Q&A with Reem El FatIh Salman

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Why did you choose to study this degree?
I see equations as stories; one can only see the big picture after putting all the pieces together. In these stories, numbers and variables are the main characters and my desire to explore the conclusions of the countless stories out there drove me to choose this major.

What is one problem in the Arab world you would like to fix and why?
Unlocking the potential of educated Arab women by meaningfully integrating them in the workforce. Investment in education must be coupled with national efforts to address all the barriers to Arab women entering the job market and staying in it.

What would you change about the education system in the region?
I would change the misconception about the roles of teachers, parents and governments in education. Many parents remain uninvolved in the educational process because they believe that the school is responsible for educating their children while governments have unrealistic expectations of teachers and what they can accomplish with the limited resources they have.  Society needs to recognize that all parties have to contribute to the education process if we truly want it to bear fruit.

Who would be your ideal mentor and why?
If I had to pick someone from the world of numbers that has greatly inspired me, it would be G.H Hardy. His work reveals the beauty of math, the love of picking out order, seeing connections, and the elegance of patterns. He was a remarkable man with ideals I have always respected.

What are your three most important personal values? Why?
Honesty, love and commitment. Honesty takes away the uncertainty and the doubts. Love is what helps me move along, feel peace and enjoy what I do. It fuels my passion and softens my heart so I can be a better person. Commitment helps me fulfill what I set out to do; helping me pull through even when nothing seems to be right.

Complete the following sentence: “A leader is someone who…”
A leader is someone who inspires. A leader is not afraid of taking the risks, but is only afraid of not taking action. He is not afraid of a lack of people. He is only afraid of a lack of visions.

As someone who has been selected, what advice would you give to students who are interested in applying?
Do not be afraid to try. Do not hide behind questions like “Why will I, out of all the amazing other applicants be chosen? “Why not? Do not belittle yourself and make an attempt. I never thought I would be chosen, but I was. If I can do it, you can too.

Complete the sentence: “This region needs more…”
This region needs more people who are ready to step out of their comfort zone, to explore, and to choose the uncommon answers. It needs people who are capable of thinking outside the box and thus truly bring a change in their environment.

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