Computer Systems Institute courses are currently online due to the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic. Learn more.
Spring 2021 Enrollment Now Open.

CSI Extends Learning Beyond the Classroom

Career-focused education is the name of the game at Computer Systems Institute (CSI). Our programs give students from around the world the education they need to succeed. We step beyond focusing solely on technical lessons by teaching students important academic skills like critical thinking, theory, writing, along with other valuable insights that will be instrumental to their careers. Our students get the best of both worlds: a combination of formal college-level coursework AND practical training. When it comes to the latter, many of our international students pursue Curricular Practical Training (CPT) during their academic studies and/or Optional Practical Training (OPT) following their graduation. Doing so allows them to take the education they gain at CSI and apply it in a professional setting. Bruno Gugelmin, a CSI graduate, has found success putting his classroom learnings to work through OPT.

From Brazil to Boston

A Brazil native, Bruno’s introduction to the American education system took place in 2016 when he enrolled in English as a Second Language (ESL) courses at one of CSI’s Boston locations. In Bruno’s words, “The best way to learn a language is to immerse yourself in it, so I knew I needed to live in the U.S. and surround myself with native speakers.”

After finishing his ESL program, Bruno decided to continue his education at CSI because of our diverse business, healthcare, and IT offerings. Most recently he completed our Business Career Program, concentration in Digital Multimedia.

With improved English skills and a top-notch education under his belt, Bruno was ready to apply for OPT with guidance from his Designated School Official. Just three months after applying, Bruno received his employment authorization document (EAD) and was eligible to start work in April 2020.

After proactively reaching out to the Lagoinha Boston Church, Bruno learned they needed someone with his skillset to join their creative team. Today, he helps design the church’s brochures and social media posts, and is jumping into coding projects for the website. He says there is a lot of opportunity for growth in this role. To view Bruno’s work, follow @lagoinhabostonchurch on Instagram.

Bruno says he has the opportunity to apply the knowledge he gained at CSI toward his career. “CSI gave me hands-on skills in Adobe Dreamweaver, Photoshop, HTML, and style sheets. My programs were really good because I gained an overview of what makes sense in graphic design, and a better understanding of marketing as a whole. Because every course is updated regularly, my skills are up-to-date.”

Words of Advice

Bruno is passionate about the opportunities CSI and OPT have granted him, and wants to encourage others to keep their eye on the prize. He says, “If you want to change your life like I have, you have to wake up and work hard. It really is possible.”

Learn more

Are you ready to follow in Bruno’s footsteps and receive an education that will allow you to achieve your academic and professional goals? Visit http://www.csinow.edu/, call 1-888-910-5060, or email admissions@csinow.com to learn about our high-quality programs in Massachusetts and Illinois.


Introducing CSI’s Student Advisory Board

Computer Systems Institute (CSI) is proud to announce a new initiative that gives students a voice on important issues taking place across our six campuses in Illinois and Massachusetts: The Student Advisory Board!

The Student Advisory Board is comprised of four students who advocate for the interests and success of all CSI students. The board members participate in biweekly meetings where they share opinions and ideas to improve the student experience and the services provided to them in collaboration with the Student Affairs team. Their responsibilities include:

  • Providing feedback and collaborating to improve participation in campus events.
  • Ensuring students’ needs and concerns are met.
  • Offering ideas on how to create a more engaging experience for diverse students.

Making Strides

With several meetings under their belts, your Student Advisory Board members are already making an impact. They have discussed opportunities to expand New Student Orientation to include topics that reflect CSI’s diverse student body, as well as how to promote resources that help students navigate the CSI experience.

As they meet every other week, the Board will continue discussing these topics and many others.

Meet Your Winter 2021 Student Advisory Board Members!

Say hello to the exceptional students who are advocating for your interests:

Adaora Joy Ezeh: Chicago Campus Representative

Adaora is a Customer Service Specialist Program student. She is passionate about helping others be better versions of themselves and is excited to use her experience at CSI to encourage her peers as they navigate their educational journeys.

