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Alexis “Lexi” Hawks

Location: Charlestown, MA

Lexi teaches the intro courses in web development in the Networking Career Program. She’s been with CSI since December of 2020.

Where did you get your training?

I graduated from Wellesley College.

What drew you to your field of study?

In college I majored in “Media Arts and Sciences” which was a combination of studio art and computer science. I learned many different forms of new media including animation and photography and learned different ways of combining new media in the arts with computer programming.

Fun Fact:

I was selected to have an art piece of mine featured at an exhibition at the Newport Art Museum next to a professor of mine.

What languages do you speak?

English, Mandarin Chinese, and a very little bit of Japanese (as well as Javascript, Python, and Java for any computer people that are reading this).

What are your favorite hobbies?

In my spare time, my favorite things to do are make art, crochet clothing, play with my cat, and travel. My favorite countries I’ve visited are China, Japan, and Italy.

Do you have a favorite inspirational quote you would like to share?

I like this quote from the Dalai Lama:

“If a problem is fixable, if a situation is such that you can do something about it, then there is no need to worry. If it’s not fixable, then there is no help in worrying. There is no benefit in worrying whatsoever.”

Life-Long Learning Takes Center Stage at CSI

It’s no secret that the best teachers are life-long learners. Case in point: Computer Systems Institute’s (CSI) Customer Service Specialist Program instructor Mitsi Hearn.

Hearn has taken this philosophy to heart throughout her life, earning degrees and certifications that extend her knowledge and career potential alike. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science from Indiana University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Indiana Wesleyan University.

Hearn is a huge proponent of continuous learning. She says, “Education has the ability to make you a better person and employee. I believe that things change every day and you are never too old to learn.” 

Most recently, she earned a sought-after industry certification. According to Hearn, “I have been a Certified Professional Biller (CPB) through AAPC since 2013. After passing my CPB-I Exam in January 2021, I am now certified as a CPB-I AAPC Approved Instructor.” With this certification under her belt, Hearn can teach the AAPC curriculum and help students pass their certification exams. For Hearn, it all comes down to gaining and sharing knowledge.

Real-World Customer Service Experience

Hearn’s professional experience is diverse, making her an ideal instructor for our Customer Service Specialist Program. She served as a field trainer at Aetna for 10 years, followed by a 16-year stint as a litigation coordinator at Chicago Transit Authority. She has taught at a variety of regional colleges and has dabbled in freelance reporting. She even owns her own medical billing business.

Hearn first considered starting an independent billing company in 1996, but tucked the idea away until a personal experience reignited her desire to help others navigate the medical billing space. In 2003, Hearn’s mother fell ill and spent a year in hospitals. When her brother started asking questions about how to manage the incoming bills, Hearn was able to leverage her insurance expertise from Aetna and general knowledge to take the reins. In 2009, MSH Medical Billing Remedies, LLC was born.

Owning her own business has provided Hearn with an in-depth understanding of key customer service principals that she passes on to her students, such as using communication, rapport-building, and problem-solving techniques that result in high-quality interactions.

Investing in the Next Generation

With a successful business under her belt, why teach? For Hearn the answer is simple: “I want to give back.” With this philosophy top-of-mind, Hearn started working at CSI’s Lombard Campus in May 2019.

Hearn values the diverse perspectives our students bring to the classroom. She says, “I really enjoy working with the international students at CSI. I am African American and have always liked meeting people from all backgrounds. Our students are so smart and respectful, and have worked so hard to pursue their studies in the United States. If I can do anything to make their experience easier, I will do it.”

Learn from CSI’s Exceptional Instructors  

At CSI, we know the key to success for both students and teachers is life-long learning. If you’re ready to invest in yourself and pursue an education that will allow you to reach your goals, check out our diverse line-up of business, IT, and Healthcare programs. You can also reach out to one our friendly and knowledgeable Admissions Reps at 1-888-910-5060, admissions@csinow.com, or via live chat.

Business Career Program Instructor Delivers an Unmatched Student Experience through Industry Expertise, Guest Speakers, and More

What makes a great teacher?

