Alumni Focus: Mariam Awlia

Alumna Mariam Awlia received her Ph.D. in plant genetics from KAUST in 2018, and she is currently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cape Town. File photo.

By Abdullah Alhamdan, KAUST News

KAUST alumna Mariam Awlia received her Ph.D. in plant genetics from the University in 2018. She currently works as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Cape Town in South Africa.

Educational journey

Awlia began her journey to KAUST after completing secondary school, when she was nominated by King Abdulaziz and his Companions Foundation for Giftedness and Creativity (Mawhiba) for a grant to obtain her bachelor's degree in the U.K. and then to return to KAUST to complete her master's degree in the scientific field of her choice.

After enrolling in the KAUST Gifted Student Program, Awila joined the University of Warwick in 2008 for a preparatory year. After this, she completed her bachelor's degree in biochemistry in 2012 at the University of London.

Awlia noted she feels the KGSP enriched her academic career, opened up new horizons for her academically and professionally and greatly increased her knowledge and experience.

"[The] experience helped refine my personality," she said. "It increased my confidence...socially and at university. I felt I was on an exceptional journey that allowed me to look forward to my future with passion and ambition."

Alumna Mariam Awlia (Ph.D. '18) is pictured here (center) on campus with some of her fellow KAUST students during her studies. File photo.

Aspirations and the future

For the future, Awlia stated she "look[s] forward to assuming a practical job where [she] can share [her] experiences to help people."

"I also aspire to protect the environment by finding solutions and overcoming environmental obstacles," she continued. "I would like to leave my mark by doing charitable, volunteer and educational work."

Awlia urged current KAUST students to persevere in their studies and make the most of their many and varied experiences at the University to "learn from them all," she concluded.

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