Khalid Al-Naemi is preparing to begin graduate studies in genetic mycology at McGill University this fall
Khalid Al-Naemi is preparing to begin graduate studies in genetic mycology at McGill University this fall

Class of 2019, one year later: Khalid Al-Naemi prepares to make his mark in academia

One year ago, the Class of 2019 graduated from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university. We are catching up with just a few of these young men and women to learn what they have done, and what they will be doing next.


A Class of 2019 graduate in Biological Sciences, Khalid Al-Naemi will take a big step toward a promising academic career when he begins a master’s degree at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, this coming fall. Bolstered by a prestigious scholarship from Qatar University (QU), he would like to go on and pursue a PhD as well.

The QU award required Khalid to choose a pre-approved field of study. With advice and encouragement from his former CMU-Q professors, he has chosen genetic mycology, which is the study of fungi. He plans to eventually teach courses in molecular biology, cancer biology, and mycology at QU, a long-term commitment that he sees as “a win-win-win situation” for himself, Qatar University, and of course, Qatar.

“I will be making it possible for QU to offer new coursework for students to expand their knowledge. I’ll certainly have a unique role,” he said.

While Khalid distinguished himself at CMU-Q for his dedication to learning and his interest in research, he also developed an interest in teaching: “I have this drive to know things for the sake of knowing. I learned I loved both teaching from being a course assistant. I enjoyed explaining the scientific concepts to other students.”

The academic environment at CMU-Q taught Khalid to appreciate a holistic approach to teaching. One course in particular made a particularly big impression. Called “Chemistry of Addiction,” the course delved into how policy makers can use scientific knowledge to address societal issues.

“It’s fascinating to expand the teaching of pure science, law, dentistry, and medicine to address real-life problems. It encouraged the students to think, it wasn’t just an information dump.”

While Khalid knows the next few years will be challenging, he is confident that he has the skills he learned at CMU-Q to begin on the right footing.

“I’m at the tip of the iceberg and it’s a very deep discipline that I am still learning. But I have my CMU work ethic, and the drive and motivation to inspire future students to pursue science. As Andrew Carnegie says: ‘My heart is in the work’.”

Khalid Al-Naemi was an avid student researcher while at CMU-Q.

Khalid Al-Naemi was an avid student researcher while at CMU-Q.

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