People of KAUST: Fatema Alquraish

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Fatema Alquraish is a student in the Stress Granule Lab of the Center for Desert Agriculture at KAUST. She is also an engaged community member and the first Saudi national to earn a leadership role in the KAUST Volunteer Fire Department (KVFD).

When you speak to Fatema in English, you will notice straight away her strong Irish accent. Fatema is from Safwa, in the east of Saudi Arabia, and moved to Ireland for her undergraduate studies at University College Cork where she picked up her distinctive brogue.

As a student, Fatema is fascinated by how combinations of molecular mechanisms give rise to multicellular life. Understanding such biological phenomena and translating them into research outputs that hold benefit for our world is at the core of her scientific motivation.

“Being a student at KAUST has broadened my horizons regarding how genetics is not only about genetic diseases as people think,” she said. “It is like a magnificent galaxy with so much potential waiting to be explored!”

Outside of her studies, Fatema has also taken on other roles, including being an Orientation Leader, a Resident Assistant, and joining the Volunteer Fire Department.

Fatema joined the KAUST Volunteer Fire Department in 2019 after meeting the volunteer force at a community event and being impressed with the spirit and camaraderie in the group. Having participated in weekly training, supported in several deployments, and proven that she has the knowledge, strength, and determination to succeed, Fatema was recently promoted to KVFD team leader. “I am glad to be part of the wonderful KVFD family. It is the best atmosphere that anyone can ask for. Through my work as a volunteer team leader, I aspire to inspire,” she said.

Her participation proved critical as the KVFD recently deployed to a significant fire incident in which Fatema was able to put her training and leadership to the test. This challenging incident required the deployment of all the resources available to the Fire Department to prevent a total loss of the building or spread to adjacent properties. Thankfully, the fire was efficiently brought under control, highlighting the value of both the Fire Department and the supporting Volunteer Fire Department here at KAUST.

“I believe that university is not only about academic achievements, but also a place where you can contribute to society and build your personality.”

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