Student Transforms Campus Accessibility and Community Engagement

Saifeldeen Abed Alrhman was granted the 2024 Graduate Student Leadership Award for his exceptional community-building and commitment to creating a more inclusive and accessible campus.

Saifeldeen Abed Alrhman’s passion for community-building has seen him working with the University’s administration to improve accessibility and create a more inclusive and welcoming campus. 

Shortly after arriving at NYU Abu Dhabi, the PhD Fellow in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering contacted and eventually joined the Inclusion, Equity, and Action Committee to work on improving independent navigation for individuals with disabilities.  

As a certified braille transcriber, he worked with others on the Committee to improve nonvisual navigation on campus while also pursuing training in braille auditing and building accessibility guidelines. The university administration openly embraced his passion for the subject, and many of his changes have been implemented around campus over the years. 

His leadership in the field also led him to join the Graduate Students Council, which focused on fostering social cohesion among graduate community members, postdocs, and researchers. His work eventually saw him nominated as president of the committee for his community building work. 

“As a contribution towards a larger vision, we prioritized fostering stronger bonds and nurturing long-term friendships within the graduate community. To achieve this, we organized gatherings such as dinners and iftars, game nights, and cooking sessions, aiming to create a sense of belonging and mitigate feelings of homesickness,” he said. 


Saifeldeen exemplifies the idea of what it means to be a complete community member at NYUAD. His research is impactful and of the highest academic standards, but it's his work as a community builder that makes him stand out. His work in raising our accessibility standards is a legacy that will benefit our community for years to come.

Professor of Engineering, Nidal Hilal

Saifeldeen, who has a visual impairment, achieved all of this while maintaining excellent academic standards and continuing his profound research which focuses on leveraging molecular science simulation techniques through machine learning. 

He started his journey at NYUAD as a Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Scholar, where he “immersed himself in an environment that epitomized excellence and limitless opportunities for growth.” Several years later, he was given the 2024 Graduate Student Leadership Award for his work on community building.  

Saifeldeen continues to work with the rest of his peers and the Committee to welcome new graduate joiners and ensure all doors remain open to our growing community.