From Mechanical Engineering To Cyber Security

My name is Srikanth Reddy Thummeti, and I was born in August 1991 in India. I come from a family that values education. Both of my sisters obtained a master’s degree in chemistry from Kakatiya University in India. My sisters and the rest of my family have been a constant source of inspiration for me. In my earlier education, I consistently performed well in the subjects focusing on science and mathematics, and this strength largely influenced my decision to pursue a career in Engineering. Like my sisters, I attended and earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Kakatiya University. During my undergraduate studies, I gained knowledge in courses like Engineering Drawing, Programming Concepts, and Information Technology.

At the bachelor’s level, I really had a great deal of exposure to research work and to seminars. I completed a research project entitled Performance Assessment of Cogeneration Plants. During this project, I served as team leader and worked on the analysis of the whole plant apparatus and working conditions of the Steam Generator, Condenser, and Steam Turbine. As a team, we improved the efficiency and capacity of the plant by implementing devices like an air preheater and economizer. Another project that I was a part of was a Robot for Space and Military Exploration project. The robot can be used as a spy in the military application, and a simplified traveler was also designed as a two-wheel bicycle that had three power sources (i.e., pedaling, dynamo, and solar panel to provide uninterrupted travel due to lack of power).

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After my undergraduate studies, I worked as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Apex Engineering College, India. I taught courses like Thermodynamics, Finite Element Analysis, Mechanics of Solids, Operation Management, Power Plant Engineering, and Machine Drawing. I learned to employ differentiated teaching methods and to incorporate audio and visual activities to address all learning styles. I advised and supervised students in their research work and complex assignments. Lastly, I prepared new study materials and development programs for undergraduate students.

After my undergraduate studies, I wanted to pursue a higher level of studies and was drawn to the United States because of the idea of being able to complete a program in a timely fashion under the leadership of knowledgeable professors. I enrolled in a program at the University of New Haven in Connecticut, where I earned a master’s degree in Mechanical Engineering. During this program, I enhanced my knowledge of topics such as computer-aided engineering, numerical methods, finite element methods in engineering, and database management. I again worked on impressive research topics like the Design and Analysis of Hydraulic Push Brackets as my personal research project.

The objective of this project was to design and analyze a hydraulic push bracket for installation in an aircraft. I worked as a math mentor in Math Zone, a University of New Haven program for students who needed math assistance. I presented myself as a leader by doing office hours to help students understand and solve homework problems. I prepared and graded homework solutions and kept records of the scores using Excel. After finishing my master’s program, it was time to look for employment. My first job was as a Programmer Analyst at Ventois Inc in Boston, MA.

During this job, my primary responsibilities were to gather and analyze business requirements based on logical and physical data models. We utilized gap Analysis to compare actual performance to expected performance, and business requirements are being met. We checked for all the modeling standards, including naming standards, entity relationships on models, and comments and history in the model. I participated in Team Meetings, knowledge transfer sessions, and the change management process.

All of this has brought me to the point where I currently find myself. I still haven’t landed the job of my dreams. I keep searching. I still feel there is much to learn that could benefit me not only personally but also professionally. I investigated distance learning programs, online programs, and kin personal programs to further my training. I want to be able to collaborate with others and learn from them. I feel that the program at the University of The Cumberlands may be what I am looking for.

I would like to enhance my knowledge in Information Technology and Cyber Security, and a Ph.D. would help me achieve the depth of knowledge necessary to become a strong contributor while also giving me enough confidence to analyze and solve problems. I see myself growing and advancing in my career over the next few years. I truly envision myself with a job I love in an environment that is innovative and collaborative. I am hoping to advance myself through this program. In my spare time, I enjoy music and cultural activities with friends. I want to travel more when time and finances permit.

International Development: Changes And Challenges For Beneficiary Countries

International development is a field that has undergone a metamorphosis since its adoption. This paper will examine the changes in development and the four pressing challenges for beneficiary countries moving forward. Initially, it’s important to examine our historical trajectory and where we’re headed. There has been a transition from the differing perspectives of modernization, dependency, and world systems, each with its unique policy implications. For instance, the modernization theory emerged in the aftermath of World War II, with the ascendance of the United States as a superpower.

