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AUS alumna finds her passion teaching computer science at prestigious UK university
It was hard work, a passion for learning and a strong support system that helped American University of Sharjah (AUS) alumna Ruba Abu-Salma attain the heights she has today.
The computer engineering major, who graduated magna cum laude in 2013, is now an Assistant Professor in Computer Science at King’s College London (KCL), where she currently teaches a master’s level course in security engineering and is an active researcher.
“Academic teaching can sometimes be challenging but it is rewarding. I do not only get to teach a subject that I genuinely enjoy, but I also interact with young, talented students daily, who help me change the way I think about academic work. As a university lecturer, I also have autonomy, which allows me to design my course and plan out how the course is assessed,” she said.
With research spanning computer security, privacy and human-computer interaction, Dr. Abu-Salma’s work has appeared in top-tier security and privacy conferences and prominent international events. Her interests lie in understanding and developing better tools that improve people’s security and privacy decision-making processes.
Prior to joining KCL, Dr. Abu-Salma was a postdoctoral researcher in the Usable Security and Privacy Group at the International Computer Science Institute (ICSI) at the University of California, Berkeley, and in the PRIVATICS Team at Inria Sophia Antipolis-Méditerranée Research Centre in France before that. She also spent the summer of 2020 at the University of Cambridge, analyzing the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on cybercrime.
Speaking about the reasons behind her success, Dr. Abu-Salma said: ”Perseverance, family support and mentors were very important to me and helped me reach where I am today. Also, the field of computer science which I am part of is dynamic, drives innovation and enables people to make an impact in the real world. It is a very exciting field in today’s world. This may be a male-dominated field, but I chose it because it is a creative subject area. Computer scientists can provide people with real solutions to problems, whether it is coming up with a tool to handle the problem or coming up with a service.”
Dr. Abu-Salma received her PhD in Computer Science in 2019 and a Master of Science in Information Security with distinction in2014 from University College London. Her dissertation focused on designing user-centered privacy-enhancing technologies. As a postgraduate student, she was supported by Google, a Marie-Skłodowska Curie Research Fellowship, and a Supporting Usability and Design in Security Fellowship from the Open Technology Fund. She also performed research at Brave and Telefónica Research.
“My postgraduate studies gave me the opportunity to meet people from various backgrounds. Also, the location of the campus in the heart of London allowed me to connect with experts and collaborate with them in both the academic and industrial sectors,” she said.
Dr. Abu-Salma said that her time at AUS played an important part in preparing her for graduate studies and her career.
“AUS had a great impact on me. I learned a lot from a host of great faculty members. AUS built within me a foundation and prepared me well for my postgraduate studies and my future,” she said.
For more information about the computer science and engineering programs at AUS, please visit www.aus.edu/cen/department-of-computer-science-and-engineering.