Christina Mitroulia: Skokie Campus Representative
Christina has been studying at CSI since 2016, and has leveraged her experiences in and out of the classroom to grow as a student, as well as a person. She is very excited to join the Student Advisory Board and feels this is a great opportunity for her. Christina looks forward to advising other students on how to make sure their needs and concerns are being heard and understood.

Praise Omenogor Nwachukwu: Chicago Campus Representative

Praise is currently enrolled in the Billing and Coding Track of CSI’s Healthcare Career Program. She joined the Student Advisory Board because she likes to meet CSI students from diverse cultural/ethnic backgrounds while helping them achieve their goals. She says it is a pleasure to represent the student body while developing her own leadership and interpersonal skills.

Thiago Pena: Charlestown Campus Representative

Thiago has a passion for business, technology, and diverse cultures, and is currently enrolled in the Business Career Program – Digital Multimedia Concentration. He joined the Student Advisory Board to help new students have a great experience at CSI so that they can achieve their goals.  

Join the Student Advisory Board

Do you want to have a hand in molding the CSI experience for yourself and your peers? The benefits speak for themselves. You will:

  • Develop and cultivate leadership skills, which are essential for career development.
  • Enhance your interpersonal skills and ability to interact and network with others.
  • Share your ideas and suggestions.
  • Be awarded a certificate at the end of the quarter.
  • Receive professional development consultations, such as tips for resume writing, LinkedIn, and more.

Board members must be in good academic standing with a minimum 2.75 cumulative GPA and have successfully completed one quarter at CSI. Board terms are one quarter long. Email Student Affairs at studentaffairs@csinow.com to be considered.

We Want to Know Your Opinions

If you have ideas or concerns you want shared with the Student Advisory Board, please email Student Affairs at studentaffairs@csinow.com.


Healthcare Career Program Students Pass Clinical Medical Assistant Certification Exam

At Computer Systems Institute (CSI), our dedication to career-focused education is anything but talk. We tailor our courses to meet industry and employer needs, and hire instructors who can translate their real-world experience into meaningful lessons. Upon program completion, our students are prepared to put their education to the test. Case in point: our Healthcare Career Program clinical track students.

Taking on the CCMA Exam

In November, several CSI students took the National Healthcare Association’s Clinical Medical Assistant Certification (CCMA) exam – and all passed!

Dr. Susan Malekpour, CSI Academic Dean, says, “I have been in higher education for 22 years, and can tell you that the highest goal for any medical assisting program is to have students pass their certification exams. At CSI, when our students sit for their exams, we know they are prepared and ready to pass.”

This rigorous, 150-question exam requires a deep understanding of the concepts taught throughout CSI’s 12-month program, and dedication to studying. When all is said and done, this commitment pays off in spades. Possessing this respected certification validates our students’ skills to potential employers and opens doors to a variety of career opportunities in the medical assisting field.

From a Student’s Perspective

Aref Sayegh credits CSI with helping him pass the exam. He says, “CSI, but specially Mrs. Smith [Adjunct Healthcare Career Program Instructor], prepared me for how the exam was going to test me. Moreover, she discussed real life anecdotes, medical assistant shared experiences, etc. She is a good teacher who believes in and encourages her students.”

A Recipe for Success

Our clinical track instructors use CSI’s Blended Learning Methodology, which combines classroom lectures, hands-on practical training, and laboratory learning hours, to prepare students for the CCMA exam. They cover clinical, administrative, and laboratory procedures, as well as medical terminology, phlebotomy, and other academic concepts needed to be successful in the healthcare industry. At the end of the program, students can:

  • Communicate with patients
  • Take vital signs
  • Use appropriate examination room procedures
  • Interpret test results

You Could be Next!

Healthcare is a very rewarding industry. If you’re interested in breaking into the field, but don’t have the time and dollars to pursue a four-year or graduate degree, look no further than CSI’s Healthcare Career Program. In addition to our clinical track, we offer a billing and coding option, which focuses on the information needs of the healthcare industry. Reach out to us at 1-888-910-5083 or csiadmissions@csinow.com to find out if one of these programs is right for you!

