Internationally acclaimed computer scientist Mubashir Husain Rehmani, originally from Pakistan, loves his work with Cork Institute of Technology and said he hopes to stay in Cork to raise his three children with his wife Khadija.
Mubashir, who had written several books in his field of study, said the welcome he received from CIT is one of the factors he considered in moving to Cork and said the positive work environment at the institute is one of the reasons he wants to stay here.
The 37-year-old assistant lecturer recently received the extremely prestigious Highly Cited Researcher 2020 award, which he described as a great honour.
“It was a big surprise when I found out I had been shortlisted,” he said.
“I was shocked to see it, as I would be somewhat junior to the other academics who would have been considered for the award.”
Mubashir was the only computer scientist in Ireland to receive the internationally acclaimed award.
The computer scientist and his family first moved to Waterford from Paris, where he had been completing his Masters, PhD, and Postdoctorate and where he had been living for about seven years.
“I loved Paris, it is a nice city,” he said.
“But my wife, she did not want to learn French, and there was pressure on me to move to an English-speaking country.”
Mubashir said that he liked Ireland’s reputation and first took a one-year post at Waterford IT before moving to CIT.
“I was living in Frankfield first and my kids go to a school in Glasheen, which is very close to the institute,” he said.
“Since lockdown, I use taking the kids to school as motivation to go into work!”
Over the past four to five months, the Rehmani family have moved to Ballincollig, close to the regional park, which Mubashir said his kids really enjoy.
“I love taking the kids to natural beauty spots, I go to Mullinhassig Waterfall and beaches that are close by. They love these trips, they really enjoy them.”
Chatting about Cork City, Mubashir said that he liked that the city was not too crowded like Paris or Dublin, but was also not a small city.
“We can have the taste of both aspects,” he said.
While he enjoys his work, he tries to get good-quality time with his three children, Saad, 7; Maria 6; and Aamir (five months).
“I give time to the kids, I want to spend quality time with them,” he said.
In terms of his work as a lecturer, Mubashir said CIT is renowned for its online delivery and the move to full-time remote learning was seamless.
“I first started doing online lectures when I was in Waterford and continued in Cork,” he said.
“I, of course, had face-to-face lectures as well, but I did a lot of online learning with the students.
“You do miss the social interaction of going to lectures and seeing the faces, you can’t replicate the interaction online and I do want to go back to campus.”
Khadija, who is also Pakistani but grew up in Saudi Arabia, is a full-time mother, looking after their three children.
“She has her hands full at the moment, especially with the five-month-old,” said Mubashir.
“She looks after everything in the home.”
On-campus, the assistant lecturer said he finds the institute extremely welcoming and said this was a key element of his decision to stay in Cork, as he wanted to integrate into the society and be accepted.
“I think that Cork people leave you alone, which is good, but if you ask for help, help is given and that is good to know,” he said.
“Also in Cork, the overall environment is very good in terms of professional development and career.”
Discussing home in Pakistan, Mubashir said he enjoys getting home to see his sisters and his brother.
“My parents have passed, but the rest of my family are still there,” he said.
“Usually I go home about once a year, but since Covid, I have not been back.
“The guidelines would see me spend my entire trip in self-isolation — it is not practical.”
At CIT, Mubashir is working on emerging communication technology, and one of the things he is working on is advancing the technology around communicating during a natural disaster when the telecommunication lines have been destroyed and there is no way for people to coordinate and react as a team.
The acclaimed computer scientist has also become involved in editing a prestigious telecommunications journal.
“I love my work,” he said. “I am very passionate about it, and it would not be possible without the support of my wife.”