Two seniors from NYU Abu Dhabi have been selected as 2018 UAE Rhodes Scholars, bringing the total number of the university’s Rhodes Scholars to 10 in just five years.
The prestigious international award allows exceptional students to pursue two to three years of postgraduate studies at the University of Oxford.
The scholars are Emirati Maitha Salem Al Memari and Moroccan Chaimaa Fadil.
Ms Al Memari, who is majoring in social research and public policy with a minor in legal studies and political science, is currently working on her senior capstone project, a two-semester study which aims to understand the different factors that influence young Emiratis when it comes to their academic decisions.
In 2015, Ms Al Memari spoke at TEDxNYUAD where she addressed stereotypes about Emiratis and specifically misconceptions about the abaya.
As a member of the RoadWatch team, she won the Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Best mGovernment Service Award, UAE University category, at the World Government Summit in 2016. Ms AlMemari also volunteers to teach Abu Dhabi high school students about the power of female leadership as part of the Girls’ Education Network.
“I am beyond ecstatic and humbled to be chosen to join the community of Rhodes Scholars at the University of Oxford,” said Ms Al Memari.
“It is an honour to represent my country and NYU Abu Dhabi next October and I hope to continue to make everyone proud. At Oxford, I intend to continue to study public policy and reflect on ways we can reform education so that we empower the youth through knowledge and character development.”
Ms Fadil, from Morocco, is majoring in biology with a split concentration in computer science and applied mathematics.
As a result of spending eight months in New York as part of the Desplan laboratory, one of the leading labs in the field of neurodevelopmental biology, her capstone project aims at characterising the cellular diversity within the brains of fruit flies. She hopes to invest her career in genomic research, which can be used to inform more personalised approaches of clinical care. Ms Fadil also volunteered with children at the Abu Dhabi Science Festival for the past three years, and works with children with special needs in her spare time. At Oxford, she hopes to pursue a MSc in mathematical sciences and global health science and epidemiology.
"The interesting legacy of the Rhodes Scholarship is a testament to the idea that the world is ultimately what we decide to make of the resources at hand. As much as this scholarship is an award, it is also a responsibility for me. History has its eyes on us, and I hope we will be up to the task," said Ms Fadil.
Established in 1902 by the will of the late British businessman Cecil Rhodes, the Rhodes Scholarship is one of the world's oldest and most recognisable awards for international fellowship and academic study. Applicants are selected in a two-stage process that includes endorsement by their college or university, followed by in-person interviews.