Until then, I had always seen myself at a more traditional, technical university where I could study alongside countless engineers in an environment tailored specifically for technical people.
At the time of my visit, I was living in Kazakhstan, slowly coming to the realization that there exists an entire world beyond my own. I began to cultivate a sense of curiosity that would continuously edge me out of my comfort zone. My visit to NYUAD intensified those feelings.
Here, I found a group of people whose energy was contagious and invigorating. I wanted to be an engineer, but more fundamentally I wanted to begin interacting with the wider world. With students from over 100 countries, NYUAD seemed like the obvious place to be.
I get excited about grand challenges in fields ranging from environmental conservation to space exploration.
The application of engineering seems to hold the key to successfully embarking on these endeavors and I want to be at the heart of these undertakings.
Starting in first year, I began working on the reefRover project. My team set out to build an autonomous underwater vehicle that would revolutionize the way marine biologists collect data concerning coral reefs.
We believed that if we could increase their research material, they could more successfully usher society to coexist responsibly with these delicate underwater ecosystems. The project is the most difficult I have ever embarked on, riddled with countless technical obstacles. Today, it is my Capstone project and the larger purpose keeps me motivated to continue the hard work.
Matt Karau has been the most influential teacher I've had.
He has taught me how to be an engineer in today's world focusing on what problems to work on, and how to thoughtfully endeavor to solve them. He has showed me that engineering is a process that starts much earlier than traditionally thought.
Instead of being technical problem solvers, he invites us to own projects from inception, identify the problems, ideate on remedies, and bring solutions. He has cultivated a space, the Engineering Design Studio, where I spend most of my waking hours. He has provided unwavering support for each and every one of my undertakings.