Two NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) seniors, Abdulla Alhashmi (UAE) and Munib Mesinovic (Bosnia and Herzegovina), have been selected as 2020 UAE Rhodes Scholars. They are the latest recipients of this prestigious international award, which enables exceptional students to pursue postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford in England.
Abdulla Alhashmi, from the UAE, is a double major in Economics and Philosophy and has pursued work experiences in these dual areas of interest. Alhashmi is currently pursuing an internship at the UAE Education and Human Resources Council (EHRC), where he supports in conducting research to streamline the journey from education to employment within the UAE. In the summer of 2018, Alhashmi worked as a trainee at Dubai Exports, the export promotion agency of the Dubai Economy.
Alhashmi has been active in service to the NYUAD and broader community throughout his four years. As a volunteer with the Boys Education Network (BEN) at NYUAD, he facilitated workshops on leadership, community, and empathy with secondary school students. He was a co-organizer and lead facilitator of the first ‘Diversity in Education’ Youth Circle at NYUAD, an effort to foster community dialogue on the topic of diversity and tolerance in higher education. Earlier this year, he served as an Emirati dialect coach for Ramsah Table at NYUAD, a bi-weekly language conversation group for Emirati dialect learners and speakers.
“I applied for the Rhodes Scholarship because I want to continue my journey of knowledge acquisition, self-discovery, and service,” says Alhasmi. “As a Rhodes Scholar, I will expand my economic tool kit at one of the finest academic institutions in the world while surrounded by a motivated group of individuals that are excited to learn, to think seriously about their ethical commitments and responsibilities, and to make a positive change in our world.”
His plans at Oxford include investigating the role that education plays in a country's transition towards becoming a knowledge-based economy. After that, he intends to continue his graduate studies and develop his interest in government policy work.
Munib Mesinovic is majoring in Electrical Engineering. He has spent much of his time at NYUAD focused on determining how innovative technologies can be applied, ethically and responsibly, to helping people with disabilities and those struggling with significant health challenges. His senior Capstone project is focused on developing a multi-sensor armband that is able to predict risk scores of heart attacks and provide personalized prognoses.
Mesinovic was a team member of the award-winning NYUAD 2018 iGEM team, developing a handheld device with biochips to measure food and water safety – in under 20 minutes – during the competition. He believes that to successfully combat healthcare challenges, education is crucial.
Mesinovic has been deeply involved in advocacy and other work involving people with disabilities – or people of determination -- while at NYUAD. He led a project to teach children with disabilities 3D geometry utilizing VR headsets, and has also facilitated computer workshops for people of determination and led dozens of volunteers at the MENA Special Olympics at NYUAD. Mesinovic has been a regular volunteer at the Future Rehabilitation Center in Abu Dhabi.
The ethical dilemmas associated with Artificial Intelligence has been a subject of interest for Mesinovic, a topic he has explored as an NYU Social Impact Fellow, in opinion pieces for The Gazelle, and as one of the leaders of Cyber#, the cybersecurity student group.
“We can transcend the social model of disabilities by using technology, but those technologies need to be developed considering disabilities,” says Mesinovic. “Artificial Intelligence could not just be revolutionary in disability studies, but also in healthcare. Our body creates tremendous amounts of data every second that mostly go to waste, and employing that resource for our own benefit is at the core of my career ambitions.”
At Oxford, he plans to explore new ways that AI can be applied to challenges affecting humanity, including and especially healthcare. Ultimately, he hopes to focus on developing transformative assistive and healthcare technology for the consumer market, collaborating with public and governmental agencies to realize and regulate innovation in this field.
Established in 1902 by the will of the late British businessman Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship is one of the world's oldest and most recognizable awards for international fellowship and academic study. Applicants are selected through an intensive process including a written application and in-person interviews.
NYU Abu Dhabi has produced 14 Rhodes Scholars in just seven years, the highest number of Rhodes Scholars per student of any university in the world.