Ask Khalil Dajani, chair and a professor at the Cal State San Bernardino School of Computer Science and Engineering, what his and the school’s goals are, he doesn’t hesitate.
He aims to prepare CSUSB students for the 21st century workplace and advanced education, and enrich their academic and professional experiences, including working with the U.S. Air Force and the aerospace industry, to create internships, jobs and research opportunities.
So far, Dajani is making significant strides toward such goals with current outstanding faculty members.
“I am passionate about providing services to students and aspire creating transformational opportunities for CSUSB students that nurture and sustain the intellectual, economic and cultural richness in the Inland Empire and beyond,” Dajani said.
With computer science and engineering consistently cited as among the fastest growing STEM careers, CSE faculty members’ collaborative efforts to improving academic and professional outcomes for its majors come at an opportune time.
“I love to team up with and invest in our students, faculty and staff,” Dajani said. “Together we strive to define the future in our Inland Empire community and beyond. I enjoy working with our CSE faculty and students, and I admire their passion and perseverance.”
Dajani joined CSUSB with a strong background and clearly established track record of creating new academic and professional opportunities for students pursuing STEM-intensive fields, including working with the Air Force and the aerospace industry.
Previously, Dajani served as the executive director of Cal State Long Beach’s Antelope Valley Engineering Program with a multi-million dollar grant from the U.S. Air Force Research Laboratory, which provided community college students an effective way of completing their engineering degrees in the Antelope Valley. The program, in turn, provided local employers, such as the Air Force, NASA, Lockheed Martin, NASA JPL, and Northrop Grumman, with highly trained engineers and graduates.
He also established the California Aerospace Technologies Institute of Excellence leading the efforts in bridging the defense and aerospace industries through internship programs that offer stipend-paid internship opportunities for undergraduate and graduate-level university students pursuing STEM degrees.
Dajani brings more than a decade of experience with the aerospace and defense industries of Southern California, and is an honorary commander of the U.S. Air Force Base at Edwards 412 Test Wing. He is facilitating internship programs that will lead to long-term employment for CSUSB graduates.
Col. Dominic Clementz, commander of U.S. Air Force 412th Maintenance Group, commented on internship and career opportunities at Edwards Air Force Base (AFB).
“Edwards AFB is the home of the Air Force Test Center, Air Force Test Pilot School, and NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center,” he said. “It is the Air Force Materiel Command Center for leading and supporting research and development of flight, as well as testing and evaluating aerospace systems from concept to combat. The base also hosts several test activities led by America’s commercial aerospace industry.”
Clementz welcomes CSUSB students and graduates to explore internship and jobs at Edwards in support of this mutual collaboration.
Currently, Dajani serves as member of a team of co-principal investigators led by Dean Sastry Pantula of the CSUSB College of Natural Sciences for a five-year, nearly $5 million grant, Proactive Approaches for Training Hispanics in STEM (PATHS).
The grant aims to increase the number of Hispanic and low-income students who graduate with computer science and engineering degrees as well as other STEM degrees, decrease equity gaps, increase student retention, and prepare them for graduate and professional schools through proactive advising, individual development plans, expanded support systems, and access to valuable undergraduate research and learning assistant experiences.
“We absolutely need to continue engagement with our local academic communities and contribute to the future prosperity of the Inland Empire and beyond,” Dajani said. “The U.S. Air Force and the aerospace industries in Southern California have great potential to offer internships and employment to CSE and STEM graduates.”
Randa Milliron, CEO and co-founder of Interorbital Systems – a rocket and satellite manufacturer based at the Mojave Air and Space Port – is enthusiastic about collaboration with CSUSB and Dajani to facilitate internships.
“We welcome CSUSB students as interns for hands-on experience with both small satellite design and construction, as well as rocket systems testing,” she said. “There is no more exciting line of work than that of space launch. Once students get a taste of the power and thrills involved in the world of rocket launch and spacecraft design, they immediately commit to a life dedicated to applied STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) pursuits.”
Prior to joining CSUSB, Dajani served as chair and professor of the Mathematics and Computer Science Department at Southern Arkansas University’s College of Science and Engineering. While at Southern Arkansas University, he served as his college’s director of graduate programs, and led the development of a new bachelor’s degree in computer science with options in cybersecurity, computer technology, and computer game and animation design. In addition, he established a master’s degree in computer and information sciences.
Dajani said he is also working with CSE faculty members to develop and grow the CSE graduate programs to serve the aerospace industry in Southern California, including the defense industries and U.S. military and Air Force. Currently, CSE offers a master’s program in computer science and soon will introduce two other programs.
“I know that the new programs at the graduate and undergraduate levels will integrate entrepreneurship learning in the computer science programs and will continue to elevate our CSUSB reputation in the Inland Empire community and meet the needs of the region,” Dajani said.
For those interested in internships or long-term employment opportunities, please contact Khalil Dajani at Khalil.Dajani@csusb.edu, or call (909) 537-3378, or visit The School of Computer Science and Engineering website.