Distinguished Alumni

Recognizing the achievements of accomplished and budding MSFEA alumni alike.

Opening and Distinguished Alumni Award: April 29, 9:00 – 11:00, ELH

Dr. Hrayer Aprahamian 

Young Distinguished Alumni – Department of Industrial Engineering and Management
Advancing Healthcare with Operations Research

Hrayer Aprahamian is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering at Texas A&M University. His research interests lie in the application of Operations Research, optimization methodologies, and statistical tools to problems arising in healthcare systems and public policy decision-making. Professor Aprahamian’s recent research has examined programs for large-scale screening strategies that incorporate crucial population-level characteristics. As a lead author, his research papers have appeared in journals such as Management Science, IISE Transactions, and Statistics in Medicine. He received the Paul E. Torgersen Research Excellence Award (2018), and was runner-up for the Pierskalla Prize (2017), for research excellence in healthcare management science. Professor Aprahamian received a Ph.D. in Industrial and Systems Engineering from Virginia Tech (2018), a M.S. in Engineering Management from American University of Beirut (2012), and a B.S. in Physics from Lebanese University (2010).


Dr. Wassim Jabi 

Distinguished Alumni – Department of Architecture and Design (Architecture)
Omnium Rerum Principia Parva Sunt (The beginnings of all things are small)

Dr. Wassim Jabi’s research interests are at the intersection of parametric design, the representation of space, building performance simulation, and robotic fabrication in architecture. During the period 1996 to 2008, among other academic activities, Dr. Jabi led the Association for Computer-Aided Design in Architecture (ACADIA), secured a $250,000 National Science Foundation (NSF) grant to study design creativity, and taught at various universities before moving to the UK in 2008. He is currently a Reader (tenured Associate Professor) at the Welsh School of Architecture, Cardiff University where he leads the digital design area. Dr. Jabi has published widely on topics ranging from parametric and generative design to the role of light in architecture and building performance simulation. In 2013, Dr. Jabi wrote and published a book titled “Parametric Design for Architecture” (Laurence King Publishing, London). In the same year, Dr. Jabi secured a £70,000 ($100,000 USD) grant to purchase a large 6-axis high accuracy industrial robot to investigate innovative digital fabrication processes. In 2016, Dr. Jabi secured a £300,000 ($420,000 USD) grant from the Leverhulme Trust to develop a conceptual framework for the hierarchical spatial representation of buildings. In 2017, he secured a £73,000 EPSRC grant to research robotic digital fabrication of Cob structures.

Mr. Nour Kanafani 

Distinguished Alumni – Department of Architecture and Design (Graphic Design)

A Distinguished Alumni of the American University of Beirut, Nour Kanafani (BE GD’97) is the Chairman and CEO of Communication Design SAL in Beirut, Lebanon; and the Founder and Lead Design Principal of Design Consortium International Limited in the BVI, United Kingdom.

Kanafani started his design career in 1995 while studying for his design degree. Today, his offices cater for clients in 15 countries in various industries some of which are: Financial Services, Consulting, Oil & Gas, Automotive, Higher Education, Fashion, F&B, Real Estate, and Telecom.

Kanafani’s daily challenge is to strike the balance between design the profession: able to communicate client brands, develop growth, create jobs, and improve lives; and design as a tool that can inspire and elevate the viewer’s visual literacy.

His work is exhibited in New York City, Berlin, Frankfurt, and other cities in the US, Canada, China, England, France, Japan, Poland, Russia, South Korea, Spain, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

Kanafani is a two-time Red Dot Design Award winner, and a two-time German Design Award winner; in addition to being a member of the Type Directors Club in New York and a holder of the Club’s Certificate of Typographic Excellence. He was also celebrated as the Member of the Month in July 2018.

In 2018 Kanafani won his client, the American University of Beirut, the Case Circle of Excellence Award for his work on the AUB150 Sesquicentennial.

Sample works: Click here

Mr. Mahmoud El Assir

Distinguished Alumni – Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

Mahmoud El-Assir is the Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer – Verizon IT. In this role, Mahmoud is responsible for IT Global Infrastructure, Cloud, Data Analytics and Enterprise Architecture areas focusing on large scale infrastructure and systems modernization, systems strategy, architecture, business impacting data analytics, scaling emerging technologies and talent development. El-Assir is also an industry influencer through CIO Customer Advisory Boards at Amazon Web Services, Dell Technologies and RedHat.

Previously, El-Assir was Senior Vice President and Chief Information Officer for Verizon’s Consumer and Mass Business Group. El-Assir had responsibility for strategy, architecture, development and management of the information systems portfolio enabling marketing, sales, delivery and assurance of voice, data and video services to consumer and mass business customers on both the Fiber and Copper Networks. Additionally, he had responsibility for the development and support of FiOS TV.

