Welcome to SciTech!
Ahlan wa Sahlan! On behalf of the MIT Arab Student Organization, we would like to welcome you to SciTech - the annual conference organized by the MIT ASO to expose, and engage with, the growing technological and scientific innovation in the MENA region. The vision of SciTech is to create a global network of students, entrepreneurs, researchers, and innovators who are interested in using science and technology to change the MENA region. If this aligns with your objectives, then join us at MIT in April! The conference will mark the launch of our global, digital community.
Envisioning the Future: Cities of MENA
Last year was focused on curating the work of engineers, scientists, technologists, and entrepreneurs in the Middle East, and the work they have done. This year, we are doing several things differently. First, we are centering the conference around a much more specific theme: “Envisioning the Future: Cities of MENA.” Within the topics of Energy, Infrastructure, and Innovation, we would like to explore the problems, perspectives, and potential solutions that will revolutionize the cities of the Middle East. From leaders in business and entrepreneurship, to energy and infrastructure, to architecture and planning we have organized a list of speakers who are envisioning - and shaping - the future of cities in MENA.
In addition to the Exhibition, which we introduced last year, we will also be introducing the SciTech IDEAthon - a pitch competition interleaved with the rest of the conference, where participants focus on presenting ideas and potential solutions within the theme. Winners will receive several prizes as well!
Reshaping the Arab World through Technology
After several years of inactivity, the MIT ASO brought the SciTech Conference back to life. The theme was “Reshaping the Arab World through Technology” - a broad umbrella that allowed us to curate the top innovators, researchers, scientists, and leaders leveraging their knowledge and ideas to reshape the region, and leave a lasting impact.
We had a long list of distinguished speakers, including:
HE Abdullah S. Jum’ah, Former CEO of Saudi Aramco
HE Dr. Talal Abu-Ghazaleh, Chairman and Founder of TAG-Org
Dr. Rana Dajani, Associate Professor at Hashemite University, Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellow
Jassim Alsediqqi, CEO of Abu Dhabi Financial Group
Dr. Georges Aoude, CEO and Co-founder of Derq
Dr. Malak Abedalthagafi, Assistant Professor, Saudi Human Genome Project at KACST
Dr. Fadel Adib, Assistant Professor at MIT Media Lab
SciTech is entirely a student-led and organized conference. Comprised of undergraduate and graduate students, the MIT SciTech team is always looking for ways it can learn from others. If you would like to contribute to SciTech, then please contact us!
Hometown: Aleppo, Syria
MIT EECS 2020
Rami is currently a junior studying Computer Science, with interests in machine learning and smart cities. Originally from Aleppo, he grew up between the US, France, Syria, and Jordan. While in highschool, he co-founded Fikra 3al Mashi, a non-profit dedicated to teaching Syrian refugees about technology. He also likes to sail, read, travel, and build stuff.
Hometown: Damascus, Syria
MIT EECS & Economics 2018, MIT MEng 2019
Ihssan completed a double major in computer science and economics at MIT. While there, he was involved with the Arab Student Organization, Muslim Students’ Association, Gordon Engineering Leadership Program, NavTalent, and Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. Ihssan is excited about entrepreneurship, having worked with several early-stage ventures while an undergrad. He wants to learn how advanced technology can be applied in industry in the hopes of bringing that expertise to the Middle East.
Hometown: Damascus, Syria
MIT Chemical-Biological Engineering 2019
Dana is an undergraduate researcher at the Sikes Lab, developing revolutionary cancer diagnostic technologies that aim to change the way patients are diagnosed and treated. She has also worked on diagnostic technologies at Fluid-Screen with an aim to decrease the pathogen detection time from several days to under 30 minutes. This year, in addition to planning SciTech, Dana lead the Arab Innovation Forum at the Innovation Agora @ CERAWeek, the world’s premier energy event. In the future, Dana aims to apply her knowledge in bio-diagnostics to the energy industry.
