Man sitting in front of computer.

Leaving Home for a Brighter Future

Eisty sitting in front of computer.
Nasir Eisty, an avid traveler, earned a doctorate in computer science in May.

By Melissa Parker

Nasir Eisty has come a long way from the small Bangladeshi town where he grew up. But the constant love and care from his parents and teachers made it possible to get where he is today.

Since the opportunities in his small, underdeveloped hometown were few, his parents sent him to the capital city, Dhaka, to finish school, in hopes of providing him with a better life.

“I had to leave my home at an early age for a higher-quality education and more opportunities,” said the spring 2020 UA graduate. “I lived alone in a student hostel during the 11th and 12th grades. It was very difficult for me to survive without having my parents at such a young age.”

As challenging as it was, it all paid off, as Eisty went on to earn three college degrees, including his most recent from UA, a doctorate in computer science, the highest degree anyone in his family has earned.

“Because of the current virus situation, I missed celebrating my degree with my family,” said Eisty, who hasn’t seen his parents in over two years. “I’m the first doctorate degree holder in my entire family. I’ll be very happy when I get the chance to celebrate with them, as I can imagine how happy and proud they will be seeing me after getting such a degree.”

Eisty came to UA four years ago with his wife, also a computer science doctoral student, because he was attracted to the exceptional computer science program, the small-town living that Tuscaloosa provides, UA football and the weather, which he says is similar to his home country.

While at UA, Eisty was involved with organizations such as the Graduate Student Association and the Bangladeshi Student Association, as well as with helping organize Alabama robotics contests and teaching at UA’s engineering summer camp.

Last semester, as he was wrapping up his college career, Eisty received one of the top honors for those in his field. He was selected as a 2020 Better Scientific Software Fellow, a program that provides funding for leaders and advocates of high-quality software.

“I was very excited to receive this award,” said Eisty, who received $25,000 from the program to develop a tutorial on automated testing for scientific software. “It is quite an achievement, in fact, one of the best achievements. It’s not about the funding but the recognition. It’s very difficult to be chosen, especially as a doctoral student.”

Eisty will be working on the tutorial, which he plans to present to national labs and conferences, over the next academic year.

Since he has a passion for research and teaching, Eisty accepted an academic position with the computer science and software engineering program at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California, as a tenure-track assistant professor. He will begin this fall.

And when the time is right and the pandemic is over, he will celebrate with his parents, as well as introduce them to his newest accomplishment, his newborn daughter, Eiliyah.