Prior to this, El-Assir held multiple technology leadership roles in the areas of digital, sales and marketing systems, data analytics, Voice Portal, and was part of the core team launching Verizon.com after the merger of GTE and Bell Atlantic.

El-Assir holds a Bachelor’s of Engineering degree in computer and communications engineering from the American University of Beirut (1997) and worked at the AUB Multi-Media Lab as a research assistant with focus on Network security and administration. He received the Dean’s Award for creative achievement in the field of Computer and Communication Engineering. El-Assir and his wife live in Mendham NJ and have 3 children, Noor, Dean and Rayan.

Ms. Zeina Koreitem 

Young Distinguished Alumni – Department of Architecture and Design (Architecture)

Zeina Koreitem is founding partner with John May in MILLIØNS, a Los Angeles-based architecture and design practice. She is a Design Critic in Architecture at the Harvard Graduate School of Design and Design Faculty at the Southern California Institute of Architecture in Los Angeles. Previously she taught at the University of Toronto and USC School of Architecture. Prior to founding her practive she worked in the offices of Dominique Perrault Architecture in Paris, and RCR Arquitectes in Olot, Spain. She holds a B.Arch from the American University of Beirut, where she received the AREEN Project Award of Excellence in Architecture, and the Outstanding Creative Achievement Award; an M.Arch II from the University of Toronto; and an MDes in Design Computation from Harvard GSD, where she received the Daniel L. Schodek Award for Technology.

Her practice’s work has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including a commissioned furniture set by Friedman Benda Gallery NYC, shows at the Storefront for Art and Architecture in New York, The Architecture + Design Museum of Los Angeles, the MIT Keller Architecture Gallery, and the Harvard Graduate School of Design. Their essays and interviews are widely published, including a recent catalog of work on experimental collective living, entitled New Massings for New Masses published by MIT Press.

Zeina Koreitem with her partner have been named by The Architects Newspaper as one of six emerging designers to watch in 2018 and her firm has been recognized in Architect’s Newspaper’s annual 2019 top fifty list among emerging and established firms in the United States, these firms were selected for their demonstration of novel and exciting approaches that push the envelope in how we inhabit spaces.


Ms. Farah Fayyad

Young Distinguished Alumni – Department of Architecture and Design (Graphic Design)

Farah Fayyad graduated from the American University of Beirut in 2012 with a BFA in Graphic Design. She has two very particular interests: Arabic typography/lettering and screen-printing. After graduating from AUB, she co-founded an experimental screen-printing studio called Silkroad Atelier, based at Mansion—a heritage building turned co-working space in Zoqaq el-Blatt. Mansion is a project invested in the collective rehabilitation and re-use of a formerly abandoned building, transforming it into a creative hub for the public. As part of Silkroad Atelier, she ran workshops and printed publications and products in support of local activists and cultural campaigns, and supported the practices of artists. She then worked at Studio Safar, one of Beirut’s leading design agencies for three years, developing projects primarily for the creative cultural field in Lebanon. Drawing on her apprenticeship with master calligrapher Mokhtar El-Baba, her work involves a lot of experimentation and play with the Arabic script and bilingual design in particular. In July 2018, she co-founded and is currently managing Nice Nice Prints, a screen-printing studio, shop, and workshop space together with her printmaking mentor, Salim Samara. Teaching screen-printing has become central to her practice, as Nice Nice becomes a hub to develop a local community around the craft. She is also currently the art-director for Dar El-Nimer for Arts & Culture, a museum/cultural space in Beirut, and is collaborating with Tumo Studios, an educational foundation in Armenia, on setting up and running a screen-printing facility at their center in Yerevan.

Brief Comment

Honored and grateful to be acknowledged by the AUB community that has supported and inspired me since graduation.

