Amad Alazmi ’21 has a passion for the management of water, and he plans on bringing the knowledge he’s gained as a student in Wilkes University’s Environmental Engineering program back to help his home country of Kuwait.
Every year Wilkes University welcomes students from all over the world, and Kuwait is one of 30 countries currently represented. Amad Alazmi is one of about 25 students from the small country that is about the size of New Jersey on the Persian Gulf nestled between Iran and Iraq.
So what would bring a student to Wilkes from halfway around the world and a country that averages 118 degrees in the summer, and gets about as much rain in a year as falls in one month in Pennsylvania? “I came to study soil and water,” was the perfectly logical answer from Amad, who will graduate this summer with a degree in environmental engineering. In fact, Amad wants to work to help Kuwait manage its water resources. “I was interested in water distribution systems, because the largest water source in Kuwait is the Gulf.”
Amad explained that Kuwait has a good desalination system for the Persian Gulf salt water, but it is a multi-step process that consumes a lot of energy. “I would like to help find a more easily adaptable water distribution system that uses less energy,” he said.
When he graduates, Amad plans on bringing the knowledge he’s gained back to his home country because “there’s a lot to do and there are not a lot of environmental engineers in Kuwait.” He is grateful to environmental engineering professor Brian Whitman for giving of his time and helping him to learn all about water resources engineering and hydrology, especially out in the field. “Wilkes has a great environmental engineering program, and because it is a small school, I was able to do work and spend a lot of time outdoors during the fall and spring semesters doing research with my professors.”
While the interest in soil and water initially brought Amad to Wilkes, his studies also included topics such as pollution and waste management. “For my senior project, Dr. Nelson Anaya and Dr. Saritha Karnae helped me develop a system from scratch that regenerates plastic waste into usable fibers,” said Amad. In fact, all environmental engineering students produce senior capstone projects that tackle some of today’s most complex environmental issues.
Amad also credits Wilkes University’s Center for Global Education and Diversity for helping him to adjust to life and education in the U.S., and he turned to the dedicated staff for help often. “In my time at Wilkes I’ve met so many great friends and professors. It’s the people that matter—they make Wilkes such a great environment.”
Amad encourages other international students to take advantage of the support that Wilkes offers. “Whenever I had a problem or needed help, Dr. Georgia was there for me,” he said, referencing Dr. Georgia Costalas, the director of the Center for Global Education and Diversity, a department dedicated to helping students with everything from paperwork to providing programming developed especially for international students.
“The Center’s staff and all of the Wilkes community is enriched by the culture, perspective, courage, and personalities of international students like Amad who come from other countries to study at Wilkes,” said Dr. Costalas. “We are proud of these students who have to overcome language and cultural challenges to study here. Most speak English as a second language and need to quickly learn American life, including classroom procedures, in order to succeed. They learn about the U.S. but, as importantly, help all of us learn about the world.”
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