This perspective primarily assumes that Third World Countries are deemed backward and in desperate need of modernization. It revolves around the traditional modernization perspective that offers an internal explanation for Third World problems (like traditional culture, lack of investment), perceives the relationship between third world countries and western countries as advantageous, maintains a hopeful outlook that third world countries will modernize, and advocates for increased linkages to address the “backwardness” of Third World Countries (Alvin, 1990, p. 108).

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The dependency school appeared in response to severe criticisms. This school interprets development from a third-world perspective and argues that development should encompass more than economic output; it should also improve living standards. It considers the effects of colonialism and foreign domination, power dynamics between wealthy and poor countries, the establishment of the export sector, and debt repayment conditions that perpetuate underdevelopment. Moreover, it lobbies for reduced linkages with western countries, which are considered more harmful, backs a self-reliance model, and generally exhibits a pessimistic outlook (Alvin, 1990, p. 108). The world system suggests that the world and political economy fall into four main categories–core, periphery, semi-periphery, and external (Fordham University, 1997).

Next, in terms of future development trajectories, we should consider concepts of human security and development, sustainable development, freedoms, and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Emas (2015) introduces the concept of sustainable development, stating that development entails the long-term stability of the economy and environment. According to this definition, preserving resources for future generations and maintaining a healthy environment—such as clean air and water—is essential (Emas, 2015). Most importantly, the notions of human development and universal rights—precisely women’s equality—were embodied in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). A critical shift recognized that development is not just economic (GDP) but is integral to enhancing people’s economic, working, health, education, and overall well-being (Lentfer, 2017).

As a result, a transformative viewpoint has emerged that dispenses with classifying countries, viewing all nations as continuously undergoing development (Ferholz, 2016). Sen conceives of development as a means by which freedoms are fully realized and expanded for people to enjoy (Sen, 1999). Therefore, according to Sen, successful development necessitates the fulfillment of five instrumental freedoms: political freedoms, economic facilities, social opportunities, transparency guarantees, and protective security (Sen, 1999, p.38).

The four major challenges that beneficiary countries will face moving forward are governance, corruption, donor-driven Aid, and the politicization of Aid. First, governance is exercised through laws, norms, language, and power at the formal or informal levels, through state or other forms of organization (100 questions for 2015 development agenda). It plays a role in cooperation and coordination among different actors, which ensures the protection of rights and political participation of social groups, including those that are marginalized – women, youth, indigenous communities, and remote tribes. Furthermore, governance can serve as a means to effectively engage citizens, ensure proper infrastructures are established, and promote gender equality by encouraging women’s political and economic participation. Lastly, good governance can be an important tool for capacity building, accountability, and shaping development in local communities.

Corruption, weak policies, and fragile institutions in recipient countries present a significant challenge. Corruption is defined as illegal behavior or dishonest dealings by those in positions of power (Merriam-Webster, 2018). The negative effects of corruption usually appear in essential areas such as healthcare, education, infrastructure, decreased economic activity, and the environment. A striking statistic illuminates this: “Businesses and individuals pay an estimated $1.2 trillion in bribes each year, and the poor pay the highest percentage of their income in bribes” (World Bank, 2017).

Of equal importance is the fact that the most profitable forms of corruption are facilitated by Western financial institutions and private firms that accept laundered money and conduct transactions (World Bank, 2017). This implies that Western institutions are often complicit in maintaining corruption systems. Therefore, decreased corruption can build public trust and improve both political value, ensuring fair institutions and elections, and economic value via increased individual earnings and economic growth (Battersby & Roy, 2017).

The politics of Aid is a subject that has seemingly received minimal attention, yet has profound implications for beneficiary countries. Aid objectives have shifted from initiating development to advancing the interests of the donors (Bermeo, 2017). For instance, Nikki Haley proposed aid cuts to Palestine’s $300 million budget which provides schooling for half a million children (Lynch, 2018). This came after the Palestinian president accused the US president of bias regarding the location of Jerusalem. “Donors are increasingly focusing their aid on countries that have more migrants, in order to reduce spillover,” according to Bermeo. However, this approach may have dire consequences, as the countries least favored are often those with the most need. This can lead to increased inequalities, poverty, and armed conflicts, which create vicious cycles of increased spillovers and more migration (Bermeo, 2017).