CSI Honors 193 Students at Inaugural International Honor Society Ceremony

Say hello to Computer Systems Institute’s (CSI) International Honor Society! This organization, which held its inaugural induction ceremony in October, is committed to recognizing academic achievement, developing and motivating students to persist in their studies, and preparing students to become leaders in their professional fields of study.

“We know that success is achieved in small increments, one step at a time. Our International Honor Society students have chosen to take their studies seriously, which shows they are committed to doing their best not only in school, but also in life,” said Julia Lowder, CSI’s Chief Executive Officer. “It is this commitment to shine in everything they do that gives us and everyone around us hope.”

Business Career Program student Mariana A. thanks the instructors who have helped her find success at CSI.

During the ceremony, 193 students were recognized for their academic achievements. As International Honor Society members, these students have agreed to lead by example, both in class and at extracurricular activities. To reward their hard work and dedication, they will receive the following membership benefits:

  • A letter of recommendation
  • Access to special campus events for International Honor Society members only
  • Exclusive scholarship opportunities

For many of these students, the International Honor Society is a testament to their hard work and the support they receive from CSI, their peers, and their families. Here’s what some of our inductees had to say during the ceremony:

“Every individual at CSI does their bit to ensure that we as an institute make our way towards a better tomorrow.” – Nishit Ghelani

“I take my inspiration from all of the instructors at CSI. I get inspired by their personal stories, how they have come to be part of CSI, and what they have had to go through to be with us. Everyone has been truly amazing and helpful, especially during COVID and remote learning!” -Ina Asparuhova

“Every instructor I have had at CSI has been cheerful. Family plays a big role too. Without their support, it would be harder. And of course, we all desire to succeed in our professional careers.” – Heilen Bravo

“Fellow classmates are instrumental in our success too. They give you that sense of community and help you adjust to the school and environment. Being an international student is challenging and it’s great to be around like-minded, hardworking classmates.” – Joyce Anne Dimaano

Prioritize Your Academic Success with Help from CSI

If you are considering choosing CSI to further your education, you can rest assured that we have a knowledgeable and helpful team that is invested in your success. Our Academics Department is committed to ensuring our students receive a rigorous education and are sufficiently prepared to excel in the workforce upon graduation. Here are just a few of the services our Academics Department provides:

  • Tutoring services
  • Help with basic study skills
  • Mentoring
  • Workshops
  • Portfolio preparation
  • Assistance with resume and cover letter preparation
Learn more!

Dreams to Reality

What is your dream? Whether it is heart-breaking or heart-warming, everyone has
a story to tell. Storytelling is an ancient art form and Rattapol Thania aspires to master the art of transforming your ideas, your dreams, and your personal stories into 21st century social media videos. His goal is to capture who we are in compelling images.

Rattapol’s own dream of utilizing visual images to tell a great story began in HatYai, Songkhla when he was a young boy. Growing up in this bustling city at the far southern tip of Thailand, Rattapol became determined to make his movie creation dream a reality.

Rattapol traveled from his home in HatYai to the ornate, shrine-filled capital of Bangkok, to take the first step in accomplishing his goal. In Bangkok, he excelled at Thammasat University, where he received a degree in Journalism and Mass Communication with an emphasis in film.

After graduation, he landed a job as an assistant film director with Wonderland Films where he assisted with the production of the award-winning short film, Prison Rat (“อีขี้คุก”). Prison Rat is a story about a former prisoner who turned her life around after her release from prison by becoming a singer musician. Through her music, she chronicles her journey from life as a convicted criminal to an inspirational performer. The Ministry of Justice released this video publicly as an uplifting message of hope intended to show prisoners and former inmates that it is possible to turn your life around. 

