Waseem Ahmad

Facebook software engineer and Rice CS alumnus Waseem Ahmad.

Waseem Ahmad (B.A. ’14) is a senior software engineer at Facebook. He currently lives in New York City and works on Facebook’s Stories product on Android. In 2012, he orchestrated Rice’s first hackathon with support from the CS Club president, Dennis Qian and HackRice remains a popular annual event.

Read his CS Alumni Profile Interview: https://www.cs.rice.edu/waseem

Check out his personal website: https://waseemahmad.com


Merziyah Poonawala

Product Manager Merziyah Poonawala is a Rice Computer Science alumna.

Merziyah Poonawala (BA ’04) Senior Product Manager at Def Method where she helps drive execution on initial MVP builds for startups, working closely with the product owner and engineers. Over the course of working with numerous clients on products varying from B2B to B2C to Enterprise she has gained experience in implementing agile methodologies among different teams. In particular she is passionate about honing in on the question: “why build this?” and on improving the collaboration and effectiveness between all stakeholders on her teams through small experimentations.

Read her CS Profile: https://www.cs.rice.edu/merziyah


Julia Hossu

Rice CS alumna Julia Hossu is a technical program manager at TargetX.

Julia Hossu (B.S. ’15) is a technical program manager for TargetX, a company providing technology solutions that help higher education professionals focus on their students rather than their systems. Her focus is bringing the worlds of user centered design and software engineering closer together, and she began her work as a liaison and translator for both users and engineers as a Google student ambassador at Rice.

Read her thoughts about working for a startup in her Rice CS Alumni profile.

Eric Carlson

Rice CS alumnus Eric Carlson is a product manager at FlightAware.

Eric Carlson (B.A. ’02) is a product manager for FlightAware. He develops and executes strategic initiatives while managing change. He leads teams of highly motivated technology professionals and manages a portfolio of products. Eric’s depth of experience includes innovative software implementation and agile project management, and he is experienced at scaling SMBs into efficient and highly productive organizations. His certifications include Project Management Professional (PMP), Certified ScrumMaster (CSM), and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO).


Clement Pang

Rice CS alumnus Clement Pang.

Clement Pang (B.S. ’07) is the Chief Architect and Co-founder of Wavefront, which was recently acquired by VMware.

He said, “Wavefront was a journey to create a massively scalable time series database and query engine, a SaaS product that tens of thousands of engineers rely on every day to make decisions, identify problems and find solutions to challenges they face.

Previously, I was a Staff Engineer at Google who led the infrastructure group that handled the processing of signals and machine learning models responsible for protecting major Google properties (AdWords, AdSense, Checkout and Gmail) against fraud and abuse.”

Read his Rice CS Alumni Profile: https://www.cs.rice.edu/pang.

Angela Wise

Rice CS alumna and product manager Angela Wise.

Angela Wise (B.A. ’06, M.C.S. ’07) is the Director of Product Management at Twitter.

After leaving Rice,  she spent almost five years as a Microsoft program manager, then earned her M.B.A. at Harvard Business School. Following HBS, she worked as an Uber product lead and headed up product management for Sprig, a startup focused on the preparation and delivery of thoughtfully-sourced ready-to-eat meals.

Based on her experience, Wise says a really good product manager can take customer needs and translate them into something that can be engineered. “A PM who understands engineering concepts is valuable in deeply technical products, like self-driving cars.”

She said a PM with the ability to dive into the technical details of a project can more easily earn the trust and respect of his or her engineering team.

“When I can demonstrate to the engineering team that I understand what they are doing, we execute better together. They trust me to know enough to ask for the right things.”

Wise identified three skills that are critical for a PM, making the discipline more appropriate for people who prefer a broad skill set as opposed to a deep skill set.

“The most important skill for a PM is the ability to work well with your engineering team, to understand their challenges, costs and risks,” she said.

“Second, you need to be able to understand the customer, speak their language and understand their needs – even if they don’t communicate them very well. Finally, you have to understand the business and market dynamics at play. The hard part is balancing priorities between the engineering team, the customer, and the business.”

Read her CS Alumni profile: https://www.cs.rice.edu/awise