American University of Beirut

Speakers and Moderators 7th Women in Data Science WiDS@AUB 2023


  • ​Angela Alzir Assy
    Labor Market Specialist, ​The Worldbank, Washington D.C.​

Angela Elzir Assy is a Labor Market Specialist based in the World Bank office in Beirut, Lebanon. She joined the Worldbank in 2010 as a Research Analyst based in the LebanonOffice, and in 2015, she joined the Jobs Group as a Junior Professional Associate based in Washington D.C then moved back to Lebanon. Angela leads and works on a range of operational and analytical projects focusing on the areas of jobs and employment working across sectors (women economic empowerment, digital skills for employment, entrepreneurship, private sector development). Angela holds a Master’s degree in Development Studies from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, and a Bachelor degree in Economics from the American University of Beirut (AUB).

  • Ghina Al Atat
    PhD student, IMDEA Networks Institute, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, Spain 

Ghina AlAtat is a PhD researcher with the Edge Networks Group at IMDEA Networks Institute, Madrid, Spain, under the supervision of Professor Jaya Prakash Champati. Her research focuses on distributed machine learning (ML) inference to support ML applications in the IoT and edge computing ecosystem, with a particular interest in edge intelligence. Prior to joining IMDEA, Ghina worked as a research assistant at Suliman S. Olayan School of Business and a teaching assistant at the Physics Department at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Lebanon, while pursuing her master's degree in Computational Sciences at AUB. Her thesis work involved modeling and analyzing a novel double-sided platform using a queuing theoretic approach advised by Professor Victor Araman. The work was accepted at INFORMS 2022 and the INFORMS-Revenue Management and Pricing Conference 2022, where she presented it. Ghina holds a Bachelor of Science in Physics with distinction, along with minors in Mathematics, Computer Science, and Computational Science, also from AUB. 

  • Elsa Arcaute Aizpuru​
Professor of Complexity Science, Center for Advanced Spatial Analysis University College London, London, United Kingdom

Elsa Arcaute is a Professor of Complexity Science at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis, University College London, and an Honorary Professor at Hong Kong University. She holds a masters and a PhD in theoretical physics from the University of Cambridge. Before joining UCL, she investigated processes of self-organisation in ant-colonies and social systems at the Complexity and Networks group at Imperial College. For the past 10 years, her research has focused on cities and urban systems in general, such as the emergence of hierarchies, the characterisation of resilience, the emergence of innovation and the modelling of coupled systems.​

  • Hiba Baroud
    A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation Faculty Fellow, Associate Chair, Civil and Environmental En​gineering, Associate Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Associate Professor of Computer Science, Director of Graduate Recruiting
    for Civil Engineering, 
    Vanderbilt School of Engineering, Vanderbilt University, TN, USA

Dr. Hiba Baroud is an associate professor and the associate chair in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Vanderbilt University. She holds secondary appointments in Computer Science and Earth and Environmental Science. Her research is at the intersection of data analytics and risk and resilience modeling. Her group develops and applies methods founded in statistical learning, network models, and decision analysis to evaluate infrastructure performance during disasters. She is particularly interested in uncertain and dynamic interdependencies across multiple systems (infrastructure, humans, environment). Applications are focused on smart cities, developing countries, and Arctic communities. She is the co-chair of the Risk and Resilience Measurements Committee of the Infrastructure Resilience Division in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). She serves on the editorial board of the ASCE Journal of Infrastructure Systems and as Associate Editor of the ASCE Natural Hazards Review. Hiba is the recipient of the 2019 Global Voices Fellowship, the 2020 National Science Foundation Early CAREER award, and the 2022 National Academy of Sciences Arab-American Frontiers Fellowship. In 2023, Hiba was selected as a member of the Global Young Academy.​

  • Karianne Bergen, PHD
    Assistant Professor of Earth, Environmental, & Planetary Sciences; Assistant Professor of Computer Science; Data Science Initiative; Department of Earth, Environmental, & Planetary Sciences Brown University, RI, USA

