When Brian Malek worked a part-time job he realized the difficulty faced by
millions of Americans who can't afford health insurance. He had an opportunity
to do something about that perplexing social problem when he became involved in
a volunteer project made possible by UNF.
Malek had already received a bachelor's degree from UNF and was studying for
his master's degree when the project came to his attention. The Brooks College
of Health was involved with the establishment of the Volunteers in Medicine
(VIM) program in Jacksonville. VIM is dedicated to providing free medical care
for the working uninsured. Dr. Robert Roggio in the College of Computing,
Engineering and Construction was notified that VIM needed a software program to
help track patients, doctors, donors and volunteers. He offered the opportunity
to two teams of students working toward graduate degrees.
Malek, who is employed as a software developer at CSX Technology, got his
employer's approval to participate in the volunteer project. After countless
hours, Malek and his team were able to develop a software system which handled
tracking and scheduling duties and allowed VIM to become much more efficient.
"UNF encouraged us to get involved in the community. We were very excited about
this project because it was about real people who had a real need."
For his participation in the project, Malek was presented the Outstanding
Alumnus award by the College of Computing, Engineering and Construction in 2006.
The VIM project is only one example Malek uses to describe the quality of
education he received at UNF. "The faculty members have real world experience
and are willing to work with you." Dr. Roggio, he noted, volunteered numerous
hours helping Malek's team develop a solution for VIM needs.
Malek received his master's degree in 2007 and today helps CSX track
thousands of shipments throughout the United States by receiving and
interpreting "tons of data every day." He is proud of the ability to couple new
technology and old technology to provide a customer-friendly service. "As a
transportation industry, we must track the movements of every rail car. We can
tell our customers where their shipments are along the way at any particular
Malek attributes his successful CSX career to UNF, which he said was
instrumental in arranging for an internship after which he was accepted into the
company's management training program.
UNF also played a role in his wife Jamie's career. After studies at UNF she
decided she wanted to enter education. "UNF gave her a big gift by helping her
find what she wanted to do."
When not working, Malek and Jamie enjoy scuba diving and going on cruises
where he practices a budding photography hobby.
While he enjoys pastimes and loves work, Malek says his proudest
accomplishment is completing his degrees at UNF. "Having to work full time, it
took me a long time to earn my degrees. UNF offered the classes I needed in the
evening. It was the perfect fit for me."
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