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Open Mainframe Project’s Mentorship Program Welcomes its Largest Summer Mentee Class

By | July 21, 2021

We are happy to welcome a record 14 mentees to the Open Mainframe Project Summer Mentorship Program!

Since its launch, the Mentorship program has helped more than 50 students gain real-world knowledge in a hands-on learning experience with Linux, open source and mainframes. It also provides a more defined path for Open Mainframe Projects to connect with the next generation of student developers to inject more talent into their developer base. Each mentee applies, expresses interest in one of Open Mainframe Project’s 18 current projects and Working Groups, and are matched with a mentor who is a leader or an active developer in the mainframe community.

The Summer Mentorship, which kicked off in June and goes through the end of August, paired these mentees with thought leaders from member organizations such as Broadcom, IBM, Micro Focus and Western & Southern Financial Group.  These mentors work with Robert Dahlberg, Chair of the Open Mainframe Project Mentorship Program and Ph.D. Assistant Professor at VCU, to design a project that addresses a specific mainframe development or research challenge.

Not only is this the biggest mentee class we’ve ever had – it’s also the most with a diverse group of Open Mainframe projects. From incubation projects – Mainframe Open Education, Polyephaly, Software Discovery Tool, to active projects – ATOM, COBOL Programming Course, Zowe – and the COBOL Working Group – this class of mentees have found their Obi-Wan Kenobi to help teach them open source, mainframe technology and more.

Meet the Open Mainframe Project 2021 Summer Mentees and Mentors below.


Problem: The Atom Syntax highlighter needs updates to better aid developers and the publishing procedure needs to be ironed out so the code changes can be pushed out to Atom users.

Mentorship Description: Update the syntax highlighters adding support for macro statements, highlighting commas and parentheses, and support for variables. Also add new snippets to test different aspects of the syntax highlighting grammar.

Krushnal Patel & Walter Church

Mentee: Krushnal Patel, Delhi Technological University, India

  • A FullStack Developer, Software Lead at TDR-SDC (a team aiming to develop the first autonomous F1 car in India)
  • Fun Fact: If he could be a superhero, he would be Professor X from X-men!

Mentor: Walter Church, Advisory Software Engineer at IBM

  • Joined IBM in 2015 after getting his BS in Computer Engineering
  • Fun Fact: Brews Mead at home

COBOL Programming Course (2 Mentees)

Problem: The COBOL Programming Course needs to update materials and instructions for the most recent Zowe LTS release. Beyond that, additional topics will be added to the “Getting Started” course such as labs for SEARCH for table handling in COBOL and improving the introductory JCL content.

Mentorship Description: Our popular “Getting Started” Course will be updated to leverage the latest Zowe release and new content will be added to our “Advanced Topics” course.

Hartanto Ario Widjaya & Michael Bauer

Mentee: Hartanto Ario Widjaya, Singapore Management University, Singapore

  • He was one year of experience with COBOL and mainframes! Best part of the year? The community.
  • Fun Fact: He is  strongly considering technical enablement or teaching roles as a career

Mentor: Michael Bauer, Product Owner at Broadcom

  • An active contributor for the COBOL Programming Course & Zowe TSC. He’s also the Zowe CLI Squad Lead.
  • Fun fact: He races sprint cars

Ahmed Eid & Sudharsana Srinivasan

Mentee: Ahmed Eid, Al-Azhar University, Egypt 

  • In the last few years, he has taught himself how to program using free and open-source resources
  • Fun Fact: He can’t watch any movie without hacking scenes and pointing out the fake details

Mentor: Sudharsana Srinivasan, IBM Z Advocacy Program Manager at IBM

  • She’s really passionate about the IBM Z platform, COBOL and working with the next generation of mainframers
  • Fun Fact: Classical Indian music and dance instructor

COBOL Working Group (2 Mentees)

Problem: Billions of lines of COBOL are still running the core IT of thousands of companies but those applications have largely been left out of modern advances in IT.

Mentorship Description: COBOL Modernization – demonstrate the options for modernizing an existing COBOL application to address the business needs and prove the future possibilities.  He’ll start with the core application of a theoretical mid-tier bank that was losing business to the competition due to their inability to deliver banking services with a contemporary user experience. He’ll then design a modern UI, and API enable the existing COBOL application in order to deliver a fast and safe application modernization and prove that If a university student can do it, any business can too.

Sudhanshu Dubey, Guy Sofer & Gary Evans

Mentee: Sudhanshu Dubey, Guru Nanak Dev Engineering College, India

  • He was introduced to Mainframes and COBOL through Master the Mainframe 2020 Program, so he is fairly new but very curious and excited to begin this mentorship
  • Fun Fact: He’s really into Anime, Manga and listening to music so he can have long conversations about them.

