KAUST alumna Dalal Alezi (PhD'17) awarded Ibn Khaldun Fellowship to MIT

KAUST alumna Dalal Alezi (foreground) speaks during a panel at a KAUST Strategic National Advancement event. Photo: KAUST

​KAUST alumna Dr. Dalal Alezi has been honored with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) Ibn Khaldun Fellowship for Saudi Women to pursue a postdoctoral fellowship in the Dincă Lab of the MIT Chemistry Department. She will be working specifically on materials for energy storage and water capture.

"This fellowship was one of my dreams," Alezi said. "I have been reading about this scholarship since I was a graduate student at KAUST in 2017."

Portriat of KAUST alumna Dalal Alezi. Photo: KAUST

Dr. Alezi completed her master's degree at King Abdulaziz University (KAU), and earned her Ph.D. at KAUST under the supervision of Distinguished Professor of Chemistry, Dr. Mohamed Eddaoudi. Alezi's research focused on the design and synthesis of novel metal-organic materials and exploration of their properties in a wide range of applications, including gas separation and storage, catalysis and drug delivery.

She credits Professor Eddaoudi, KAUST and KAU for supporting her beyond her studies as she grew in her career. "Dr. Eddaoudi was very supportive of this fellowship, and wrote the letter of recommendation on my behalf," she said. "Even after I graduated, I'm in touch with the labs. I still come to KAUST to do research, and also send some of my students there."

Eddaoudi is pleased that another one of his students is excelling in her career. "Dalal is an outstanding researcher," he said. "She has the resilience and commitment that a researcher must have. Her achievements pave the way for this well-deserved scholarship."

A role model for women in science

KAUST alumna Dalal Alezi (second from left) is among the panel participants at a KAUST Strategic National Advancement event. Photo: KAUST

As Alezi moved from graduate student to university assistant professor at KAU, she recognized the significant responsibility of molding, teaching and encouraging incoming science students at KAU.

This kind of representation of female Saudi scientists has always been present in Alezi's family.

"All of my sisters are scientists, and my family has been very supportive of our pursuits," Alezi said. "My youngest daughter can now see what a woman in our country can become, and my son said he wants to pursue a degree in science. My nine-year old daughter will sit and watch me grade and ask me questions about my students and what I teach. I have always believed that my passion has come from inner strength and having good role models, and I am trying to provide both of those for my kids."

Achieving goals through KAUST

When asked about what KAUST has to offer, Alezi shared some of the things she took advantage of when she was a student.

"KAUST gives you room to explore research topics, and the university's amazing facilities allow you to accomplish ambitious goals," she said. "Don't be afraid of dreaming big and asking for help; you cannot do a degree alone. Additionally, one of the most important things to do at KAUST, and also after you graduate, is to stay connected. Go to events, make friends and meet professors outside of your field. Take advantage of the alumni network; you never know when you could find a connection that will help you in your career."

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