Maryam Al Hammadi

Part of something bigger than myself

COVID-19 has the power to create great opportunities, and take them away. UAE National Maryam Al Hammadi, Class of 2019, knows this first-hand.

NYUAD: How has the pandemic affected your path?

Maryam Al Hammadi: The first step I took to kickstart my career after graduation didn’t work out because of COVID-19. I was supposed to start an internship at the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC last spring but couldn’t go. So, I talked to the NYUAD Career Development Center about some options and found out about an emerging research group called CoronaNet.

NYUAD: What’s CoronaNet?

The CoronaNet Research Project is a worldwide effort that tracks government COVID-19 policies. I expressed my interest and was assigned to be a regional manager for the Middle East. My job is to oversee a team of researchers and data entry, among other things.

NYUAD: What does your work mean to you?

Being part of CoronaNet is such a powerful experience for me. I feel like I’m giving back and contributing — part of something bigger than myself. I never saw myself doing something like this but in the process I’ve discovered that research allows you to expand your interests. Working at CoronaNet has really broadened my horizons.

NYUAD: What first comes to mind when you think about NYUAD, and why?

Definitely my study away experience. I did J-Term in New York and a semester abroad in Florence. Both of those experiences have really anchored me, given me perspective, and prepared me for life. I’m more inclined to put myself out there, make my own way, and see where that takes me.

NYUAD: Any pandemic-time pet projects going on?

Oh, yes! I started my own documentary club. We meet almost every week to talk about different films from culture to crime to climate change. I’ve actually tried to fashion the discussions after my Core classes at NYUAD. It’s collaborative but casual — a safe space to talk about the issues of the day.