A. Real-world experience
B. The ability to connect with students
C. A commitment to personalizing lesson plans
D. All of the above

If you said D, you would be correct! While any one of these skills is valuable in the classroom, only the best instructors – like Computer Systems Institute’s (CSI) Thomas Lew – can do it all.

Meet Thomas Lew

Lew teaches two of CSI’ Business Career Program concentrations: Business Fundamentals and Digital Multimedia. Among his students, Lew is known for going above and beyond in creating an unmatched experience. He does this by:

Leveraging over 35 Years of Experience

Lew is no stranger to the business world. Throughout his career, he has held a variety of leadership positions, including:

  • Consultant/General Manager Technology Initiatives, Bindable.com
  • Senior Director of Information technology at Gallagher Student Health and Special Risk
  • CIO/Vice President of Marketing of Trans National Group/TNT Vacations
  • Vice President of Operations at Neurometrix
  • Senior Vice President of Operations at Trans National Communications
  • Director of Information Systems at MidCom Communications

This vast experience allows Lew to augment his lessons with real-world examples from his career.

Lew says, “I have had the opportunity to see a lot while working with startups, leading operations, and creating robust marketing programs. I don’t pretend to know it all, but I can speak on a lot of the topics my students are interested in, and I always work to personalize my lessons to my students’ interests.”

Bringing Industry Professionals into the Classroom

In addition to having an in-depth understanding of a wide variety of business topics, Lew is connected to an impressive network of professionals eager to share their knowledge with the next generation. Since starting at CSI in 2020, Lew has introduced his students to:

  • An HR director in academics who discussed personal branding
  • A franchisee who dished on the ins and outs of acquiring and owning a franchise
  • A food photographer to cap off a unit on menu design

Building Personal Relationships

For Lew, teaching is more than a nine to five job. He is committed to doing everything he can to help his students. One way he does this is by combining his passion for teaching with his commitment to giving back.

For 15 years Lew has volunteered at My Brother’s Table, a soup kitchen committed to providing hospitality, meals, and unconditional love to the Boston community. Lew serves as a chef on weekends, imagining and preparing meals using donated foods. He often invites his students to join him.

“Many of our international students are far from home and don’t know anyone in the America. If they want to meet new people, I encourage them to spend an afternoon with me volunteering,” says Lew. “It is a great way to help them feel more connected and build personal relationships. “

Sharing his Thirst for Knowledge

Lew is a huge advocate of continuous learning. He received his bachelor’s degree in computer science and his master’s degree in business/entrepreneurial finance.

He says, “There’s a story that sharks must swim constantly or they will drown. Intellect and creativity can’t stay still either. You feed them with further education, travel, communication with interesting people, and challenging work. I always encourage my students to pursue more knowledge and experiences.”

An Unmatched Education is Just a Call or Email Away

When you enroll at CSI, you will learn from instructors who not only have extensive professional experience, but who are invested in your success, just like Lew. If you’re ready to jumpstart your future, contact us at 1-888-910-5060 or admissions@csinow.com.

CSI Instructor Earns Affordable Materials Grant

Alex Iakovlev Uses His Digital Multimedia Expertise to Improve the Student Experience

At Computer Systems Institute (CSI) you will find a team of experienced instructors who use their expertise and time not only to propel students toward their academic and professional goals, but also to give back. Take Alex Iakovlev, Business Career Program – Digital Multimedia Concentration instructor, for example.

With experience ranging from editing videos for Broadway producers and performers to building websites, Iakovlev has cemented his place as a leader in the digital multimedia space. In addition to teaching at CSI, Iakovlev is working on an Affordable Materials Grant for innovation in education in the online environment.

Along with a team of other education professionals and two students, he is tasked with creating online tools for Georgia students taking physics classes to help them be successful with their lab work and assignments. Iakovlev’s work on the project includes creating interactive websites written in JavaScript to support student understanding of the material. These interactive websites will include simulations of physical processes and events, as well as online tools for statistical analysis of the measurements completed by students.

Iakovlev’s desire to participate in this project is fueled by his commitment to supporting students. He says, “I have extensive experience creating supplemental materials and instruction manuals for students in higher education. This work is supporting students and bringing them knowledge, which is of the highest importance to me.”

