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AUS alumnus awarded the James Henderson Fellowship
American University of Sharjah (AUS) alumnus Taha Ameen ur Rahman is no stranger to success.
The electrical engineering and mathematics double major, who graduated summa cum laude with a 4.0 GPA from AUS in December 2019, embarked on a new journey in Fall 2020 to pursue his PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC), where he recently received the prestigious James Henderson Fellowship. This honor is awarded to the most outstanding first-year graduate students in the Department of Electrical Engineering who have demonstrated outstanding academic achievement, and leadership in activities or research in their undergraduate program.
“It is certainly a source of validation for the strong preparation that I received during my undergraduate study at AUS. The electrical engineering program at UIUC has consistently been ranked among the top five in the USA, and to win a competitive fellowship in such a setting is extremely motivating. It inspires me to work harder and take on projects that will allow me to grow consistently as a researcher. The fellowship is an acknowledgment of my progress, and so it drives me to keep going,” said Rahman.
Rahman has a long list of academic and extracurricular achievements. While pursuing his undergraduate studies at AUS, he worked as a research assistant with the electrical engineering and mathematics departments, where his research endeavors led to a three-month research internship at Aalto University, Finland. He also presented his research at the Allerton Conference on Communication, Control and Computing in the US in 2019.
“Those were great opportunities to develop critical thinking, research skills and academic collaboration. Both ventures were sponsored by AUS,” he said.
As president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) Student Chapter at AUS, Rahman made many contributions to the chapter, including organizing a student study tour to Italy and several field trips and technical and non-technical workshops, among others. He was also a founding member of the IEEE Eta Kappa Nu Honor Society and the IEEE SIGHT community services society at AUS.
Beyond his major, Rahman helped students as a peer advisor at the Academic Support Center and supported the university as a student workgroup member for the university’s Middle States Commission on Higher Education accreditation self-study.
He was also the recipient of the 2019 Sheikh Khalifa Scholarship and the recipient of the 2020 AUS President’s Cup for achieving the highest grade point average.
Based on his AUS experience and where his undergraduate journey has taken him, Rahman advises students to make full use of the opportunities and resources available from the university. “Exploring multiple directions at the undergraduate stage does not only help identify your strengths and weaknesses, but also opens doors and provides opportunities in many unexpected ways,” he said. “I find it useful to set milestones or targets on a weekly and monthly basis and work consistently towards them in an organized way. Also, don’t forget to have fun! While the destination is always fulfilling, it is equally important to enjoy the journey,” he added.
Rahman said that while he is still considering his thesis topic, his research interests are primarily in machine learning and communication networks.
“My field of study lies at the intersection of electrical engineering and mathematics, which seemed ideal given my undergraduate majors. It also overlaps with aspects of theoretical computer science, which has always fascinated me. I tried my best to pick a topic that strikes a balance between theoretical research and practical laboratory implementation, so that I can put my abilities to good use and enjoy the process while simultaneously doing work that promotes social good,” he said.
An academic researcher and university professor in the making, Rahman’s aspirations involve “contributing to an amelioration in living standards for the world through the scientific pursuit of technology that is driving the digital revolution of today…nothing would fulfill me more than being at the forefront of this development.”
For more information about the electrical engineering and mathematics degree programs at AUS, please visit www.aus.edu.