Karianne Bergen is an Assistant Professor of Data Science and Earth, Environmental & Planetary Sciences and Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Brown University.  Her research interest is in scientific machine learning  (SciML).  Her past work has focused on machine learning for  pattern recognition and discovery in large, noisy sensor data sets, with applications in earthquake seismology and biodefense. She did my postdoctoral training at Harvard University as a Data Science Initiative Postdoctoral Fellow in Computer Science.  She earned her Ph.D  (and M.S.) in Computational and Mathematical Engineering at Stanford University, and my B.Sc. in Applied Mathematics from Brown University.  She has also worked as a data scientist at MIT-Lincoln Laboratory. She is also passionate about data science education and diversity and inclusion in data science. She has taught a number of courses and workshops that aim to make data science accessible to students and professionals from a range of disciplinary backgrounds.  ​

  • ​Caroline Buckee
    Professor of Epidemiology and Associate Director, Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard; MIT Tech Review’s 35 Innovators under 35; CNN top 10: Thinker and Foreign Policy Magazine’s Global Thinkers

Dr. Caroline Buckee joined Harvard School of Public Health in the summer of 2010 as an Assistant Professor of Epidemiology, and was promoted to Associate Professor in 2017.  In 2013, Dr. Buckee was named the Associate Director of the Center for Communicable Disease Dynamics. The Buckee lab uses mathematical models and data science to understand the mechanisms driving the spread of infectious diseases, with a focus on pathogens like malaria that effect vulnerable populations in low income countries. After receiving a D.Phil from the University of Oxford, Caroline worked at the Kenya Medical Research Institute to analyze clinical and epidemiological aspects of malaria as a Sir Henry Wellcome Postdoctoral Fellow. Her work led to an Omidyar Fellowship at the Santa Fe Institute, where she developed theoretical approaches to understanding malaria parasite evolution and ecology. In 2013 Dr. Buckee was named one of MIT Tech Review’s 35 Innovators Under 35, a CNN Top 10: Thinker, and Foreign Policy Magazine’s Global Thinkers. Her work has appeared in high profile scientific journals such as Science and PNAS, as well as being featured in the popular press, including CNN, The New Scientist, Voice of America, NPR, and ABC.

  • Francesca Dominici
    Clarence James Gamble Professor of Biostatistics, Population and Data Science; Co-Director of the Data Science Initiative, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, Harvard

Francesca Dominici, PhD is the co-Director of the Harvard Data Science Initiative, at the Harvard University and the Clarence James Gamble Professor of Biostatistics, Population and Data Science at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. She is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine and of the International Society of Mathematical Statistics. She is an expert in causal inference, machine learning, Bayesian statistics. She leads an interdisciplinary group of scientists with the ultimate goal of addressing important questions in environmental health science, climate change, and biomedical science. Her productivity and contributions to the field have been remarkable. Dominici has provided the scientific community and policy makers with robust evidence on the adverse health effects of air pollution, noise pollution, and climate change. Her studies have directly and routinely impacted air quality policy. Dominici has published more than 220 peer-reviewed publications and was recognized in Thomson Reuter’s 2019 list of the most highly cited researchers–ranking in the top 1% of cited scientists in her field. Her work has been covered by the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, BBC, the Guardian, CNN, and NPR. In April 2020 she has been awarded the Karl E. Peace Award for Outstanding Statistical Contributions for the Betterment of Society by the American Statistical Association. Dominici is an advocate for the career advancement of women faculty. Her work on the Johns Hopkins University Committee on the Status of Women earned her the campus Diversity Recognition Award in 2009. At the T.H. Chan School of Public Health, she has led the Committee for the Advancement of Women Faculty.