Mentor: Guy Sofer, Product Manager – Application Intelligence and Modernization at Micro Focus

  • 14 years of Software Development experience with an expertise in mainframe code analysis
  • Fun Fact: Likes long distance running, Scotch and IPAs

Mentor: Gary Evans, Global Chief Technologist at Micro Focus

  • 35 years in Software Development industry and is a mainframe modernization expert and evangelist
  • Fun Fact: Sports fan, especially Cricket and Soccer

CICS and Laptop Option for COBOL Working Group (2nd Mentorship)

Problem: Throughout the world there are students who want to learn mainframe skills, but for whom an internet connection is not available or consistent.  An offline version of the course that could be downloaded from a public or university internet connection can help to produce more equitable outcomes for this population.

Mentorship Description: This project will further extend that self-contained environment to deliver new skills in the form CICS COBOL programming basics. In addition, the learning platform will be packaged such that it can be run on a laptop.

Joshua Fogus, Gary Evans & Misty Decker

Mentee: Joshua Fogus,  Oregon State University, Oregon

  • Earning a degree in Computer Science but already has a BS in Psychology and a M.A. in Human Behavior & Society
  • Fun Fact: Lifestyle tinkerer in the middle of a “no-furniture” experiment

Mentor: Gary Evans, Global Chief Technologist at Micro Focus (see above)

Mentor: Misty Decker, Product Marketing Director at Micro Focus

  • 29 years of experience in a variety of Mainframe positions
  • Fun Fact: She has served as a beer judge at TAP NY for the last 20 years

Mainframe Open Education 

Problem: The Mainframe Open Education project needs guidance on those who are new to the Mainframe. Understand what resources should be made available, how it should be structured to easily find and use, etc.

Mentorship Description: Help get the Mainframe Open Education off the ground – identify topics, pilot the structure, establish processes, define personas, be part of a work stream, etc.

Tye Glenz & Lauren Valenti

Mentee: Tye Glenz, Robert Morris University, Pennsylvania

  • Member of Top Secret Colonials, an RMU organization about cybersecurity
  • Fun Fact: Built his own PC for school and gaming

Mentor: Lauren Valenti, Head of Mainframe Education And Customer Engagement at Broadcom

  • 20+ years of industry experience with 8+ of those in Mainframe
  • Fun Fact: Learning how to ski with her 8-year-old son


Problem: Need an interface to z/OS which will mimic z/OS source control systems, using as much open source as possible and allow a developer to just develop code.

Mentorship Description: Update Polycephaly to support languages, correct outstanding issues, and bring the code more current and inline with IBM releases.

Innocent Onwukanjo & Jerry Edgington

Mentee: Innocent Onwukanjo, University of Uyo, Nigeria

  • He has 3 years of experience in DevOps Engineering and 5 years experience in IT support and System Administration
  • Fun Fact: Free thinker and very young idealist

Mentor: Jerry Edgington, zSeries System Programmer

  • He has 35 years of zSeries Experience and has been a sole developer for almost 6 years
  • Fun Fact: He has a 3rd degree Black Belt

Software Discovery Tool (2 mentees)

Problem: Need to add z/OS sources to Software Discovery Tool so it can expand beyond support for just Linux distributions.

Mentorship Description: Develop back and front end support for z/OS in the Flask framework (Python), and work with the team to create the initial JSON source file for open source z/OS software.

Divya Goswami, Indranil Mandal & Elizabeth Joseph

Mentee: Divya Goswami, Heritage institute of Technology, India

  • She mainly lurks around system architecture and likes to debug code
  • Fun Fact: She’s a huge fan of Tom Hiddleston

Mentee: Indranil Mandal, Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, India

  • When he initially learned about mainframes, he thought they were  “old, chunky and obsolete” machines
  • Fun Fact: He has extensively mentally prepped for the end of the world or a zombie apocalypse

Mentor: Elizabeth K. Joseph, Developer Advocate at IBM

  • She has been an Open Source Software contributor for nearly 20 years and spent more than 15+ years as a Linux Systems Administrator
  • Fun Fact: She is a huge Star Wars fan

Zowe (5 mentees)

Zowe API Mediation Layer Metrics Service

Problem: System administrators using Zowe and the API Mediation Layer want to understand the overall health, security, and performance of the Mediation Layer and its onboarded services. Currently, there is no integrated way to view metrics that give insight in these areas.

Mentorship Description: Create a microservice that will collect and display transport and system metrics for API Mediation Layer services.

