Dean Michael Trick and the CMU-Q graduates of 2020 and 2021 at QF Convocation.
Dean Michael Trick and the CMU-Q graduates of 2020 and 2021 at QF Convocation.

“Our QF journey has been filled with challenges and memories – and this is how we grow”: CMU-Q alumni

As they graduate, QF students speak about how they aim to drive change in their societies and make a positive impact on the world.

Originally published by Qatar Foundation, May 27.

When Dina Abdelazeem joined Qatar Foundation partner university Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar four years ago, her goal was to “expand my horizons of knowledge and build my character as a young adult getting ready to enter the global business field and make an impact.”

Now, as she graduates, she looks back on her time as a student at Education City and says: “During these years, I have gone through a lot of experiences – from learning and challenging myself, creating long-lasting friendships, to traveling and utilizing my leadership skills. On the day of my graduation, I feel that I have achieved a lot, and I aspire for more.

“Although there have been some challenges in my academic career, I acquired many skills and much knowledge, which I will look to invest in society after graduation. Within the labor market, I will prove that I can make a positive change.”

According to Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) business administration graduate Dina, graduating during an ongoing pandemic meant that it is important for students to realize how they can cope with the challenges posed by these times, focus on the positives, and not let the negatives define their university experience.

“Although our time on campus was cut short due to the pandemic, it made us stronger,” she says. “We have now mastered the skill of adapting to a world which is constantly changing, and which is now changing at an even faster pace.

“The pandemic allowed me to appreciate all the little things more, and realize that the most important factor in the success – and the charm – of CMU-Q is the new batch of young adults that come through its door every year and carry along the torch of Tartan spirit from the generation before.

“Even though COVID-19 has had an influence on our journey, it did not define it.”

Dina Albdelazeem, CMU-Q Class of 2021

Dina Albdelazeem, CMU-Q Class of 2021

Before joining CMU-Q, Maryam Al-Darwish took some computer science courses that the university offered for high school students, and realized this field was what she wanted to study for the next four years.

“During my freshman year, I found out that it was going to be hard,” she says. “We used to spend the whole day at CMU-Q, and even when I went back home, I always had an assignment to do.

“At one point, I almost changed my major, but with the support of the QF community, I decided to give myself another chance – the chance that enabled me to get to this point and graduate.”

Working towards graduation amid COVID-19 has created new challenges for QF’s Class of 2021, and for Maryam one of the most noticeable aspects of this challenge has been making the switch from studying in groups to studying individually. But, she says, there have been positive aspects to this.

“The Thursday majlis we held, where we all meet, was the most beautiful thing we used to do at the university, and I will never forget that,” she said. “But even though this is not how I pictured my graduation circumstances to be, I am so proud of myself and my fellow graduates for pulling through and making it to the end”.

After graduating, Maryam plans to pursue her studies in the US and obtain a master’s degree in cyber security. “QF has prepared me for it,” she said. “As our professor Khaled Harras used to tell us: ‘Don’t work hard, work smart’, and I have learned how to study smart and use my knowledge in a way that means I can apply it in real-life situations.”

Maryam Al-Darwish, CMU-Q Class of 2021

Maryam Al-Darwish, CMU-Q Class of 2021

Realizing his passion for designing digital experiences, and their role in strengthening the relation between humans and technology, Andrew Edward decided to enroll to CMU-Q to study information systems. And as he graduates, he feels proud that his choice was right.

“The journey since I joined QF has been packed with so many beautiful achievements and memories – it was challenging, but that is how we grow,” he says.

“In these four years, we have traveled to three continents, hosted the biggest student-led Hackathon in the history of CMU-Q, met with the President of Rwanda to discuss the future of education in Rwanda and Africa, won one of the most iconic football leagues in the history of CMU-Q, and met new friends from around the world.

“QF has given me the confidence and platform to lead so many local initiatives and initiatives that span over continents. I learned that we all need to make mistakes, we all need to fail, to actually succeed.”

After graduation, Andrew aims to work in user experience design for digital products, making sure the digital world is accessible to everyone. And he says: “I am so lucky and privileged that I was a CMU-Q student. I owe the fact that I am the person I have now become to my university – a university that, for me, has been home.”

Andrew Edward, CMU-Q Class of 2021

Andrew Edward, CMU-Q Class of 2021

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