Hometown: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
MIT Physics 2021
Ghadah is an undergraduate researcher from Saudi Arabia working at the MIT Research Laboratory of Electronics (RLE) in the Photonics and Modern Electro-Magnetics Group. She is investigating unsupervised learning techniques that can extract interpretable physical parameters from dynamical systems. These techniques will provide scientists with insightful analysis on complex systems that were not well understood before. Ghadah also enjoys painting and listening to music in her free time.
Hometown: Aleppo, Syria
MIT DUSP, Masters in City Planning 2019
Nour is a second-year Master in City Planning graduate student. She is predominantly interested in post-conflict planning and plans to return to Syria to use her knowledge to aid in reconstruction efforts. Nour is the recipient of the 2018 Lowell L. Richards, III Fellowship for Leadership and Public Service. Prior to coming to MIT, Nour worked for three years at PwC in the Middle East as a risk assurance consultant. She holds a Bachelor of Arts Joint Honours degree in Sociology and International Development from McGill University.
Hometown: Benghazi, Libya
MIT LGO, SM EECS ’20 & MBA ’20
Ali is a first year masters student fellow in the Leaders for Global Operations program pursuing his MBA at MIT Sloan and his masters in electrical engineering with a focus on energy and electric power systems. Prior to MIT, Ali was working as electrical engineer living in Michigan where he attended Michigan State University. Ali is from Benghazi, Libya and spends his free time sailing, fencing or rock climbing.
Wael Hajj Ali
Hometown: Beirut, Lebanon
MIT MechE-CSE PhD
Wael is a third-year graduate student in the Mechanical Engineering department with focus on computational science. He is currently a research assistant in the Multidisciplinary Simulation, Estimation and Assimilation Systems (MSEAS) group, where he works on the efficient modeling of ocean acoustic waves propagation and signal tomography in the presence of dynamic environmental uncertainties. Wael graduated with a B.E. in Mechanical Engineering from the American University of Beirut (AUB), where he refined his interests in the history and archaeology.
Hometown: Baghdad, Iraq
MIT Aerospace Engineering 2021
Abdulazeez is an undergraduate from Baghdad, Iraq, with a passion for systems design and autonomous robotics. He's worked at the MIT Space Systems Lab, developing and testing power systems for novel satellite platforms using Micro-Electro-Mechanical Systems technology to deliver large-scale space capabilities while driving down mass and cost, as well as greatly reduce and standardize development timelines. He's also a photographer and freelance filmmaker.
Hometown: Dayr al Qasi, Palestine
Northeastern CAMD Graphic Design 2021
Mariam is currently a sophomore studying Graphic Design with a minor in Business Administration at Northeastern University. Growing up in the Middle East, she was an active member of several non-profit organizations, such as the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund (PCRF). In her first year of university, she co-founded a project called Kan Supply, a clothing line that combines the art of Arabic calligraphy with fashion.
This year we launched the SciTech Campus Ambassador Program, with the goal of creating an international network of students who are dedicated to science and technology in the MENA region. Find our more details about the position and how to apply here.
Hometown: Al-Lubban - Nablus, Palestine.
UCI MAE 2020
Mazen is a junior doubling in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering while interning in the Aircraft industry. He is the Founder & President of UCI Engineering conference and former Asst. PM of UCI's Hyprerloop team (HyperXite). Mazen grew up in Amman, Jordan, in which he was a founding board member for three MUN conferences. Some of his hobbies are racquetball, outdoor trips, and playing oud.
Hometown: Amman, Jordan
Stanford EECS 2019
Yanal is currently working towards a B.S. from Stanford University in Computer Science with a concentration in Human Computer Interaction, and a minor in Psychology. He is a research assistant studying neural reward systems with the NeuroChoice Initiative, and is a proud member of the Ritmo! de Stanford bachata dance group and the Leland Stanford Junior University Marching Band.
Hometown: Casablanca, Morocco
Wellesley College 2021
Kenza is a sophomore studying International Relations and Environmental Studies at Wellesley College. She finished high school at the United World College of Changshu in China. She is interested in the development of agriculture and is currently part of a research on irrigation systems in Morocco and Jordan with the Mechanical Engineering department at MIT. She is interested in effective altruism and loves traveling all around the world.