Student Arnold Mukisa Chasing Dreams, Doing Big Things

Arnold MukisaWhat started off as a childhood fascination for Central Methodist University’s Arnold Mukisa quickly turned into a passion that is paving the way toward a bright and successful future.  

Mukisa, an international student from Kampala, Uganda, had never been to the United States before attending CMU. During his college search, he knew two things were important to him – finding a place that provided him opportunities to strengthen his faith, and one where he could pursue his passion for computer systems. 

Currently a computer science and mathematics double-major heading into his sophomore year, Mukisa is approaching the end of a summer internship with Jenzabar, Inc. – “a leading provider of software, strategies, and services that help higher ed institutions meet academic and administrative goals,” for whom CMU is a client.

He applied for the opportunity in the spring during his work study position in CMU’s Technology Services Department. There were over 270 applicants from more than 50 Jenzabar clients, and Mukisa was one of the students selected. 

As the internship is being hosted on the CMU campus, Mukisa’s summer project was to develop a campus tour application for cell phones that would enhance the experience of prospective students during their visits to campus. 

“Research shows that a very determining factor of whether a student picks a college or not is if they feel a sense of belonging and connectedness during their campus visit,” Mukisa explained. “This app provides a specific and customized tour route for every student based on their interests.” 

Mukisa went on to say the application provides real-time information on where the student is located on campus during his/her tour, and sends notifications to subscribed faculty and staff that have the app installed, again, based on the interest of the particular student.

“If the research data is correct, this app will facilitate interaction between prospective students and faculty/staff during the campus tour, and will hopefully create a sense of belonging for the student,” he said.

Also during his internship, which began May 15 and ends August 15, Jenzabar paid for Mukisa to attend their Annual Conference in Washington DC, where he was recognized at the opening ceremony, according to Chad Gaines, vice president for technology and planning at CMU.

“It was a great opportunity to learn more about the company, and see other applications of the Jenzabar system outside of CMU,” Mukisa said. 

The college sophomore’s passion for computer systems began at a young age. He was motivated to teach himself, using books and other sources, and learned how to program at 13 years old – when he made his first real-world application. 

He designed a web system for a local supermarket to capture customer’s contact information, and send holiday and seasonal greetings automatically. This accomplishment eventually led him to join a “Protect the Farmers” initiative to develop an Unstructured Supplementary Service Data (USSD) program so farmers in remote places of Uganda could use mobile technology to get the best prices for their produce. 

“These experiences and applications at a young age inspired me, and showed me the capability and opportunity of technology and how it can impact and transform lives,” Mukisa said.

The passion to transform communities using solutions from applications of technology is what drives Mukisa, who said this is what he wants to do as a career. He thanked CMU for providing opportunities for him to chase his dream. 

“CMU is a great fit for me; it has played a key role in shaping my future,” he said. “I am thankful to Central for the preparation and inspiration it has given me to make a difference in the world.'

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