Electrical Engineering and Computer Science

Graduate Student Spotlight: Michael Jantz

Published on August 13th, 2012 by Michelle Ward

EECS doctoral student Michael Jantz (BSCS '08 and MSCS '10) has taught the Introduction to Operating Systems (EECS 678) lab for multiple semesters. In 2010, he received the Paul F. Huebner Memorial Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Jantz’ research focuses on software performance and trustworthiness, improving speed, code-size, security, and programmability. He works under the direction of EECS Assistant Professor Prasad Kulkarni in the Compilers, Architectures, and Runtime Systems (CARS) Group.  Michael Jantz

What are your top tips for new graduate students?

Choose your adviser carefully. The relationship you have with your adviser will be the most important professional relationship you have during graduate school. Make sure that your adviser is someone you trust and can work with.

Learn to manage your time well. It is easy to spend all of your time on coursework, but you need to learn to balance your time between coursework, teaching, and research. Having a personal life (away from graduate school) will help you maintain some level of sanity. It is crucial that you learn to recognize and appreciate thoughtful criticism.

As a student, it is easy to be intimidated by your peers and professors. I have found that if you work hard and have confidence in your own abilities that you will surprise yourself with how much you are able to achieve.

What is a typical day like?

Typical days vary from semester to semester, depending on my schedule. I have worked as a graduate research assistant and did not take any classes, so each day was pretty much solely devoted to research. Other semesters, I have worked as a graduate teaching assistant and taken courses. I then divide my week into days spent on teaching and coursework and days spent on research.

What have been some highlights and challenges?

I came to graduate school because I really like the idea of researching fundamental problems in computer science. Research is definitely the most challenging part of graduate school, but for me, also the most rewarding. Having my work accepted at top tier computer science conferences, including Languages, Compilers, and Tools for Embedded Systems and Compilers, Architectures, and Synthesis for Embedded Systems, has been the most rewarding experience.

Share with us your overall experience as an EECS student.

Being at KU for both my graduate and undergraduate education, and in EECS specifically, has been a wonderful experience. I have met some excellent professors who have pushed me and helped me develop my professional skills. I've also become really good friends with several of my classmates and labmates. I've been here over seven years now and will be very sad when the time comes to go.

Where do you see yourself in the next five years?

I would like to find employment at a place that gives me the freedom and resources to continue to develop my own ideas through research. As to whether I will be working as a professor at a university or at a private research firm, I am still not sure.