The Charger Blog

Electrical Engineering Graduate Student Grateful for Professors’ Support

Ayah Abdallah ’21 M.S., who will be recognized as part of the University’s virtual Winter Commencement in January, appreciated the many ways the University community welcomed and supported her, as well as the opportunities she had to extend that support to her fellow students.

January 4, 2021

By Renee Chmiel, Office of Marketing and Communications

Image of Ayah Abdallah ’21 M.S. and her classmates.
Ayah Abdallah ’21 M.S. (second from right) and her classmates on campus.

Ayah Abdallah ’21 M.S. fondly remembers attending a “midnight breakfast” at the University. She was surprised to find that faculty and staff members served the students, and she thought the gesture of kindness and support shown to her and her classmates was reflective of her time as a Charger.

Image ofAyah Abdallah ’21 M.S. at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Ayah Abdallah ’21 M.S. visited the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., something she looked forward to doing upon arriving in the U.S.

“I have never had an experience like this before,” she said. “I was an awe of the down to earth gesture by the faculty. I would say that was the most filling meal I had on campus. I think I just had so much love and care on my plate that day! Sharing this experience with my best friend was the cherry on top.”

This was one of the many treasured memories Abdallah has of the experiences she had connecting with members of the University community and feeling welcomed. She took the opportunity to extend that support to her classmates as well, taking part in an event hosted by the University’s Office of Community Service and Center for Student Engagement, Leadership, and Orientation (CSELO) during which she fostered a sense of community by writing cheerful and inspiring messages and leaving them around campus.

Abdallah, who earns her master’s degree in electrical engineering, will be recognized at the University’s virtual Winter Commencement in January. She’s grateful for the support she has had from her professors, including Mohsen Sarraf, Ph.D., who worked with her on her thesis.

“He helped my thesis go smoothly from our first meeting,” said Abdallah, who is from Jordan. “He also challenged me to improve, learn more, and get the research experience that I was asking for. I loved the opportunity to work with all of the professors who taught me during my time as a graduate student, since there’s a lot to learn from each and every one of them.”

Image of Ayah Abdallah ’21 M.S. and classmates.
Ayah Abdallah ’21 M.S. (left) in Buckman Hall.
‘I became more confident in myself’

The highlight of Abdallah’s time at the University, she said, was obtaining a provost’s assistantship. She enjoyed helping students one-on-one, supervising them, and mentoring them. She’s particularly grateful for the guidance and support of the professor who helped her get the assistantship.

“I really believe I wouldn’t have gotten the assistantship without the recommendation of one of the greatest professors I ever met, the late Professor Karimi, may he rest in peace,” she said. “I will forever remain thankful for his kindness and for making this opportunity possible. I was honored to get the opportunity to work with great professors as part of this assistantship.”

Abdallah’s experience was so meaningful it inspired her to continue her education. She plans to pursue her doctorate, a decision that, she says, her professors have fully supported.

“I became more confident in myself that I can meet the challenge and successfully earn my Ph.D.,” she said. “I truly believe that learning is as important as breathing – as we can never stop breathing, we can never stop learning. One of my favorite sayings is, ‘the more I learn, the less I know,’ and I plan to keep on living this motto for years to come.”