Author: Andriy Hrynykha, Communications Manager, Faculty of Applied Sciences, Ukrainian Catholic University
The Ukrainian Catholic University is blazing the trail in the Information Technology (IT) field. The UCU Applied Sciences Faculty’s number one goal is to prepare world-class experts in the IT field for the Ukrainian market. Since 2015, the UCU Applied Sciences Faculty has partnered with ELEKS Software (ELEKS) to develop specialized curricula and educational programs for UCU students. Two individuals from ELEKS actively spearheaded these efforts with UCU. Serhiy Shelpuk, head of the Data Science Office (DSO) and Andriy Kosar, head of the Business Analysis Office (BAO), two key departments at ELEKS, helped to form the Applied Science Faculty’s educational programs and launch the first Research Club in Artificial Intelligence (AI) at UCU.
Oleh Smolkin, a graduate of UCU’s Computer Science Program, was one of the first students to intern at ELEKS. The internship program has since grown significantly and many talented UCU students have the opportunity to intern or be involved with ELEKS. Today, Oleh teaches the course in Artificial Intelligence and is involved in several research studies at the UCU Machine Learning Laboratory.
“We are particularly glad that the absolute majority of our graduates become workers at leading IT companies in Ukraine and the world. We are proud that we are able to offer the Ukrainian IT industry unique graduates, not simply good workers, but researchers who have the experience of high-quality research and are ready to take on difficult technological tasks. We are pleased that our students are valued most for their scholarly potential and also for their non-standard approaches to solving problems and the tasks that exist in the IT industry.”
Yaroslav Prytula, Dean of the UCU Applied Sciences Faculty
The UCU Machine Learning Laboratory (MLLab) launched in 2018, thanks in large part to UCU’s strategic partnership with ELEKS. Currently, 14 researchers are pursuing research in the fields of deep learning, reinforcement learning, computer vision, among other areas of interest. Yaroslava Lochman, a graduate of UCU’s Data Science Master’s Program, was one of the first researchers in the laboratory. Lochman recently interned at the Facebook Reality Lab in Pittsburgh, PA, where, under the direction of J. Pritts, the lab deepened its development of camera auto-calibration. Orest Kupyn, another UCU alumnus, interned at ELEKS during his years as a student at UCU. Orest published a well-received and widely cited research article in computer vision which was presented at the prestigious Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition (CVPR) conference held in Seattle, Washington. The ELEKS Internship Program offers students practical, real-life experience in the data science field. During the pandemic, sixteen students interned at ELEKS and four were offered full-time positions with the company.
“For me, as a person whose full attention is focused on the training and development of the company’s specialists, strategic cooperation with UCU is largely about the professional development of our specialists who act as lecturers, mentors or diploma project managers. By teaching others, investing my time in passing on such valuable practical experience to students, my colleagues develop and grow, expand their expertise and gain invaluable experience. And in this context, the long-term cooperation between ELEKS and UCU is so complimentary and useful for both parties that we would like to continue to create and implement interesting innovative projects, share experiences and build an IT community based on common values, visions and opportunities.”
Oleksandra Mokiy, Head of Training and Development Office, ELEKS
The partnership between UCU and ELEKS has evolved in other ways, leading to monthly “Coffee and Data Science” meetings between UCU students, faculty and company staff from ELEKS. This exchange of ideas has led to many interesting applications at the University. ELEKS has also been a generous philanthropic supporter of UCU, providing scholarships to 16 UCU students.
This past year the UCU Faculty of Applied Sciences established a 10-month certificate program in Data Engineering, the first such certificate program in Ukraine, thanks in part to the ELEKS specialists who helped to shape the program.
Oleksiy Skrypnyk, co-founder of ELEKS, has big dreams for the UCU Applied Sciences Faculty. “We all are striving so that the Applied Sciences Faculty will develop in quantity and in quality. Development allows the expansion of academic schools, which means transformation into a research university. I would like the UCU Applied Sciences Faculty not to be afraid to raise an already high bar. Because today’s impressive achievements can and should be multiplied in the future.”