Inspired by his experiences at Wonderland Films, Rattapol moved to Chicago to continue growing as a storyteller. Rattapol feels that Computer Systems Institute (CSI) has provided him with a place to expand his knowledge of the global community. He believes learning at CSI is like traveling on a commercial flight. The passengers’ luggage all come in unique sizes, harboring individualized knowledge, cultures, and personalities. The exceptional faculty at CSI encourages their students to share among one another so no matter how small their suitcase is, the treasure inside will be meaningful to others. Additionally, CSI acts as the pilot who guides each valuable passenger toward their ultimate destination. For Rattapol, this means continuing his journey to reveal those untold stories waiting to be found.

A Change of Place, a Change of Pace

From the big, bustling metropolis of Sao Paulo, Brazil, population 12.18 million, to Seekonk, Massachusetts, population 15,548 — that kind of change would put anyone into serious culture shock, but CSI’s Small Business Administration student Roberto Aparecido and his family took it in stride. They had good friends already living in Seekonk, which is why they chose the town, and they found a welcoming and ready-made community in a local church. No doubt, the large population of Portuguese speakers, shops, and restaurants in their town helped in their adjustment, and that their 7-year-old son was able to enroll in a bilingual school.

Roberto came to the US from Brazil with a degree and many years’ experience in Business Administration, seeking to learn English and take his life and his family in a new direction that would challenge all of them to learn and grow. Mission accomplished! He says every day offers new challenges, but “I enjoy challenges.” He sees challenges as opportunities to learn, and he does learn, because, he explains, “I like to do things well!” After spending about a year studying English, Roberto enrolled in CSI’s Small Business Administration Program.  He says he found his Bookkeeping class especially useful, because that is in his area of interest and is something he now uses every day at work. In addition to learning business and technical English, he has picked up some new skills and improved others, and is currently putting it all to use in an externship in a local company that manages construction projects.

The company he works for is small, with only about 10 employees, but the opportunity to learn and utilize the skills he is studying is huge. He says he’s quite happy being behind a desk all day, working with accounts payable and receivable, reconciling accounts, using QuickBooks, dealing with contractors, and learning about taxes, laws, insurance, liability, and construction in the US. “It’s a new industry, new language, and the laws are different, so I learn every day, but really, working in business administration in the US is not very different than in Brazil.”

It’s been two years now since they arrived in the US, and Roberto’s English has greatly improved. While he doesn’t feel fully fluent, and he says that the language is still a challenge, he understands very well and can usually find a way to express his ideas even if he still has to search for words.

Roberto says the whole family has really enjoyed the change of pace. Their life here is quieter and more family-centered; they have a great church and community of new friends, and he says they also really appreciate the safety of their town. They also have been enjoying the countryside and have three parks near their home where they like to go for long family walks.

What has surprised him most about the US? All the wooden buildings and the different style of homes. He has been impressed at all the structures and the size of structures that are made of wood here in the US. Another thing that jumped out at him was how much Americans respect the law. For instance, drivers actually stop at crosswalks to let pedestrians cross the street, and generally, drivers comply with laws more here – though he concedes that not all local drivers are polite and the potholes in Massachusetts roads are terrible. He also appreciates the clarity in prices and taxes: “Here you know what you are paying and why, it’s murkier in Brazil.”

He says the experience has changed him – and all of his family – for the better. “I think that having an experience outside your country is really important for a person. It gives you another view of life, another perspective. When we are away from home – living in a new language and culture, we need to step out of our comfort zone. Here, everyday there are challenges and every day we are learning. It changes your values and priorities.” Being an International Student at CSI has been a valuable experience for the whole family, which Roberto will utilize in his future academic and professional pursuits.

Student of the Month–Juan Daniel Cardona Cuartas

Daniel Cardona is originally from Colombia. He learned about Computer Systems Institute (CSI) during his vacation to Boston three years ago. Daniel was looking to study and develop his skills through getting an education in the U.S. Daniel was looking forward to be immersed in an international student environment. CSI has provided him with not only the opportunity to learn about business skills, but also to learn from the friends that he’s made from all over the world.

