Class Notes – Fall 2022

Sharon Wilterdink Moses (former student 1967–68) writes, “I came to AUB for my junior year shortly after the 1967 war. My year at AUB opened my eyes to the world beyond the US and continues to inform my life. In Washington, DC, I held management positions in marketing and finance for AT&T and other companies, later moving to Boise, Idaho. In 2019 I returned to Lebanon for a visit with my husband. It was very moving
to see Main Gate and the College Hall bell tower, wander around the beautiful campus, and to visit the Outlook office, where I had spent many busy hours.”
Sossi Nercessian Boladian (MD ’71) celebrated her 50th class reunion during Reunion 2022. (Because of the pandemic, there was no class reunion in 2021.) She writes, “My dreams finally came true when, in June 2022, I was honored with my classmates from the School of Pharmacy on the 50-year anniversary of our graduation. The feeling was great. It took us back to our youth on campus, the hard work to pass exams, and the long hours of laboratory experiments—all done with lots of fun, and great expectations, for a bright and successful future.” In June 2022, Sossi earned an MA in interdisciplinary gender studies from LAU—an occasion witnessed by her husband and children, “who rushed from the US, Dubai, and Geneva” to be there. She is currently working on women’s rights issues as part of the National Commission of Lebanese Women, to which she was appointed 24 years ago.

Rita Mufarrij (BA Psychology ’77, MA Psychology ’81) writes, “I defended my PhD dissertation in psychology at the Lebanese University in September 2022 and was granted the degree after a five-year journey
of research. My dissertation is titled ‘The Psycho-Social Dimensions of Extremism: Self-perception and the Perception of Others.’”

Rula Jurdi (BA ’83) is a poet, novelist, and professor of Islamic history at McGill University. A keynote speaker at several national and international conferences, she has received many honors and awards, including an honorable mention for the best doctoral dissertation. Her poems appear in PULP Magazine, al-Adab, al-Tariq, and Asymptote, among others. Her poem “Oral” was shortlisted for the Magpie Poetry Award in 2018. Her novel, Fi
`ulbat al-daw’ (Camera Obscura), which was published in 2017, won the prestigious Khayrallah Prize in 2020. Rula has two poetry collections; a third, Ma ba`d al-warda (After the Rose), is forthcoming. She has also published three novels, most recently Mi’at Ra`sha in 2019. She also has several academic publications, including two books and a new monograph.

Issam Najm (BE ’85) writes, “After graduating from AUB, I received a research assistantship from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign where I completed my MS (’87) and PhD (’90) degrees. I then moved to California, where I worked for an engineering firm for 10 years. In 2000, I started my own consulting and research firm focused on drinking water treatment science and engineering, which I continue to lead and enjoy every day. My memories of AUB are a mixed bag of joy and pain as the period of 1981–85 was very difficult for the AUB community. However, I feel immense gratitude to AUB’s school of engineering for launching my education and career in an exciting and rewarding field.”

Samir Melki (BS ’86), MD, PhD, is an eye surgeon at Boston Vision, which he founded in 2000. Last spring, he had “a fortuitous encounter” at his clinic with Calista West, the great-great-granddaughter of AUB legend Robert Haldane West, for whom West Hall is named. Calista’s grandfather (Robert Haldane’s son) attended Princeton with the late Dr. Malcom Kerr, who was president of AUB from 1982 to 1984. Samir says that it was “a heart-warming encounter in a small world and a celebration of a long AUB tradition.”

Bechara Raad (BE ’89) is the group chief operating officer at SHUAA Capital in the UAE, where he has worked since 2015. Prior to that he worked at Credit Suisse, Audi Capital, 3Com, and AUB. He and his wife, Yen Fong, have been supporting student scholarships at AUB since 2018. “Especially during these times,” he says, “I think we all need to do what we can.”

Tala Hussein Suleiman-Haidar (BA English Literature ’91, TD TEFL ’92, MA English Literature ’92) writes, “I am married and the mother of two young men (one recently graduated from AUB with a business degree; the other just graduated from Evangelical School). I currently reside in Tyre, where my husband works with UNIFIL. I have been teaching since 1991 at different universities and schools and have been a permanent public school teacher since 2009. I published my first novel last year, Ahlam Mosteghanemi Meets Paolo Coelho in Beirut. It is available at the AUB library and at bookstores in Beirut. I am now working on my second book.”

Waddah Olabi (BBA ’94, MBA ’96) writes, “I am currently a PhD student and researcher at Montreal University. I have worked in the Lebanese banking sector for 24 years and was most recently general manager of Sogelease Liban, a financial leasing company owned by SGBL Group. As an AUB student, I was the vice president (1994–95) and treasurer (1995–96) of the AUB Business Society. I believe we, as alumni, should all support AUB in every possible way, and thus give future generations the chances and privileges we once had at our beloved alma mater.”

Badria Shehab Bayoun (BA English Language ’97, TD ’99) celebrated her 25th class reunion during Reunion 2022. She writes, “Wow! Wow! Wow! It was, by far, one of the best celebrations I’ve ever attended! Every single thing that was done induced a regal feeling to be savored. Thank you AUB for turning a special day into a memorable moment. My heart will always be filled with beautiful memories of this unique day! Long live AUB!” Badria lives in Beirut, where she has been teaching English for more than 23 years.

Rafka Bou Habib (MD ’97) celebrated her 25th class reunion during Reunion 2022. She writes, “I was part of that memorable reunion and was happy to be there. I encourage everyone to participate for the personal joy it brings you. The Honoring Ceremony was great and made me feel 25 years younger.” After earning her MD degree, Rafka did a residency in obstetrics and gynecology at AUBMC. She has been in private practice since 2001. Her most recent interest is cosmetic gynecology. She and her husband, Dr. Anis Wanna, have two children, both in secondary school. She sends her “best wishes to the place that made it possible for me to fulfill my dreams of serving the community.”

Sylvie Maalouf Kassouf (BS Computer Science ’03) writes, “After receiving my BS degree, I worked for a banking software company in Lebanon for almost a year. I quickly realized that a life of programming was not what I saw in my future. So, I moved to the US, where I obtained an MA in international economic policy from George Washington University in 2007. I moved to Doha, Qatar, in 2010. Since 2020, I have been working at the Qatar Foundation, where I am the programs manager for the Policy Hub within the CEO Office. On a more personal note, after my diagnosis with type-1 diabetes, I cofounded the National Diabetes Organization–DiaLeb in Lebanon in 2011.”

Maya Tawil (BS Environmental Health ’07) had accumulated more than 10 years of environmental consultancy experience before moving to Veolia Group, the world leader in ecological transformation and optimized resource management. She is currently managing the industrial business development of Veolia in the United Arab Emirates. Maya works with heavy industries, mainly in the oil, gas, and nuclear sectors, to achieve sustainable growth by proposing tailor-made solutions in energy efficiency, water, and waste management.


Ryan GhusayniI (BS Biology ’13, MD ’17) recently completed a four-year neurology residency at Duke University, where he is now doing a neuromuscular fellowship.

Israa Azzam (ME Mechanical Engineering ’21) writes, “I was selected to work for Dr. Farid Breidi as a visiting scholar at the School of Engineering Technology (SOET) at Purdue University. I have conducted research on digital hydraulics, digital twins, and mixed reality for engineering education. I have also published three journal papers and six conference manuscripts, collaborated with well-known industrial firms, and joined Purdue’s Fluid Power Club, where I participated in the Fluid Power Vehicle Challenge. Given my rewarding visiting scholar experience, I applied and was accepted for a PhD position in mechanical engineering technology at Purdue University, where I will be working under the supervision of Dr. Breidi.”