Dr. Muhammad Hajj

Distinguished Alumni – Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Role of individual and societal values in career exploration and development

Professor Muhammad R. Hajj is the George Meade Bond Professor, Chair of the Department of Civil, Environmental and Ocean Engineering and the Director of the Davidson Laboratory at Stevens Institute of Technology. Dr. Hajj is a renowned scholar in the fields of nonlinear dynamics, fluid mechanics, structural dynamics and fluid-structure interactions with applications in aero- and hydro-elasticity, ships hydrodynamics, biomimetically-inspired air and underwater vehicles, and energy harvesting. To date, he has advised and directed research programs of 26 PhD students who hold prestigious academic and industry positions. He is the author/co-author of over 150 journal publications. Before joining Stevens Institute of Technology in July 2018, Dr. Hajj was the J. Byron Maupin Professor of Engineering and Director of the NSF funded I/UCRC Center for Energy Harvesting Materials and Systems at Virginia Tech where he oversaw the development of industry-directed energy-related science and technology research programs. At Virginia Tech, he also served as the Associate Dean of Graduate School between 2014 and 2018 where he was involved in the implementation of the Transformative Graduate Education initiative. Dr. Hajj is a Fellow of the Engineering Mechanics Institute and has served as an elected member of its Board of Governors. Dr. Hajj received a B. Eng. degree (with distinction) from the American University of Beirut in 1983. He received a M.Sc. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Texas at Austin in 1985 and 1990.

Ms. Samar Semaan

Young Distinguished Alumni – Department of Chemical Engineering and Advanced Energy

Upon graduation with a bachelor of Engineering in Chemical Engineering from AUB, I started working as a process engineer with Petrofac International Limited in Sharjah, UAE. Being a member of the process engineering department there, I worked on process simulations, engineering design of rotating and static equipment, as well as participated in design reviews, HAZOPs, HAZIDs, and SILs for leading clients in the oil & gas industry in the region such as: Saudi Aramco, British Petroleum, and Shell.

Although my work with Petrofac for 5 years was of a technical nature, yet being part of multi-billion-dollar capital projects I also had the opportunity to understand commercial aspects of project execution and contractual arrangements between vendors, contractors, sub-contractors, and clients.

After working with Petrofac, I moved to DuPont Sustainable Solutions as an operations consultant working on lean and operational excellence projects for clients in the GCC. I am currently handling the operations workstream and working on installing the Production Loss Accounting process for 3 refineries and 1 aromatics plants in Oman between Muscat and Sohar.

Typical on-the-job activities for me would be: running technical Kaizen and brainstorming sessions, designing technical business processes, generating lean initiatives, performing training for panel operators, and operations engineers on loss capturing and waste elimination.

Besides my project activities, I am also a part of the DuPont Operational Risk Management (ORM) practice and I work with colleagues from different regions on performing risk assessments across different industries such as: Ammonia plants, Alumina refineries, Aluminum smelters, and Polyolefin plants.

In my free time, I am a member of Toastmasters International and a certified Competent Communicator and Competent Leader. I compete in public speaking championships across the Middle East. In 2016 and 2017, I won the 1st place at the District Toastmasters Annual Conference for Improvised Speeches (Table Topics).

Mr. Nadim Taha

Young Distinguished Alumni – Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

What school doesn’t teach you

Nadim Taha is currently a Senior Principal Software Engineer on the Core Security team at Splunk where he is focused on advancing product security architecture. He was previously at Google where he served as a Tech Lead on Titan, the industry’s first vendor-agnostic production silicon root of trust. He graduated from AUB with a BE in Computer and Communications Engineering in 2011 after spending a year at Intel as a Research Scientist in the Throughput Computing & Security Research labs. While a student at AUB, Nadim was responsible for hardening and managing the security posture of the FEA’s IT infrastructure. He subsequently completed a Master’s degree in Information Security at Carnegie Mellon during which he spent a summer working on the macOS Kernel at Apple.

Mr. Nadim Habr

Young Distinguished Alumni – Department of Mechanical Engineering
Do great things, help others, and be guided by your passions

Nadim Habr is the Founder & CEO of Designhubz, a Software as a Service platform that enables companies to engage their audience with interactive 3D, Augmented Reality & Virtual Reality experiences, viewable in all browsers, on any device.

Designhubz is the first company in the GCC to be part of Oracle Global Startups and is also in the Microsoft Partner Network.

Prior to starting Designhubz, Nadim founded Auto Tech in 2014, a boutique one-stop-shop for supercars and high-end cars in Lebanon. Auto Tech was a new concept in the automotive aftermarket industry and offered many innovative solutions including design of performance parts, repairs, and Engine Control Unit reprogramming for maximum performance.

It was sold in 2015 to Auto Tech’s main competitor.

He then worked for 4 years as a Business Development and Technical lead in a regional maritime company based in UAE that provides offshore vessels and technical support to the Oil & Gas industry. During his tenure he developed accounts with Oil & Gas majors and closed several multi-million dollar deals.

Nadim holds a BE in Mechanical Engineering from AUB (Class of 2012), and a degree in Automotive Technology & Advanced Systems from the Universal Technical Institute of Pennsylvania (Class of 2013). He joined the Mercedes-Benz USA program in Los Angeles after his graduation.