Daniel is currently enrolled in the Hospitality program. He really enjoys being here because this program allows students the opportunity to learn and practice their skills at the same time. He thinks that this is really helpful considering that he can apply his knowledge acquired in the classroom to his externship. Daniel thinks that being able to participate in the externship program is an opportunity
that will help him with his career in his home country.

Daniel’s current job is a supervisor at a restaurant chain. He told me: “CSI has given me the necessary tools and skills to utilize my talents and engage myself in academic and practical work. I really appreciate CSI.”

Daniel is a very hard-working student, he is always the first one who comes to the classroom, and submits the assignments on time. Inside the classroom, he participates in the lecture and works with his classmates collaboratively; outside of the classroom, he is very outgoing and easy to get along with.

Daniel is very enthusiastic about photography. He participated in a photography contest at the beginning of this quarter. His professionalism was very impressive and outstanding.

Although Daniel is already a success, he is also very humble. He listens to other people’s opinions and is eager to improve himself. In addition, he is willing to help other students when they feel confused either in study or in life. His enthusiasm has impressed everyone in the classroom. We are thrilled to have Daniel as a student and look forward to his contribution to make CSI a great institution.

Walking on Snow, Dreaming of Sand

 As the snow crunches under foot on a snowy Chicago morning, Stefany De Abreu can’t help but to dream a little of the warm, sandy beaches in her native Venezuela. But these dreams are not just about warmer, sunnier days. Stefany is dreaming about the future of her sister’s swimwear company, Citera.

Stefany studied accounting in Venezuela and International Business Management in Canada before coming to Chicago. The city of broad shoulders, with a rich history in economics, finance, and commerce, was a natural choice for her American adventure. Her long-term dream is to become a Chief Financial Officer (CFO), but for now she wants to learn more about how to grow a company through finance. She loves the way that numbers tell a story about a company. They not only tell us about the past, but they allow us to predict the future.

Stefany learned about Computer Systems Institute (CSI) through friends studying at the school. They thought it might be the right fit for her, and they were right. She looked into the Business Career Program (BCP) and liked what she saw. It featured a range of topics that she wanted to learn about, including Finance, Accounting, and Microsoft Word and Excel. Most importantly, though, it provided a structured program to better understand the foundations of entrepreneurship in the United States.

Now, at the end of her third quarter at CSI, she feels that she has accomplished much of what she set out to do and more. She particularly appreciated the opportunity that her last course, Introduction to Small Business Management, gave her. In addition to her dream of working in finance, she eagerly wants to help her sister to grow her swimwear business. Her capstone project for the course pushed her to develop a clearer vision of what is necessary to expand the reach of Citera from Venezuela to the United States.

Citera is a swimwear company that specializes in high-quality, beautiful and comfortable women’s swimsuits in an assortment of sizes and styles to accommodate all varieties of body styles and shapes. This mission served Citera well as the company blossomed in Venezuela, and Stefany believes it will succeed in American as well with the right business plan. She wants to work with her sister to bring Citera to Miami, and from there, the rest of the beaches in the world.

Let’s remind Stefany that Chicago has beaches, too….but best not to go there in a bikini until the ice melts.

Our Journey – New England

Autumn in New England is well known for its beautiful foliage, crisp cool air, and mountain vistas located only a short drive from the city of Boston. The tipping of Earth on its axis and the changing of the sun’s light put a chill in the air and scarlet hues to the falling leaves. For many people who come to New England from other parts of the country and other parts of the world, Autumn is perhaps the best season to experience. For Jose “Roberto” Soares, moving to New England came with many opportunities and sacrifices along the way. His vision of building a life with his beautiful family took him first to Europe then to the U.S. which he now calls home away from home.

Roberto was born in Campinas, Sao Paulo which is home to three of the top universities in Brazil. After getting his degree, he acquired a job, got married and had a daughter. He then decided to move his young family- wife, Rosanna and daughter, Gabriella – from Sao Paulo to Italy. They settled in Milan, the fashion capital of the world. He held a position at the Consulate General of Brazil and at Banco do Brasil.