Kumar Saurabh Raj & Carson Cook

Mentee: Kumar Saurabh Raj, Bhagalpur College of Engineering, India

  • He is an open source enthusiast and enjoys working on distributed systems, cloud technologies and DevOps
  • Fun Fact: He is a Hobbyist Photographer and Table Tennis Player

Mentor: Carson Cook, Software Engineer at IBM

  • Joined IBM in 2020 after graduating with a Computer Engineering BASc
  • Fun Fact: Adopted a cat that has no teeth

Zowe to Slack integration

Problem: Slack users may want to query a z/OS system with questions like “where are my jobs,” “what is the status of my CICS region?”  Doing this from a language interface within a chat client like slack won’t involve context switching.  Slack also allows sharing of links, so if a slack user wants to say “Hey @bob, have you seen this log message?” if this can be shared in-line.  Slack also provides notification support, so a scenario could be to let a user know when a job finished, or when it abended, so watches can be created.

Mentorship Description: Create a slack plugin based around the Zowe node SDK that will allow an end user to interact with a z/OS system, aka Zowe SlackBot.

Swetank & Joe Winchester

Mentee: Swetank, Galgotias University, India

  • He is involved in code communities in campus as well as in other code communities in Delhi NCR
  • Fun Fact: He loves to play around with JavaScript and is an avid reader

Mentor: Joe Winchester, Senior Technical Staff Member at IBM

  • Joined IBM in 1997 and has worked on several open source projects such as Java and Eclipse
  • Fun fact: He likes to cook, astronomy and go mountain biking

Zowe Explorer Extension Templates

Problem: There is no guidance or documentation available to help Zowe extenders build Zowe-related VS Code extensions that extends Zowe Explorer capabilities (menu or tree) or provides direct connection to backend services and work well within Zowe ecosystem (e.g. use Zowe CLI profiles).

Mentorship Description: Create template VS Code extension(s) similar to Zowe CLI sample but tailored for mainframe.

Muhammad Ali & Dan Kelosky

Mentee: Muhammad Ali, Kano University of Science And Technology, Nigeria

  • He learned fundamental mainframe skills through the Master the Mainframe program, learned python by himself  and is always open to learning new things related to computers
  • Fun Fact: Game lover

Mentor: Dan Kelosky, Software Engineer at Broadcom

Zowe Explorer IntelliJ Plug-in

Problem:  IntelliJ IDEA is one of the most popular integrated development environments among software developers. It is best known for its Java variant, but there are also options for Kotlin, JavaScript, Python, PHP and others. All of these environments are built on the same platform and plugins developed for one can be used in any of the other variants (subject to specific module dependencies/independencies). Currently, there isn’t an extensible IntelliJ Plug-in that streamlines interaction with mainframe data-sets, USS files, and Jobs.

Mentorship Description: Develop a Zowe plugin for the IntelliJ family of development environments leveraging API ML exposed APIs.

Michal Malík & Pavlin Zahariev

Mentee: Michal Malík, Czech Technical University of Prague,  Czech Republic

  • He did his thesis on “Mathematical modeling of phase interface using lattice Boltzmann method.”
  • Fun Fact: He gets lost quite often but enjoys it, if he has the time

Mentor: Pavlin Zahariev, Senior SW Engineer/Architect at Broadcom

  • He joined Broadcom in 2019 and has been actively involved with Zowe since then
  • Fun Fact: He enjoys being swimming, guitar playing and collecting hi-fi equipment.

Create SDK written for Java to interact with the Zowe

Problem:  Currently, there are Zowe Client SDKs for Node, Python, and Swift. This proposal is for the development of a Java Client SDK.

Mentorship Description: Develop a Zowe Client SDK for Java.  A Java Client SDK would expand the development community potential to build apps/scripts on Zowe SDKs and provide a foundation upon which an IntelliJ IDEA Zowe plug-in could be developed.

Nikunj Goyal and Leonid Baranov

Mentee: Nikunj Goyal, J.C. Bose University of Science and Technology, India

  • Interested in a variety of fields from blockchain to web development
  • Fun Fact: He loves to travel and watching war documentaries.

Mentor: Leonid Baranov, Staff SW Engineer at Broadcom

  • Joined Broadcom in 2020 and working on Zowe Brightside and VSCode plugins
  • Fun Fact: He enjoys biking and physics

The mentees will be blogging about their experience. COBOL’s mentees Joshua and Sudhanshu Dubey already started sharing their journey. You can find their blogs here: “Offline COBOL & CICS Education” and “COBOL Modernization: The Way Forward.” Stay tuned here for more.