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On the 15th January, 2015 the Alumni Affairs Office working in collaboration with the 2015 WEP team welcomed four returning KAUST alumni from locations around the world. The returning alumni shared their current work activities and exciting developments with a very large gathering of current students, other alumni and some KAUST community members.
The four returning alumni were Muhammed Sameed, MS ('12) from CERN, Switzerland, Xuance Zhou, MS ('10) from the University of California at Berkeley, USA, Camrin Braun, MS ('13) from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), USA and Luisa Javier, MS ('11) from Mexico City, Mexico.
Professor Brian Moran, Dean of Graduate Affairs, opened the WEP 2015 Alumni Lecture Series by welcoming and applauding the four returning alumni presenters. He informed the audience that since leaving KAUST the four alumni had pursued exciting careers and successful further studies. Dean Moran also noted that he was confident that "as KAUST alumni they would continue on their successful pathways of discovery, innovation and leadership."
Muhammed Sameed, MS ('12) a physicist at CERN, Switzerland presented on the topic of the origins of Antimatter and its potential uses in industry and medicine; he also shared never-before-seen footage of the CERN upgraded Alpha-2 machine which is currently working on trapping particles and shedding new light on the origins of antimatter.
Xuance Zhou, MS ('10) is currently completing his PhD studies at the University of California, Berkeley, USA and is working on the development and analysis of a model for soft robots. His presentation focused on the designs of soft and nano robots and locomotion mechanisms that exploit friction.
Camrin Braun, MS ('13) who was introduced to the audience by his former KAUST Professor, Michael Berumen is also completing his PhD studies in Oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in the USA. Camrin's work takes him around the world tagging and tracking the movements of large, ocean fishes such as Manta Ray, Great White Sharks and Swordfish. His presentation explored the relationships between the movements of large fish and the physical, chemical and biological marine environments that they move in.
Luisa Javier, MS ('11) is an entrepreneur and CEO of her own start-up Multilevel Marketing Company (MMC), called Sin Aqua in Mexico City, Mexico. Her presentation described the evolution of the establishment of a Multilevel Marketing Company from its initial stages through to operations.
Professor David Keyes, Applied Mathematics and Computational Science Director, Extreme Computing Research Center and WEP Chairman, gave the closing remarks. Professor Keyes thanked the alumni presenters for returning to KAUST to share their wonderful success stories about their recent exciting adventures and activities. Professor Keyes also thanked the other participants for attending the WEP 2015 Alumni Lecture Series and for their active, warm and highly engaged questions and comments during the Q & A part of the event.
From left to right: Professor David Keyes, Xuance Zhou, MS ('10), Camrin Braun, MS ('13), Muhammed Sameed, MS ('12) and Luisa Javier, MS ('11)
From left to right: Ann Khoaz, Manager of Alumni Affairs, Xuance Zhou, MS ('10), Camrin Braun, MS ('13), KAUST President, Jean-Lou Chameau, Muhammed Sameed, MS ('12), Luisa Javier, MS ('11) and Professor Brian Moran, Dean of Graduate Affairs.
Immediately following the WEP 2015 Alumni Lecture Series, KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau hosted an afternoon reception tea during which he met with the four returning WEP 2015 alumni lecture series presenters and other attendees (faculty, current students and alumni). During his opening address President Chameau congratulated the four presenters on their successes and exciting achievements since leaving KAUST. He also highlighted the many successes and positive impacts of all KAUST alumni, both in the Kingdom and internationally.
President Chameau noted that "the success of KAUST in the long term will be in part due to its graduates and the work that they do after they leave the university." He further noted that "the alumni may be small in number, but large in impact…and finally that it is important for them to always remain connected to the KAUST network."
Other senior leadership members including Professor James Calvin, VP for Academic Affairs, Professor Brian Moran, Dean of Graduate Affairs, Professor Pierre Magistretti, Dean of the BESE Division, Professor Moataz Elnozahy, Dean of the CEMSE Division and Professor Yves Gnanou, Dean of the PSE Division also attended the event.
The inaugural Saudi Arabia Alumni Chapter Breakfast meeting held on Friday 16th January, on campus was a celebratory event highlighting another important positive initiative by KAUST's valued in-Kingdom alumni.
From left to right: Professor James Calvin, VP for Academic Affairs, Yasmeen Najm, Jose "Pepe" Tavares, Dr Justine Mink, President Jean-Lou Chameau, Dr Damian San Roman, Ernest Sandoval, Professor Brian Moran, Dean of Graduate Affairs, Mariam Awlia, and Mohannad Abdelaziz.
In keeping with the distinctiveness of the inaugural event the Chapter Executive Officers, in collaboration with the Alumni Affairs office, were also honored to host at the event KAUST President Jean-Lou Chameau, the VP for Academic Affairs, Professor Jim Calvin, the Dean of Graduate Affairs, Professor Brian Moran, the VP for Saudi Initiatives, Dr Najah Ashry, and the Head of KAUST Communications, Ms. Samia Felemban. Other alumni and special guests also attended.
In his address President Chameau informed the group that he was delighted to meet with the Chapter Executive Officers and he applauded them for their efforts with the working group and for establishing KAUST's first Saudi Arabia Alumni Chapter.
President Chameau also remarked that "the Executive Officers are doing very well since graduation, working successfully in the Kingdom…and in forming the first Chapter and will always be the first and the largest one…I really encourage you to organize interaction among the alumni on the campus and also to stay connected to the campus as your evolve your careers." He also highlighted that "…you are especially important because you are the ambassadors of KAUST-whether you are working in research laboratories and corporations, or you may create new businesses. Everything you do will show that KAUST contributes to this country and for the benefit of the people." President Chameau concluded his address by thanking the Chapter Officers and wished them every success in their futures.
The celebratory cake, flowers and smiles.
The Chapter Executive Officers for 2015 are Chapter President Justine Mink, PhD 2013 (currently at Dow Chemical KSA), Chapter President Elect, Damian San Roman, PhD 2014, (currently at Saudi Aramco), Chapter Joint VP of Communication, Yasmeen Najm, Masters Class 2012, PhD in progress (KAUST), Chapter Joint VP of Communication, Mariam Awlia, Masters Class 2012, PhD in progress (KAUST), Chapter VP of Programs, Ernesto Sandoval, Masters Class 2010 (currently at Saudi Aramco), Chapter Joint Treasurer, José ¨Pepe¨ Tavares, Masters Class 2010 (currently at SABIC) and Chapter Joint VP Treasurer Mohannad Abdelaziz, Masters Class 2011 (currently at Saudi Aramco).