First AUC Graduate of Al Ghurair STEM Scholars: My Master's was Better than I Expected

Menna Hasan (MSc '18): My master’s at AUC was even better than I expected
Menna Hasan (MSc '18): My master’s at AUC was even better than I expected

With a Master of Science in nanotechnology, Menna Hasan (MSc ’18) is the first AUC graduate of Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program.

Hasan, who received her Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Alexandria University, came out of AUC not only with a degree, but an impactful experience accumulated over the course of two years. She is satisfied with the significant step forward she took in her career. “Alhamdolelah! I feel great and proud of my work,” she reflected. “My master’s at AUC was even better than I expected.”

From Alex to AUC

A suggestion from a friend about AUC and an email about the Al Ghurair fellowship were enough to have the Alexandrian native make the move to AUC and pursue one of the University’s most advanced science degrees.

At first, it was tough for Hasan to cope with all the changes. “There were some challenges, like being away from my family and leaving my home city,” she recounted. “But managing my time was also tough: finishing my courses, my thesis and working as a research assistant. There were difficult times in those two years, but I really enjoyed this period of my life.”

Students who are part of Al Ghurair’s cohort have testified that the scholarships and fellowships are not only a way for them to pursue an education, but also to get to know themselves better. Starting with the applications, candidates are given questions that allow them to reflect on who they are and what they hope to be.

Since coming to AUC is a huge shift for most students coming from other cities and countries, the program works diligently to offer students the best academic and social experience possible. “The Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education was very supportive and very generous toward its scholars,” Hasan affirmed. “I’m grateful for them, and their coordinator, Ms. Soha Khater. They helped me have a clear mind and focus on my studies. They went beyond sponsoring the costs of my education to facilitating opportunities for my personal and professional growth, ensuring that I graduate today more qualified and work-ready. They managed and provided me with all my needs during this period.”

With the shifts and changes that come with pursuing a master’s degree, Hasan was introduced to Nageh Allam, associate professor of physics and an expert in the field of materials sciences and engineering who is known for his multidisciplinary work in nanotechnology, chemistry and physics. Hasan got to know more about Allam’s research, enabling her to join his team and developing her own knowledge in the field. “I got to know amazing people like Professor Allam and his Energy Materials Laboratory group,” Hasan stated. “This helped me delve even deeper into nanoscience and the physical and chemical properties of nanomaterials, which will help me later in pursuing my PhD in nanotechnology.”

What’s Next?

It’s safe to say that the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program’s first AUC graduate is possibly destined for long nights at the laboratory, which will undoubtedly result in innovative discoveries.

“We are incredibly proud of Menna and every Al Ghurair Scholar,” said Maysa Jalbout, Abdulla Al Ghurair Foundation for Education’s chief executive officer. “Menna is our first graduate in the Al Ghurair STEM Scholars Program at AUC. We have high hopes for her future. Her success is a testament to what a generation of young Arabs is ready and able to accomplish, if they are supported and encouraged.”

As Hasan prepares for a doctorate in nanotechnology at AUC, she says she wants to specifically focus on the environment and how this technology can be utilized effectively toward renewable and clean energy resources. For her long-term goals, Hasan wants to take it up a notch and go global. “I hope that my research will advance sustainable energy solutions in the Arab world and inspire other young scientists to get involved in contributing to a changing global energy agenda,” she affirmed.

Like a true researcher who relies on curiosity and multiple tries to reach success, she tells future cohorts of the program and graduate students taking similar steps to embrace their thoughts and questions. “Figure out what you’re curious about; know it and develop it,” she advised. “Do not give up when you fail because it’s part of the process. Keep fighting until your dreams come to life.”