Alumni Focus: Maryam Al-Taher

KAUST alumna Maryam Al-Taher received her master's degree in chemical science from the University in 2015. Image courtesy of Maryam Al-Taher.

By Abdullah Alhamdan, KAUST News

KAUST alumna Maryam Al-Taher began her undergraduate studies at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in Dammam, Saudi Arabia, graduating from there in 2008 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. She then traveled to the U.S. to study English. Upon her return to the Kingdom, she was accepted to KAUST, receiving her master's degree in chemical science from the University in 2015.

While at the University, Al-Taher also completed a master's degree thesis. Titled "Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Polymethylene-Based 3-Miktoarm Star Copolymers by Combination Polyhomologation with Other Living Polymerizations," her thesis was supervised by KAUST Distinguished Professor Nikos Hadjichristidis.

From KAUST to the largest oil company in the world

After graduating from KAUST, Al-Taher landed a position as a laboratory scientist at Saudi Aramco's Fuel Technology Research Department, part of the company's Research and Development Center in Dhahran. In her job, Al-Taher focuses increasing fuel efficiency in cars and reducing harmful emissions in line with the Kingdom's vision of providing environmentally friendly energy sources.

Pictured here is Saudi Aramco's Research and Development Center in Dhahran, where alumna Maryam Al-Taher currently works as a laboratory scientist. Image courtesy of Saudi Aramco.

Choosing KAUST

"KAUST offers a unique atmosphere I have not found anywhere else," Al-Taher said. "This [was] true not only for me but also for my family. I am a married mother of two, [and] KAUST's unique academic facilities located on the beautiful coast and the social activities and warm residential neighborhoods created unforgettable, positive and happy memories for us all."

"The reasons that led me to choose KAUST are many," she continued. "For one, it is a leading university with generally exceptional research diversity—[and] particularly in the field of chemistry. KAUST also boasts a select group of scientists specializing in a variety of fields—not to mention [it has] top-notch laboratories equipped with the latest technology."

Alumna Maryam Al-Taher received her master's degree in 2015 as a member of the University's graduating class from the Physical Science and Engineering division (pictured here). Photo by Helmy Alsagaff.

Benefiting the Kingdom and the world

Al-Taher advised current KAUST students to continue discovering their passion for science while at the University. They should also try to understand their own strengths and invest time in extracurricular activities to ensure they find good jobs upon graduation, she noted.

"KAUST, its founders, administrators and [its] affiliates have given me a great deal. I hope one day I will be able to show my gratitude and return this favor," Al-Taher said. "[I hope] the late King Abdullah, KAUST's founder, [may have] his vision translated by [the University] to benefit the Kingdom and the world."

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