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AUS alumna oversees cybersecurity at Expo 2020
When American University of Sharjah (AUS) alumna Eman Al Awadhi graduated in 2008 with a bachelor’s degree in computer engineering, she did not imagine that one day she would be responsible for designing and implementing one of most advanced cybersecurity strategies at a World Expo.
As Vice President of Cybersecurity and Resilience at Expo 2020 Dubai, Al Awadhi is working with a team to secure a diverse, dynamic and fast-evolving technology ecosystem capable of supporting 191 pavilions, businesses, multilateral organizations and academic institutions, along with millions of visitors from around the globe.
In her 13-year career, Al Awadhi has worked with various government and academic institutions including the UAE Telecommunications and Digital Government Regulatory Authority, du and Expo 2020 Dubai. She also served as a board member on the National Advisory Council for the College of Technological Innovation at Zayed University and the UAE Science Club.
“I have to say it wasn’t an easy journey. It was years of hard work and sacrifice to hone my technical and leadership skills. I started as a network security engineer—where I did all the hands-on work from firewall configurations and mounting routers onto racks in a freezing data center—and now have become the Vice President of Cybersecurity and Resilience at one of the world’s mega events. This journey taught me the importance of dedication, honesty, humility and supporting one’s team. Hard work pays off in the end no matter how long it takes,” she said.
She reminded current students of the importance of determination. “There is no such thing as a field fit for a woman or not. Each field has its challenges as nothing comes easy. Also, never wait for someone to give you an opportunity. Seek it yourself and seize it when you find it,” she said.
Al Awadhi discovered her passion for computer engineering in high school after enrolling in several computer classes coupled with a strong interest in mathematics and physics. Upon joining AUS, she decided to enroll in the computer engineering undergraduate program.
“The environment at AUS helped me become independent. AUS is known for its distinctive education. It demands a lot of hard work from its students, who once they graduate will realize how much their university years have prepared them to hit the ground running once they join the workforce,” she said.
She also noted how participating in extracurricular activities at AUS helped her build her skillset, from honing her social skills to giving her opportunities to plan and implement events and work with teams—all crucial skills for her work today.
She also uses these key skills in her role as an active volunteer. A strong believer in giving back to the community, Al Awadhi helps organize community Ramadan iftars, contributes to school beautification projects and leads teams in education charity events. She said volunteering has impacted her both professionally and personally.
“I believe volunteering should be part of any person’s life, especially volunteering with students as it helps them get outside of their comfort zone, meet new people and get different perspectives on life. Each one of us is responsible for contributing to the community and helping in any way possible,” she said.
For more information on the Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering at AUS, please visit www.aus.edu/cen/department-of-computer-science-and-engineering.