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AUS alumna one of special few selected for Cornell-funded Data Incubator Fellowship
American University of Sharjah (AUS) graduates continue to make their presence known on a global scale, with Master of Science in Computer Engineering graduate Rwan Mohammed accepted into the highly-competitive Data Incubator Fellowship program. She was one of the 61 successful applicants for the 2020 fellowship, selected from over 3,000 applicants from some of the world's most prestigious universities.
The Data Incubator Fellowship is funded by Cornell University, offering distinguished PhD and master’s degree students like Mohammed the opportunity to take part in a fellowship program that places them at the cutting-edge of the data science profession. Partners of the Data Incubator include corporations such as LinkedIn, Pfizer and Google, providing these data-hungry giants with access to some of the most talented data graduates available. The intensive eight-week program is attended by fellows in either New York City, the San Francisco Bay Area or Washington, DC.
Mohammed, who completed her Master of Science in Computer Engineering at AUS in 2018, said gaining entry to the fellowship program was tough: "The application process for the Data Incubator Program was long—about six weeks—and it wasn't easy. After the initial application, we had to pass a technical challenge and submit a proposal for the capstone project that we must complete during the fellowship." She credited AUS with providing her with a firm foundation for the challenges ahead: "It is a testament to AUS that I was accepted into the program given the large number of people who apply. It can be difficult to break into data science, as some of the smartest graduates from the best universities are attracted to the industry. This fellowship along with my master’s degree from AUS will no doubt help me to stand out.”
When she was a master’s degree student at AUS, Mohammed worked with professors from the AUS College of Engineering, Dr. Tamer Shanableh and Dr. Hasan AlNashash, conducting machine learning research that was published by the IEEE Sensors Journal. She said that this inspired her interest in data science and led to her ambitious pursuance of the Data Incubator Fellowship. On the completion of the fellowship, she hopes to gain employment as a data scientist in the education or energy sectors.
AUS is currently growing its data science offering at both the undergraduate and graduate level in response to increased demand for highly skilled professionals in the field. As well as dedicated data science programs, the university is also running short courses on data science-related topics. According to Professor and Head of the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at AUS Fadi Aloul, a recent workshop on Machine Learning and Deep Learning had enormous appeal: "We are seeing a large number of people who want to learn much more about how machines with near-human performance can be built in image classification, speech recognition, handwriting transcription, autonomous driving, or drive digital assistants such as Google Now, Apple Siri and Amazon Alexa. Weekend sessions such as this are a great opportunity for interested parties to explore new career pathways and learn more about this rapidly advancing area of technological development."
Dr. Imran Zualkernan, who delivered the workshop, said: “The popularity of this event was overwhelming. We only had space for 30 participants but had over 100 apply. We selected those who did not necessarily have a computer science background, showing them how such technology can be useful across many different sectors. I am confident that participants will be able to use this new-found knowledge in many aspects of their work.”
Mohammed is one of a number of AUS graduates achieving their goals in highly esteemed institutions across the world. Examples include 2010 AUS electrical engineering graduate Dr. Ahmad Nemer, who is now conducting research on the modelling of protoplanetary disks as a fellow at Princeton University; Dr. Ruba Abu Salma, who just finished her PhD at the University College London and who is now a visiting researcher at the University of California, Berkeley; and Suheyla Takesh, who graduated from AUS in 2012 and who in 2018 won the Master of Science in Architecture Studies Prize for Thesis for work completed as part of the Master of Science in Architecture Studies (SMArchS) program at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).