“The flame of adventure is always lit in this family…
our choice was to be close to Boston, in the wonderful state of Massachusetts.”

The family became Italian citizens and Roberto was beginning to feel settled-in to his new home. Roberto found the regions of Tuscany and Liguria to be his favorite places to bring his family, as they appreciated the scenic beauty of the amazing mountains, gorgeous blue waters and beaches. And then when Italy’s economy began to suffer and a recession loomed, Roberto knew it was time to once again move his family, this time to America. As he states, close friends who had settled in Massachusetts before Roberto and his family had so many wonderful things to say about New England. They were very impressed by the quality of life here, the region’s history and the great reputation that Massachusetts colleges and universities have nationally and globally.

Rosanna and Roberto’s daughter, Gabriella, is currently pursuing her bachelor’s degree in International Business and is fluent in Portuguese, English, Italian and Spanish. Roberto has been enrolled at Computer Systems Institute’s Worcester campus for over two years and is currently enrolled in the Business Career Program. He has also made many friends and enjoys learning about American culture. There are so many choices for someone looking to advance their education. “I am so fortunate to have found Computer Systems Institute, the quality of their programs, the support the instructors and staff, I am so impressed. I am planning to find a business opportunity that I can leverage my background and continue to gain real world experience.”

“New England has been a great place to experience this time in our lives,” states Roberto. New England is home to many great poets, such as Ralph Waldo Emerson who reportedly coined the phrase, “Life is a journey, not a destination.” For a family who began their journey back in Brazil, they would agree with Mr. Emerson.

Friendship Across Continents

Many students feel torn between pursuing their dreams in America and leaving their beloved families behind in their home countries. Of course, nothing will replace the bond students have with their families overseas. Nonetheless, Tian-Ying Meng, fondly known as Apple, and Olesya Timofeeva, two CSI students, have built a friendship that they treasure and take great pride in as if they have found a long-lost sister. When words of their new friendship traveled back to their homelands, their families tearfully rejoiced.

Tianying and Olesya met at CSI in the BCP program they both attended. Ever since they have been in the same class for both BCP and SKB programs. They helped each other, encouraged each other, cared for each other while ill, and were there for each other during difficult times. Their friendship has blossomed as they have achieved academic success and have remained top students in all classes they have attended as well as thrive in their Externships.

Before enrolling at CSI, Apple and Olesya grew up on different continents – Asia and Europe. Apple was from China, majored in literature at college and worked as a journalist and editor-in-chief at a TV station. Olesya was from Russia and had 10 years’ working experience as manager of the foreign economics department, SDT-Impex representation of Martimex a.s. in Moscow.

Despite busy work schedules, they are among the first to come and the last to leave their classrooms, ensuring they will not leave today’s work for tomorrow. They always submit projects ahead of time and always produce quality work with sound perceptions and insightful points, readily applying what they learned to their externships.

While they are from different countries, they share many commonalities and affinities – in their own words: “We have big dreams, the audacity to challenges difficulties, and the determination to give our best for whatever we choose to pursue.” They are grateful that CSI has provided a platform for them to meet, growing together academically and personally, becoming friends and sisters across continents.

Their life in the US is more balanced and enjoyable because they are close friends. While striving to be the best overall students at CSI, they use their leisure time to share experiences and expand on their dreams while they dine in restaurants and sip coffee in coffee shops. CSI makes possible everything from academia to work to life for international students and bridges all three unique dynamics into one exceptional, unique experience.

In the future, the two international sisters may be separated by distance, attend different schools, work on different jobs, or even return to their native countries. Still, when asked how long they will remain friends, they responded that the friendship will last forever because a sister is part of the family.

“We have been friends for years since we joined CSI. The solid relationship at CSI is one of the best things we gained in the United States. We speak different languages and come from different cultures, but we share a lot in terms of family values, life attitudes, and pursuit of excellence, which enable us to understand, connect and communicate well like sisters. We know our friendship will last forever – we just know it.”