Farah Shamout’s meteoric rise as an academic has seen her grow from a budding student enrolled at NYU Abu Dhabi to a Rhodes Scholar completing a PhD at the University of Oxford, and finally coming back full circle to where she started her university career.
Just three years after graduating from NYUAD with a Bachelor of Engineering, Shamout fnds herself back on campus on a first name basis with the faculty she called professors just a few years ago, and conducting exciting research in machine learning in the health sector.
The decision to come back to an environment she knows fosters research and learning was easy, but the Rhodes Scholar is driven deeper by a desire to have a larger impact on the region she calls home. In particular, her work on machine learning in health could have much wider benefits for a rapidly growing field.
“In the Arab world in general, all the doctors I’ve spoken to here are excited about research. You can meet doctors who think that the risks of AI outweigh its benefits and they won’t be excited at all. The culture here is more open to it and I see potential here for my research to grow,” she said.
Being a young researcher in a nascent field will open up the opportunity for her work to have a larger impact in an environment that prioritizes faculty work. Her research will work closely with entities around the region to help develop solutions in the health sector. She has found endless support in NYUAD in research facilities and faculty.
“This is the only place I would have come back to. NYU supports the faculty in a way where you can actually do your research. Faculty in other places are often spending most of their time writing grant proposals, which is something you do here but it isn’t what drives you every day. Here you’re driven by your quality research,” she said.