Alums Zeki Mokhtarzada ’01 and Isha Angadi ’21 Selected as College Commencement Speakers
Zeki Mokhtarzada (B.S. ’01, computer science and mathematics), chief technology officer for Tenovos, will be the keynote speaker at the University of Maryland’s College of Computer, Mathematical, and Natural Sciences (CMNS) 2023 Undergraduate Commencement Ceremony on May 23, 2023. Isha Angadi (B.S. ’21, computer science; M.P.S. ’22, data science and analytics) was selected to be a student speaker at the CMNS Graduate Commencement Ceremony on May 22, 2023. The ceremony will honor the college's August 2022, December 2022 and May 2023 graduates.
Mokhtarzada was born in Turkey and spent the first years of his life in Afghanistan. When he was five, his family fled from the turmoil of the Soviet invasion and came to the U.S. as refugees, settling in Montgomery County, Maryland.
Mokhtarzada began his entrepreneurial career as an undergraduate at the University of Maryland. He and his brothers launched the startup Freewebs (later renamed Webs, Inc.) and in 2011, they sold it to VistaPrint for $117.5 million. Mokhtarzada served as the company’s engineer, architect and chief technology officer, overseeing all of the technology for the site, which eventually grew to serve tens of millions of visitors each month.
In 2021, Rocket Companies snagged the subscription management app Truebill, which was co-founded by Mokhtarzada and his brothers, for $1.275 billion (now called Rocket Money).
Now, Mokhtarzada serves as chief technology officer for Tenovos, a New York-based startup leading in next-generation digital asset management. He has published papers in numerous scientific journals in the field of computational neuroanatomy relating to the application of genetic algorithms and other artificial intelligence techniques to the field of neuroscience.
Mokhtarzada is also a familiar face on the UMD campus as a mentor and advisor for student entrepreneurs, through the Dingman Center for Entrepreneurship and his family’s own startup incubator called the Mokhtarzada Hatchery. Mokhtarzada works with the UMD startup community to give back and show his gratitude for all the people who helped him along the way.
He also devotes time to working with local and national nonprofits. Mokhtarzada serves as president of the Montgomery Blair High School Magnet Foundation and as treasurer of the One America Movement.
Angadi moved from India to the United States six years ago to attend college at UMD.
During her time at Maryland, Angadi conducted health care research in the Department of Computer Science with Professor Ashok Agrawala. Her research focused on developing contextual database systems for the International Digital Health & AI Research Collaborative, demonstrating her interest in the intersection of data science and health care technology.
Angadi is a yoga trainer and practitioner who believes in holistic wellness through mindfulness. She was the president of Yogi Terps, an organization that provides free yoga and meditation resources to students and the university community. Under her leadership, the organization grew by 300 members in just two years. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she initiated the development of online yoga courses and led sessions in collaboration with the university’s Do Good Institute to provide a safe environment for individuals to practice mental wellness techniques.
As a woman in the technology sector, Angadi recognizes the importance of having diverse perspectives and voices in her field. For the past five years, she has been a member of Rewriting the Code, the largest peer-to-peer network of women in tech.
After graduation, Angadi joined the Maryland startup Explore Digits as a data scientist. The company leverages the synergy between health care and policymaking to develop data-driven decision-making tools. Angadi aspires to further her knowledge and understanding of these technologies to better serve her community. Her primary objective is to develop accessible health care resources that draw upon both Eastern and Western sciences.
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