  • Polly Hudson
    Senior Research Fellow, the Alan Turing Institute, Project Lead: Colouring Cities Research Programme

Polly Hudson is a Senior Research Fellow at The Alan Turing Institute and project lead for the Colouring Cities Research Programme. *The Alan Turing Institute is the UK's national institute for data science and artificial Intelligence.​​ She was previously a Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Advanced Spatial Analysis University College London, where she developed the Colouring Cities concept, and has also been a Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Centre for the Historic Environment, University of Oxford. Polly trained as an architectural historian, and worked initially in historic building restoration, museum and exhibition design, and community planning. In 1996 she set up the Building Exploratory charitable trust in London as a prototype for creative, multidisciplinary knowledge sharing centres about building stocks where the first iteration of Colouring London was built and tested. Polly has held public appointments with the UK’s Digital Twin Hub, The Department of Culture, Media and Sport, English Heritage, The Royal Institute of British Architects, and the National Lottery.​

  • Eileen Martin​, PHD
    Assistant Professor; Department of Geophysics; Applied Math and Statistics Department; Hydrologic Science and Engineering Program; Colorado School of Mines; Golden CO, USA
    Assistant Professor (on-leave); Department of Mathematics; Program in Computational Modeling and Data Analytics; Department of Geosciences; Virginia Tech ; Blacksburg, VA, USA

Eileen R. Martin is an assistant professor of geophysics and applied math at Colorado School of Mines (Golden, CO, USA). She holds a PhD in computational and mathematical engineering, a MS in geophysics, and BS degrees in mathematics and computational physics. Her work in computational geophysics has been recognized by a National Science Foundation CAREER grant, and the SIAM Activity Group on Geosciences Early Career Prize.​

  • Samia Melhem
    Global lead on Digital Capabilities, Digital Development Global Practice, The Worldbank, Washington D.C

Samia Melhem is a Lead Policy Specialist on Digital Development at the World Bank Group. She currently manages several digital government operations, leveraging disruptive technologies to improve delivery of public services, in education, health, and social protection. She is also currently leading research on digital resilience and digital responses to COVID-19 for public service delivery.  During her esteemed career at the WBG, Samia led operations in East and Central Europe, Asia, Middle East and Africa. She authored several publications on Telecoms Policy and Regulation, Digital government, electronic procurement, cloud computing, Innovation & Entrepreneurship, Open data, Private Public Partnerships, and gender inclusion. She holds degrees in Electrical Engineering (BS), Computer Sciences (MS), and Finance (MBA), and acquired various accreditations in project management, leadership, and disruptive technologies. She’s a part-time faculty at the George Washington University’s Elliott School of International Affairs; and is the Tech Board member representative at Life Lebanon diaspora association. 

  • Yessika Montiel
    Senior Program Manager, Amazon, United Arab Emirates

Yessika Montiel is a highly accomplished and motivated professional with extensive experience in project management, business development, and Last Mile Operations. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Chemical Engineering from the University of Rafael Urdaneta in Venezuela, and a Master's degree in International Business from Hult International Business School in San Francisco. Yessika has worked with top-tier companies such as Johnson & Johnson in the Distribution Department and is currently working with Amazon Logistics in UAE. She is currently working as a Last Mile Program Lead in Amazon Mena, where she leads strategic initiatives and manages complex projects for Amazon Last Mile Logistics. Yessika is a skilled communicator, problem solver, and leader who is passionate about driving positive change and delivering exceptional results. She is a strategic thinker, a problem solver, and a strong communicator. She is data driven decision-maker, advocate to deliver innovative solutions that lead business growth and enhance customer experiences and cost. In her own words: “Challenges drive me to excellence, and diversity keeps me motivated"​

  • Suzana Maranhão Moreno, PhD
    Blockchain Technology Strategy and Portfolio Manager, Frontiers Technology, The UN Wo​​rld Food Program Innovation Accelerator, United Nations World Food Programme
    Rome, Italy

Suzana Maranhão Moreno works in the Frontiers technologies group at the UN World Food Program Innovation Accelerator. She worked for 14 years at the Brazilian Development Bank (BNDES) on IT-projects involving blockchain, transactional banking information, ETL and business processes. She also led global standardization work for DLT/blockchain at the UN International Telecommunication Union (ITU) for 4 years. With 20 years of IT experience, she holds degrees in computer science, data science, business and economics and is now pursuing a Ph.D. at the University of Geneva.

