Graduation year: 2017
Majors: Applied mathematics and engineering physics
Activities: Phi Beta Kappa, Beta Omega Sigma fraternity, Soccer Club, Augustana Physics and Engineering Society, Sigma Pi Sigma physics honor society, Pi Mu Epsilon honorary mathematics fraternity, Mortar Board, physics tutor and lab proctor
Internships: Cryo electron microscopy at Baylor College of Medicine (2016); nuclear physics research assistant with Dr. Frank (2015); research assistant at the American University of Beirut (AUB) Civil Engineering Laboratories
Post-grad plans: Attend Iowa State University for a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering
I have always wanted to study in the United States. Augustana offered me the best financial aid package out of all the schools that I applied to. After coming to Augustana, I realized that the Augie community is something very special, which made me feel proud to be part of.
Are you where you thought you’d be four years ago?
My career path is very similar to what I planned to do four years ago when I was in Lebanon. However, I feel that I am now a much more confident and ambitious person. I feel Augustana has also helped me open new doors to explore after graduation.
Who helped you get to where you are now?
My parents first helped me make the significant decision of coming to the U.S. After coming to Augustana, the math and physics faculty members were very helpful in informing students about opportunities to make the best of their time at Augustana and to get closer to their career goals. I also met great people like Deya Dresner and Hadeil Abdelfattah through the Hope Fund (the organization that helped me come to the U.S.), who were always willing to offer help whenever they could.
A peak experience?
Preparing for a nuclear physics experiment at the National Science Cyclotron Laboratory at Michigan State University and participating in the Texas Medical Center internship program. In both of these experiences, I had the opportunity to participate in an off-campus experience that taught me how to be independent and showed me what life after graduation looks like.
What surprised you?
I learned that I can always accomplish more things in life than I thought I could four years ago. I also learned that I can overcome any obstacle if I use my full potential and make the commitment to do so.
How did you use your Augie Choice?
I used my Augie Choice to cover my living expenses during the summer after my sophomore year when I was working on nuclear physics research with Professor Nathan Frank in collaboration with Michigan State University.
What will you miss the most?
I will miss the sense of family that I felt at Augie. I will miss running into friends while walking on campus and the opportunity of meeting new people every day.
Advice for the Class of 2021?
Be independent and learn from your own mistakes. Do not be afraid to try new experiences and make new friends. Make the best of your time at Augustana.
“Ali worked in my research lab for one and a half years, presented at a national conference, and was selected for an internship at the Texas Medical Center. He is a rock-solid student who knows his fundamentals really well. Not only was he accepted to Iowa State’s mechanical engineering Ph.D. program, he received a research position as well. That speaks to his achievements here at Augustana.”