Engineering student comes to the U.S. to continue a family legacy of learning at Wayne State University

Four years ago, Sarah Mourad was living in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and had a big decision to make. Following her dream of becoming an engineer meant that she would have to cross an ocean and study in a town and country that she was not familiar with. Luckily, Sarah had some strong footprints to lead the way, as both her father and uncle graduated from the Wayne State University College of Engineering.

While there were numerous reasons why Mourad chose to study at WSU, she admits that her father and uncle made their preference known. “They always told us funny stories about professors at Wayne State that taught and inspired them,” she says. “My father never lets me forget that he thinks my generation has it easier because when he studied they did not have the new software we use today to do most of our calculations. He claims it would take him 15 hours to solve one engineering homework set!”

Along with the stories of Wayne State, Mourad’s father encouraged her to develop her mathematical skills from an early age. “I ended up loving math and chemistry so much that I couldn’t really imagine myself doing anything other than chemical engineering,” She says.

During her time at Wayne State, Sarah has used those foundational skills to propel her to senior status in the chemical engineering program. She completed an internship at a Dubai oil and gas company in 2013. Her capstone senior project, which will be completed next semester, involves working with a team of students in her chemical engineering class to design a process of their choice to be run on HYSYS software, which addresses the process engineering challenges in the energy industry.

Sarah’s legacy status is further cemented by the fact that she currently has five other family members studying at Wayne State. “I was definitely nervous when I moved here. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but soon I met new people that eventually became some of my closest friends” she explains. The connections that she continued to make are what Sarah says she likes best about WSU, “I immediately loved the diversity on campus. I loved meeting new people and getting to know their backgrounds and their different cultures. Not many campuses offer as much diversity as Wayne State.”

Eventually, Sarah, her cousins and siblings all moved in together, creating a strong support system for her while she worked through her program in the College of Engineering.

Over the 2014-15 winter break, Sarah will visit her family back in Dubai. She says she is most excited to share stories of her time at Wayne State with her dad and uncle. “I now know that their fond memories resemble mine, and it is so important to me that studying at Wayne State has allowed me to share experiences that my family can relate to in this important time in my life.” At the end of the day, Sarah is most appreciative that leaving her family in Dubai to study at WSU did not mean that she would be without family; instead, her family connections expanded and improved over her time at Wayne State.