  • Brigitte Khair-Mountain 
    Senior Strategic Advisor, Entrepreneur, Policy Analyst, United Nations Senior Women Talent Group, Founder of Gigthree, Dubai, Dubai, UAE

A Senior Strategic Advisor, Entrepreneur, Policy Analyst, and former UN official. Brigitte is a member of the United Nations Senior Women Talent Group, a member of the global roster of United Nations Resident Coordinators, and a humanitarian, development, and social entrepreneurship expert. Brigitte has over 25 years of work experience with the UN and NGOs, as well as a series of ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) advisory roles for governments, Ultra High Net Worth Individuals, royal families, and the private sector.​

  • Yara El Moussaoui
    Country Lead Support, Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA), WHO Regional Office for Africa
Experienced regional emergency infodemic management lead with WHO Africa, with twelve years of demonstrated history of working in humanitarian risk communication, community engagement, and social behaviour change. Has supported several United Nations and international non-governmental organizations emergency responses in Lebanon, the MENA region, Europe, and more recently Africa. Yara has strongly highlighted issues facing vulnerable populations since the onset of the Syrian refugee crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic, and during multiple health emergencies in Africa. Actively trained on health communication, and holder of a Masters in Sociology from the American University in Beirut focusing on conceptualizing the Lebanese Government-United Nations relations during the Syrian refugee crisis in Lebanon.​

  • ​Elodie Ngoc-thy​
    Coordinator, Africa Infodemic Response Alliance (AIRA), WHO Regional Office for Africa

Elodie brings 13 years of emergency experience and led humanitarian projects in Asia, Africa and the Middle East.  She holds a master’s degree in political sciences and a Master’s degree of Sciences in Public health from the Johns Hopkins University-Bloomberg School of Public Health. She has strong academic and professional skills in social behavior change interventions. She has been a technical advisor and capacity building manager for International and National Non-Governmental Organizations and her technical expertise cuts across sectors (health, nutrition, cash transfers, food security, livelihoods). In 2020, Elodie joined the Africa Infodemic Response Alliance as the Country Support Lead and the role consisted in piloting infodemic management approaches in 5 countries in the WHO AFRO. She hired and mentored infodemic managers to respond to public health crises in Africa, including Covid19, cholera outbreaks, polio vaccination, monkeypox and ebola. She is now the AIRA Coordinator for WHO AFRO and her role is to mobilize and coordinate efforts between   UN agencies, NGOs, media and factchecking organizations and research institutes to limit the spread of misinformation in Africa. 

  • Carole Al Sharabaty
    Founding Partner, Siren Analytics

Carole has twenty-five years of professional experience in research, teaching, consulting, technology, communication, and management. She currently holds the position of Professor of Political Science at Saint Joseph University, where she teaches various courses in political science and quantitative methods.
In addition to her academic work, Carole also serves as the Director of Research at Siren Associates, a prominent public sector consultancy firm boasting a team of 150+ consultants, experts, data scientists, and engineers. She is also a co-founder of CME Offshore, a multinational technology firm with 350+ engineers in Lebanon and over 200+ engineers located internationally in the US, Argentina, China, India, Dubai, and Europe.
Carole earned her PhD in Political Science and Quantitative Methods from Claremont Graduate University in California.

  • Priya Singh​​
    Head of Evidence Generation; United Nations World Food Programme; Rome, Latium, Italy

Priya Singh is the Head of Evidence Generation and Acting Chief of Research, Innovation and Analytics in the Supply Chain Division of the World Food Programme based in Rome, Italy.  Over a professional career spanning twelve years, she has worked in various roles in national government and multilateral agencies, focusing on data driven decision making, digital strategy, business transformation, finance and risk management.   A South African national, Ms. Singh is a chartered accountant, and holds Masters Degrees in Public Administration from the Harvard Kennedy School, and Business Administration from the University of Edinburgh. 