Iakovlev’s participation in the Affordable Materials Grant is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to his contributions to higher education. He has also developed an online tool to measure the speed of the rotation of the sun based on images taken from the SOHO satellite. This tool has already been tested in astronomy classes at a university in Georgia and has shown very positive results in regards to the student experience. As Iakovlev says, “This is only one tool – more to go!”

Transforming the Learning Environment at CSI

At CSI, Iakovlev is known for prioritizing student engagement and participation in the learning process. “As I teach, I also try to focus on the interests of my students and shape the topics to meet those interests. This allows them to apply their classroom knowledge to their lives,” says Iakovlev.

Iakovlev feels drawn to teaching because it gives him an opportunity to pass his experience on to others. He says, “Teaching is the best way to share knowledge. I like introducing students to new tools and marketing approaches that not only make their everyday tasks easier, but also boost their qualifications.”

According to Iakovlev, CSI’s Digital Multimedia Concentration is very valuable because it focuses on the following concepts, which can be applied to almost any field of work:

  • Graphic design
  • Webpage design
  • Image processing
  • Web content creation
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media optimization

In addition to teaching these topics, Iakovlev has a hand in developing CSI’s curriculum – a major advantage for current and prospective students looking for a program created by experts and taught by experts. He uses his industry expertise to make current trends and topics more accessible.

Learn More!

A talented and beloved teacher, Iakovlev is in good company at CSI. Our team is comprised of instructors with a passion for helping students meet and exceed their potential. If you are looking to enter a new industry or level up in your career, reach out to CSI today at 1-888-910-5060 or admissions@csinow.com. In addition to our Digital Multimedia Concentration, we offer a variety of business, healthcare, and technology programs.


Business Career Program Instructor Frank Della: A Leader on and off Campus

Preparing students for successful, in-demand careers is our top priority at Computer Systems Institute (CSI). That’s why we offer affordable tuition rates, hands-on training, and curricula that align with industry needs. We also hire the best of the best to join our ranks. A prime example? Frank Della.

Meet Frank Della 

Della has taught over 50 courses in the Business Career Program for two years. He says, “CSI’s Business Career Program gives students skills in self-management and prepares them for further study in two ways: Business programs discuss the most important aspects of each subject and participation gives needed practice in self-expression in an academic setting.”

Della also understands the value of investing in his own education. He has earned master’s degrees from: 

  • The Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University
  • Northern Illinois University
  • The University of Chicago
  • Governors State University

He regularly uses his education, background as a school administrator, and experience in management positions at three Fortune 100 companies to explain the value of a good business school. And while Della’s know-how serves as an inspiration to his students, it is their accomplishments that truly drive him to be the best educator possible. 

“All have overcome language difficulties, unfamiliar cultural institutions, lack of family support, and loss of social status. While any one of these is a disadvantage, our students use the tools available to them at CSI and in our thriving communities to find success,” says Della. “They dare greatly. They find a way to earn their livelihood, merge their own cultural traditions with the ones they find here, acquire the language, and deal with stress associated with the experience. It is this adventure that forms the basis for me wanting to help them meet their goals.”

Leadership Beyond the Classroom 

At CSI, we challenge our faculty and staff to be leaders on and off campus. Della is no exception. He regularly places himself in positions where growth occurs through organized criticism, such as joining Toastmasters International for a two-year commitment to becoming a better speaker.

Della’s leadership also extends to his involvement in the Illinois Masonic Fraternity, a charitable organization that gives opportunities for personal growth with the idea of “Making Good Men Better.”

He sits on the Masonic Relations Committee at Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center and the board of directors at the Illinois Masonic Student Assistance Program, which intervenes in the lives of at-risk students by conducting in-service sessions for teachers, counselors, and principals. In November 2019, he was elected to lead a lodge of 150 men and was sworn in as Worshipful Master of Paul Revere Lodge #998 A.F. & A.M. in the Jefferson Park neighborhood. Most recently, Frank authored an article on leadership for the Masonic Quarterly Magazine focused on “Daring Greatly.”

When all is said and done, Della hopes he can inspire others to give their time to meaningful projects in their community.

Learn More!

Della is just one of many faculty members who make CSI a leading institution for career-focused education. Invest in your future and learn how you can become a CSI student today.