American Univesity of Beirut

Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation’s female scholars at AUB use their skills to give back to the community

​Sally Abou Melhem, Office of Communcations,​

Zahraa Asaad is one of the many bright students who joined AUB to study in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), through the Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education (AGFE) STEM Scholars Program. This program offers young Arab achievers the right tools and opportunities to be critical thinkers and explorers, and to solve challenging real-world problems. AGFE scholars at AUB use their skills, expertise, and experiences to give back to the Arab world, both during and after their years of study.

The program has proven to be empowering to female students, who have expressed their thoughts on the opportunities this scholarship has presented them with, as women in the STEM field. So far, 33 young ambitious female scholars (57% of the total number of Al Ghurair scholars at AUB) are pursuing their degrees at AUB through this program. 

Asaad, for example, was accepted to study computer and communications engineering, allowing her to benefit from a scholarship that covers tuition and provides access to mentorship, academic advising, career support, hands-on experiences, as well as community service and volunteering opportunities. She has been continuously involved in several projects and activities, such as volunteering in the All Girls Code initiative, which aims to empower girls into perusing careers related to technology. Zahraa also helped in organizing a hands-on activities workshop that provides women with STEM-related skills.

Rasha Al Khateeb, another AGFE scholar at AUB said, “As a woman in STEM, I have the power of creativity, innovation, even entrepreneurship. As a woman in STEM, I have a greater capacity to show women's power and to deliver a strong message that women can think and do!”
AGFE women scholars have been active across a variety of community service and volunteering activities both on campus and off campus. Alaa Maarouf, a graduate student in electrical and computer engineering, delivered a workshop with Girls Got IT aiming at helping young women get hands-on experience in technology, electronics, and programming. Safaa El Haj Nasser, a student in mathematics, volunteered at MAP (Medical Aid of Palestinians). 

Badriyeh Diab, an environmental health student, worked as a field researcher in a population census project that happens every 10 years and studies the social, economic, and health situations of Palestinian families in camps. Mona Seifeddine, a civil engineering student, took part in projects that support the development of underprivileged villages in Lebanon by renovating bedrooms and playgrounds. 

“I believe that it’s my mission to let the whole world recognize women’s potential, professionally, and their effectiveness to their surroundings. Being an applied mathematics student would provide me with huge opportunities to use my critical and analytical thinking skills in real life to solve global issues in the future,” said AGFE scholar Aya Abou Ghalyoum. “Nothing is impossible when you are a STEM Scholar.”

Maysa Jalbout, CEO at Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education, said: “We are proud of our female scholars overcoming the many barriers they have faced to pursue their STEM education today and are indeed contributing to their communities already. We also know that investing in these women not only leads to success in their own futures, but prosperity for their families, and communities.  The Al Ghurair female scholars’ success is a testament to what a generation of young Arab women is ready and able to accomplish if they are supported and encouraged. We hope they will become role models for many more young women.”

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