  • Rima Turk Ariss, PhD
    Senior Economist, Strategy, Policy, and Review Department International Monetary Fund, Washington D.C., USA

Rima Turk-Ariss joined the IMF in 2013 working on a range of assignments covering advanced economies (Sweden and Denmark), frontier (Tunisia) and emerging (Nigeria) markets, and low-income countries (Moldova). In the IMF’s Strategy, Policy, and Review Department, she was a lead contributor to the IMF’s strategy on fragile states and she reviewed arrangements for numerous countries including Cameroon, Chad, Egypt, Jordan, Paraguay, Serbia, and Tanzania. She was recently appointed as the IMF’s resident representative in Comoros. Prior to joining the IMF, Ms. Turk-Ariss was a tenured professor in finance at the Lebanese American University and a regular visiting scholar to the Bank of Finland’s Institute for Emerging Economies and the Université de Strasbourg, Ecole de Management. She has published extensively in top-tier peer-refereed journals, including on financial markets and stability, the sovereign-bank nexus, trade diversification, migrant integration, corporate debt limits, and private sector investment. She also presented her research at more than 40 international conferences. Ms. Turk-Ariss is an AUB graduate and holds a Ph.D. in finance from Cardiff Business School.​

  • ​Joline Uichanco, PhD
    Associate Professor of Technology and Operations, Director, PhD program , Ross School of Business, University of Michigan, MI, USA & Senior Research Scientist

Joline Uichanco is an Associate Professor of Technology & Operations in the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, where she has been a faculty member since 2014. Her primary research area is on data-driven decision-making for applications such as scheduling, inventory management, pricing, and humanitarian logistics. Dr. Uichanco has collaborated actively with several industry or government partners such as Target, National Grid, Best Buy, and the Philippine government. She recently served as a Senior Research Scientist at Amazon. Dr. Uichanco holds a Ph.D. in Operations Research from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).​

  • Maha Zouwayhed
    Innovation Support and Digital Accessibility Advocate

    Maha Zouwayhed is an innovation support and digital accessibility professional with over 20 years of experience in managing large-scale and cross-functional operations and projects in multiple industries, particularly in IT and higher education. With a Bachelor's degree in Business and an MBA specializing in Operations and Information Management from the American University of Beirut (AUB), she has gained expertise in IT business development, digital accessibility, system analysis and design, startups support, supply chain, and finance.
    Maha is passionate about innovation and technology, and has a keen interest in supporting tech startups, leveraging her skills to manage cross-border outreach, engagements, and operations in multinational environments. Currently, she serves as the Associate Director of the Talal and Madiha Zein AUB Innovation Park (Zein AUB iPark), where she works on engineering high-performing business models and driving collaborations. In the last three years, Maha has taken significant progress in building the ecosystem and programs for the AUB Innovation Park.
    In addition, Maha is also a digital accessibility advocate and serves as the focal point for digital accessibility at AUB. She is making strides in establishing a sustainable capacity internally and nationally in the field of digital accessibility. With her diverse functions and international engagements starting from SMLC PepsiCo, then Schneider Electric, Maha brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to collaborations related to innovation, technology, and startups.


  • ​​Mariette Awad, PhD, 
    WiDSAUB co-ambassador, Associate Professor, MSFEA

Prof. Mariette Awad is an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department of the American University of Beirut. Her book “Efficient Learning Machines: Theories, Concepts and Applications for Engineers and Systems”, published in 2015, is among the most open source downloaded books for Summer 2020 according to Springer Nature. She has more than 100 patents, conferences and journals articles and she is managing multimillions grants and multidisciplinary international collaborations.  She is a founding member of the UN ESCWA Knowledge Hub in Beirut and assists in solving central problems related to the knowledge management and decision support processes in the region. She is a WIDS ambassador and she has lead a hackathon, an AI summer school, and founded WIE affinity student group at AUB and the WIE Lebanon chapter. Prior to her academic position, she was with IBM System and Technology group where she earned management recognition, several business awards, and multiple patents. Her current research interests include machine learning, data analytics and internet of things. ​

