Alumni Focus: Manal Kalkatawi

KAUST alumna Manal Kalkatawi (Ph.D. '17) calls the time she spent at KAUST 'one of the most beautiful periods of [her] life.' She is pictured here receiving her Ph.D. on campus in December 2017. File photo.

By Abdullah Alhamdan, KAUST News

Manal Kalkatawi graduated from KAUST in 2017 with a Ph.D. in computer science with a focus on bioinformatics. She is currently an assistant professor at the Faculty of Computing and Information Technology at King Abdulaziz University (KAU) in Jeddah. Kalkatawi also pursues research in her field of specialization through cooperation with different research organizations, and she supervises master's degree theses of KAU students.

Achieving a dream

"I love science, and I'm also a daughter, wife and mother," Kalkatawi said. "I've faced so many challenges at the scientific and social levels, but getting my doctorate and doing research [was] a dream I [wanted] to achieve. It's a dream I didn't want to give up."

Kalkatawi's academic journey began when she obtained a first-class honors bachelor's degree from KAU in 2008. This led to her college nominating her for a KAUST master's degree scholarship.

"I started my master's [degree] at KAUST in 2009, and immediately after graduating, my supervisor presented me with the idea of completing my Ph.D. studies under his supervision," she said. "It was an opportunity I had to seize. Thankfully it was a good decision and a successful step forward."

KAUST alumna Manal Kalkatawi received her Ph.D. from the University in December 2017. She is pictured here (front row, fourth from left) with her fellow graduates of the class of 2017. File photo.

A 'beautiful' time

"The time I spent [at] KAUST was one of the most beautiful periods of my life," she continued. "It was full of scientific and social enrichment, and it contributed so much to building my character and personality from all angles. It prepared me for the many facets of life. Life at KAUST is beautiful, organized, helpful, healthy and so positive."

"KAUST is a top university with high standards that match and compete with [those of] the best universities worldwide," Kalkatawi added. "This is due to the elite researchers who have come [to the University] from different countries. This fact meant that I was able to publish many papers in prestigious scientific journals during my study at the University. The positive atmosphere had a great impact on my career."

Kalkatawi advised current students to take advantage of their time spent at KAUST and to make the most of the University's cutting-edge laboratories and resources.

"KAUST is a beautiful time in [your] life...and it will remain forever in [your] memories," she said.

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