Sahar Abdullah: Role Model for Women’s IT Education
Most young women growing up in Yemen have few opportunities for higher education and professional jobs. But Sahar Abdullah’s parents believe that higher education plays an integral role in personal development, so they strongly encouraged Sahar and her sister to continue education after high school.
Because Sahar was one of the top secondary school students in Yemen, she received a scholarship to study for her bachelor’s degree in Egypt. Her love for programming and problem solving led Sahar to choose computer science as her major. At Cairo University she successfully completed her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science and master’s degree in Information Systems, and completed a Cisco diploma at American University.
After learning about our unique MS in Computer Science in a LinkedIn message from MUM, Sahar kept thinking that one master’s degree was enough–but the idea for a second master’s emphasizing OOP software development kept popping into her head. So she decided to research Maharishi University of Management and our MS in Computer Science for Computer Professionals program, and joined our Facebook group. When Sahar realized that many Arab students had happily and successfully enrolled in this program, she decided to apply, and was accepted for the October 2014 entry.
Happy at MUM
When she first arrived at MUM last year, Sahar’s initial impression of the University was that everyone here was happy. She told her mother, “All the people here are smiling and saying hi!”
After a year on campus, Sahar reflects on the special nature of the MUM/Fairfield, Iowa community: “I really love this peaceful environment that I am in–an environment full of love, happiness and joy obtained from the incredible benefits of practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique. Just living in this community with international software professionals all doing TM together is an honor for me in itself.”
Even though she is far from her parents and sister, and misses them very much, Sahar’s family is relieved to know she is in a very safe and completely supportive environment at MUM.
Harmony in Diversity
“As a Muslim lady living in Fairfield, I feel that people around me are respecting me and others,” says Sahar. “They treat me as one of them, despite the fact that I wear my scarf. I have never felt mistreated. Friends greet us on Eid (a Muslim holiday), and Eid prayers trips are arranged for us.”
Sahar has also been pleased with the academics in the Computer Professionals program: “The program’s high standards create a powerful motivation. I look to this program like a tree: You plant the seed, water it, and take care of it. As the knowledge grows within, you gain fruits forever. Every aspect of the academic program was the best either in moments of challenge, or moments of success. The courses were very challenging, but now that I am finished, I am ready for my curricular practical training internship in the IT industry.”
Advice for Other Female Software Developers
“Nowadays, the biggest challenge for a female is to be employed and feel useful for society and herself. I would like to tell all female software developers who feel they are creative, full of ideas, and dreams, but have not found the appropriate ways to express their talents–at MUM you will get the support and knowledge to realize the best in your skills and competencies.”
A Bright Future
In January, Sahar will begin her IT career as a Software Engineer at Intel in Oregon where she will be part of a product development engineer team. Her job will be transforming designs into competitive products, and testing development for microprocessors, system-on-chips and chip sets. We wish her great happiness and success, as we stay in touch with another special member of our world family.