The Politics of Aid revisited: ownership remains weak in many aid countries as a result of policies dominated by donors due to supply-side and demand-side politics (Hanaan & Warmerdam, 2015, p. 260). This is problematic where beneficiary countries that are dependent on aid inflows can find themselves in a tough position for public services and goods, and a reduction in aid can reduce the political legitimacy of the government (Hanaan & Warmerdam, 2015, p. 261). “A study found that the aid may weaken governance because aid inflows reduce the need for governments to tax the governed or enlist their cooperation” (Hanaan & Warmerdam, 2015, p. 262). Moreover, the aid inflows have become incorporated into the day-to-day politics in some countries. This is detrimental since aid does not lead to development, has limited capacity building, and creates an imbalance between the donors and beneficiaries (Hanaan & Warmerdam, 2015, p. 261).

Thirdly, donor-driven aid programs and accountability have to be addressed to improve aid effectiveness moving forward. “According to a World Bank handbook, even though there are billions of dollars spent on development assistance, there is little known about the actual impacts on the poor” (Cohen & Easterly, 2009, p. 7). Certain resolutions must be made, including making aid more predictable to enable countries to plan, and untying aid, which makes it more burdensome and costly (OECD, 2015). “Aid is often wasted on conditions that recipient countries must use overpriced goods and services from donor countries.” Beneficiary countries have to be involved in developmental affairs and processes, including aid, because projects that are designed and implemented by donors do not address the root causes of under-development (OECD, 2015).

It’s essential to ensure that aid received is used for projects and policies that are outlined by the developing countries. Furthermore, it increases governments’ accountability to their parliaments and citizens, rather than to donors. Countries can focus on genuine local needs and priorities, leading to sustainable development (OECD, 2015). Lastly, donors and beneficiaries must be accountable to the citizens they represent. “To make this feasible, the beneficiary countries must have the technical capacity, strong institutions, and political power to implement policies and procedures for the management of aid, along with strong central leadership and continued dialogue” (OECD, 2015).

References

  1. So, Alvin, 1990. Excerpts from Social Change and Development: Modernization, Dependency and World Systems Theories, Sage, pp. 17-37, 91-109, 169-199
  2. 2. Sen, Amartya, 1999. “The Ends and the Means of Development,” Development as Freedom, pp. 35-53.
  3. Emas, Rachel, 2015. The Concept of Sustainable Development: Definition and Defining Principles https://sustainabledevelopment.un.org/content/documents/5839GSDR2015_
  4. SD_concept_definiton_rev.pdf Gasper, Des and Oscar A. Gomez, 2015. Human Security – Twenty Years On. http://hdr.undp.org/en/content/human-security–twenty-years
  5. De Haan, Arjan. 2009. “The Aid Industry Defined,” in How the Aid Industry Works: An Introduction to International Development, Sterling, VA: Kumarian Press on reserves
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  7. Bermeo, Sarah, 2017. “Not your parents’ foreign aid: the shift from power to proximity and poverty.” https://www.devex.com/news/opinion-not-your-parentsforeign-aid-the-shift-from-power-to-proximity-and-poverty-91241
  8. Lynch, Colum “Nikki Haley’s Diplomacy of Revenge Targets U.N. Relief Agency” Foreign Policy, January 5, 2018. http://foreignpolicy.com/2018/01/05/nikkihaleys-diplomacy-of-revenge-targets-u-n-relief-agency/
  9. Battersby, Paul, Thunradee Taveekan and Gregoire Nimbtik. 2017 “Governance, Power, and Participation” in International Development: A Global Perspective on Theory and Practice, Chapter 4, pp50-67.
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  11. Mcloughlin, C. ‘The Politics of What Works in Service Delivery.’ Chapter 5 of The Politics of Inclusive Development: Interrogating the Evidence. Ed. Hickey, S., K. Sen, & B. Bukenya, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Pages 119-145.
  12. de Haan, A. & W. Warmerdam. ‘The Politics of Aid Revisited: A Review of Evidence on State Capacity and Elite Commitment.’ Chapter 10 of The Politics of Inclusive Development: Interrogating the Evidence. Ed. Hickey, S., K. Sen, & B. Bukenya, eds. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. Pages 259-278.
  13. World Bank. Combatting Corruption. http://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/governance/brief/anti-corruption
  14. Battersby, P. & R.K. Roy, eds. Los Angeles, CA: SAGE Publications, Inc., 2017. Pages 150-164.
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  16. Fordham University( 1997). Modern History Sourcebook: Summary of Wallerstein on World System Theory. Retrieved from https://sourcebooks.fordham.edu/mod/Wallerstein.asp
  17. Meriam-Webster( 2018). Retrieved from https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/corruption.

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