By Andy Gregory and Naser Al Wasmi, NYU Abu Dhabi Public Affairs
The Delma Island that 28-year-old Arts and Humanities research assistant grew up on with its modern roads, hotel, and airport is in stark contrast to the Delma Island of past generations. The island, some 40 kilometers off of Abu Dhabi’s western coast, has a fascinating history that Alqubaisi is determined to bring to light by talking to people who lived there many decades ago, and still do.
Her interviews with several long-time residents, including a woman in her 80s, reveal captivatingstories of fishing and pearl diving, during a time when life in this quiet, idyllic Arabian Gulf island was both peaceful and difficult. Most women worked all day in the blistering heat to collect fresh water and firewood for cooking, while the men dived for pearls and left home for months at a time to trade in nearby countries.
Geographically different, “Delma Island plays a key role in the national identity and heritage of the UAE,” she says. “The combination of archaeological sites, historical buildings, and traditions make Delma Island unique as a heritage research site. Delma is a fertile area for research.”
"To me, research is the ultimate challenge," said the Post graduate research fellow.
“I think my education at NYU Abu Dhabi really made me fall in love with research … this idea of inquiry into the unknown. I started working in the lab when I was a first year, got exposure, then started to volunteer. I’m a person that likes challenges, so to me research is the ultimate challenge.”
"I don't work with numbers. I work with people, and I find value in that," said the social research assistant.
“I’ve been reading a lot about how anxiety and depression have been increasing, especially among adolescents and teenagers, and how a lot of people don’t ever seek help from mental health professionals. It’s a complex issue.
“So, instead of looking at policies, I’ve been looking at what’s happening on the ground, researching what’s out there in the UAE, gathering information, attending events, having conversations with people.
“The research is definitely personal for me. Someone close to me was struggling and needed to seek professional help. I felt like it was quite difficult to find places to go, and people to see, or it was extremely expensive.
“As I read more and find out more, it makes me excited to see what can come out of it, and what more I can do.”
NYU Abu Dhabi’s Kawader Research Assistantship Program provides unparalleled experiential opportunities for UAE Nationals interested in research careers.
"Cybersecurity is the field I want to delve into," said the undergraduate research assistant.
“I believe research and development in all spheres of society is what fuels solutions for future challenges. Research prompts creative and imaginative thinking.
“The opportunity to work on topics that are typically taken up by graduate students is priceless. The undergraduate research program has allowed me to really test my academic limits and get a better understanding of the type of work I might enjoy doing in the future."