  • Sana El Hajj
    Lecturer, Finance
    Founding member & Executive, the Lebanese Private Sector
    Suliman S. Olayan School of Business
    American University of Beirut
Sana has been an instructor at the Olayan School of Business (OSB), American University of Beirut, since 2006. Over the course of a 20-year career, which began at the Lebanese American University in 2001, Sana has acquired extensive experience teaching Accounting, Finance and related subjects, with a current undergraduate curriculum covering Corporate Finance and Financial Accounting. Her contributions to practice include extensive research of various Lebanese SMEs and case studies “The Diet Center: The SAP ERP DECISION” and “MALIKs: FRANCHISING THE BRAND”, published with IVEY PUBLISHING in 2018 and 2020 respectively. The former is listed in the Harvard Publishing Review Store and Harvard Business Education Publishing. She is also a member of OSB’s “Case HUB” that promotes case writing and teaching. 
Sana’s background is in the banking industry, as a Credit Analyst at BLOM Bank (London) and a Eurobond Trader at SAMBA (London). She also attended the Associate Development Program at Citicorp Investment Bank (London). Starting in 2001, Sana shifted her attention to the private sector.  In addition to her academic career, Sana has a wide experience as a consultant, advising in optimal business processes, budgeting, financial forecasting, implementation, and monitoring of internal controls, and conducts professional workshops and seminars.  Sana is a Founding member of the Lebanese Private Sector (LPSN ) and member of its executive committee.
She is also a member of the BOD of Wake, a non-profit organization and a cultural and educational center that strives to enforce a culture of dialogue and acceptance of religious diversity among the Lebanese. Sana holds a BA in Economics from AUB and an MBA from LAU.

  • ​​Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan, MD, MPH, FRCP
​Professor of Medicine, Founding Director of Calcium Metabolism and Osteoporosis Program, and WHO Collaborating Center for Metabolic Bone Disorders Scholars in Health Research Program at American University of Beirut, Lebanon

Dr. Ghada El-Hajj Fuleihan is Professor of Medicine, Physician-Scientist, at the American University of Beirut (AUB), Beirut, Lebanon. She is founding Director of the Calcium Metabolism and Osteoporosis Program, WHO Collaborating Center for Metabolic Bone Disorders, and of the Scholars in HeAlth Research Program at AUB. Dr. El-Hajj Fuleihan obtained her MD degree from the American University of Beirut (AUB), completed residency and fellowship training at the New England Deaconess and Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Boston. She holds a master in Public Health from the Harvard School of Public Health, Clinical Effectiveness concentration. She is the PI/PD on multiple investigator initiated grants, including the NIH D43 capacity-building grant, awarded a 5-year competitive renewal (2020-2025). Dr. El-Hajj Fuleihan’s laboratory focuses on generating evidence on the pathophysiology, prevention, and treatment of hypovitaminosis D, osteoporosis, and other metabolic bone disorders. She leads a team that conducts clinical trials, systematic reviews, and meta-analyses, and translates findings into prevention and treatment strategies. She closely collaborates with the Ministry of Health officials and international experts to generate evidence-based national and international care pathways. These include guidance and guidelines on metabolic bone diseases, by OSTEOS, ISCD, IOF, ASBMR and the Endocrine Society. She led the IOF Middle East Africa audit, launched FRAX Lebanon, the first fracture risk calculator in the Middle East. She has mentored over 64 postgraduate trainees and junior faculty; several are pursuing careers in clinical translational research, at AUB, or in the US. 
Dr. El-Hajj Fuleihan has published on her topics of interest in over 190 publications, mostly peer reviewed original investigations, chapters, invited reviews, and penned invited several Editorials, Scientific Position Statements, and commentaries in the New England of Medicine, and Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, and Nature Reviews Endocrinology. Dr. El-Hajj Fuleihan is a member of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society, and recipient of several awards including the 2013 International Society of Clinical Densitometry John P. Bilezikian Global Leadership Award, the 2016 Endocrine Society International Excellence in Endocrinology Laureate Award, and the 2017 Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health Award of Merit. She served as Clinical Science Chair, Endocrine Society’s Annual Meeting 2019; and serves a three year term on its board of directors. She also holds a lifelong appointment as the Bernard Lown Scholar in the Department of Global Health and Population, at the Harvard T.H.Chan School of Public Health.​

