Updated: Oct 23
This is the first in our Student Spotlight series, where our students tell their stories in their own words.
"My name is Asma Bin Thabit, and I was born in Wadi Al-Ain, Yemen and I have a Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Electronics Engineering from Yarmouk University, Jordan. I'm currently pursuing a Master's in Electrical and Computer Engineering with a focus on Deep Learning at Michigan State University. Additionally, I've earned diplomas in Cambridge IT Skills, Android App Development, and Human Development. I'm also certified in machine learning and deep learning specializations.
Growing up as a woman in Yemen, I confronted societal barriers at every turn, especially in the pursuit of education. This challenge was magnified when I chose a path in STEM, a field overwhelmingly dominated by men. My desire for higher education in electronics engineering was met with repeated rejections due to my gender, even after earning a scholarship. However, my determination led me to overcome these obstacles, showcasing that women can excel in traditionally male-dominated sectors. These experiences fueled my passion to not only break barriers in the field of machine learning but also inspire other Yemeni women to defy societal norms and pursue their dreams in STEM.
Acquiring sponsorship from the esteemed Hadhramout Foundation was truly a turning point in my academic journey. The opportunity first arose when I ventured to the U.S. for an internship during the final year of my undergraduate studies. Aware of the challenges and the potential impact of this venture, I sought support from the Hadhramout Foundation. Their response was overwhelmingly positive; they not only provided the necessary sponsorship but also warmly embraced my aspirations. As a woman in the STEM field, their support was a testament to their belief in the potential of young dreamers like me. I was fueled by a dual purpose: to excel in a domain typically underrepresented by women and to harness the knowledge gained abroad to usher in progressive change in Yemen. With the foundation's backing, I felt empowered to achieve my goals and inspire future generations in my home country.
Outside of my formal education, I indulge in a diverse range of interests that not only nurture my creativity but also keep me connected to the world around me. I'm an avid reader, always on the hunt for narratives that expand my understanding and views. This love for literature is complemented by my passion for writing, a medium where I articulate my thoughts, stories, or reflections on current affairs. My fascination with media and current events ensures I'm always informed, and I also dabble in Digital Art and Graphic Design, which is a blend of technology and artistry. When I want to switch gears, I head to the kitchen, transforming ingredients into delectable dishes through cooking and baking, or immerse myself in arts and crafts, bringing my ideas to life visually. As someone who values community, volunteering remains close to my heart, offering me a chance to contribute and make a difference. Together, these hobbies and passions make my life a vibrant mosaic of experiences, ensuring I'm always growing, learning, and engaging.
My education stands as a bridge between the cutting-edge technologies and methodologies I've been exposed to and Yemen's vast untapped potential. I firmly believe that knowledge is both power and responsibility; it equips individuals with the tools to forge change while instilling a duty to elevate their communities. Specifically, my concentration in deep learning and machine learning holds transformative promise for Yemen. Ultimately, my goal is to harness the power of machine learning and deep learning to transform Yemen, not just to help it keep pace with global advancements but to ensure it becomes a beacon of innovation in specific areas. Through my education and specialization, I aim to light the way towards this vision."
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