  • Lama Moussawi, PhD
    WiDS @AUB Conference Chair ​
    WiDS @AUB Ambassador
    Associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development
    Interim Director, Master of Science in Business Analytics
    Director, Center for Inclusive Business and Leadership for Women
    Associate Professor of Management Science
    Suliman S. Olayan School of Business

Dr. Lama Moussawi is an Associate Professor at the American University of Beirut, conducting research and teaching in the field of Management Science. Dr. Moussawi graduated with a BS in Computer Science from the American University of Beirut, and has an MBA, Master in Supply Chain Management, and a PhD degree in Management Science from the University of Texas at Dallas. Dr. Moussawi is actively involved in promoting and supporting women in the field of Data Science. She is the founder and Chair of the Women in Data Science conference at AUB, and the founding chair of the AUB Committee on the Lives and Careers of Women at AUB. She is also a co-PI of a $1.5 million funded research project to develop an index on the status of women in the formal economies in the Arab MENA region. She is actively engaged in issues related to women in operations research at the WORMS (Women in Operations Research and Management Science) meetings at the annual international INFORMS (Institute for Operations Research and Management Science) conference, as well as the WIEA (Women in Industrial Engineering US-Turkey) workshops. Furthermore, Dr. Moussawi played a key role in developing a Master program in Business Analytics in the Olayan School of Business at AUB. Dr. Moussawi is thrilled to be a WiDS Ambassador, and to host the WiDS conference for the third time at AUB and sees it as a great opportunity to inspire young girls to join the field by showcasing global female leaders in Data Science, and educate the community of students, faculty, and business practitioners about the latest developments in the field.​

  • Sara Nejm, PHD
    WiDS @AUB ambassador
    Associate Director, AI Data Science and Computing Hub
    Assistant Professor of Physics
    Department of Physics
    Faculty of Arts and Sciences
    American University of Beirut
Sara Najem is the Associate Director for computational sciences at the Hub for Artificial
 Intelligence Data Science and Computing at AUB. Prior to joining AUB, Dr. Najem was a researcher at the National Center for Remote Sensing of the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS-L) studying city-scale out-of- equilibrium processes like forced refugee migration and investigating the relationship between urban morphology and energy. Since joining the Department of Physics in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences as an assistant professor, she has been teaching computational physics highlighting its relevance to various fields of interest, from thin films to out-of-equilibrium physics and discrete gravity. Dr. Najem is currently the graduate advisor for the Graduate Program for Computational Sciences (GPCS), guiding students to a variety of relevant problems across fields and faculties/schools including hydrogeology, epidemiology, and operations research. Her own research focuses on statistical physics and complexity science applied to living systems and urban environments. She is also a fellow at the Center for Advanced Mathematical Science.

  • Maha Zouwayhed
    Innovation Support and Digital Accessibility Advocate

Maha Zouwayhed is an innovation support and digital accessibility professional with over 20 years of experience in managing large-scale and cross-functional operations and projects in multiple industries, particularly in IT and higher education. With a Bachelor's degree in Business and an MBA specializing in Operations and Information Management from the American University of Beirut (AUB), she has gained expertise in IT business development, digital accessibility, system analysis and design, startups support, supply chain, and finance.
Maha is passionate about innovation and technology, and has a keen interest in supporting tech startups, leveraging her skills to manage cross-border outreach, engagements, and operations in multinational environments. Currently, she serves as the Associate Director of the Talal and Madiha Zein AUB Innovation Park (Zein AUB iPark), where she works on engineering high-performing business models and driving collaborations. In the last three years, Maha has taken significant progress in building the ecosystem and programs for the AUB Innovation Park.
In addition, Maha is also a digital accessibility advocate and serves as the focal point for digital accessibility at AUB. She is making strides in establishing a sustainable capacity internally and nationally in the field of digital accessibility. With her diverse functions and international engagements starting from SMLC PepsiCo, then Schneider Electric, Maha brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to collaborations related to innovation, technology, and startups.​​​​​

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