Checking In with Our Alumni: Where are you now? What do you most value about your AUB experience?
Taghreed A. Najjar (BA English ’73) I live in Amman, Jordan, with my husband, Shakir Shakhshir (BBA ’68). We have three daughters and three grandchildren. The publishing company that I founded in 1996, Al Salwa Publishers, has become a family business and is being run by my oldest daughter, Salwa Shakhshir Danil. I now act as a consultant and spend a lot of time writing for a range of ages. This keeps me very busy and engaged. I enjoy traveling to different countries for workshops, panel discussions, and story-reading sessions. I love swimming and walking and reading or listening to a good book.
What I most value about my AUB experience is the “can-do” attitude it instilled in me. We were young and believed that we had the power to change the world.
Nadim Zaazaa (BA Political Studies ’05) I am the director of Startup Ecosystem (Calantic Spark) at Bayer Digital Solutions, where I run a global accelerator program for AI startups in medical imaging. I am also the founder and board member of Nucleus Ventures, which offers entrepreneurs, startups, and small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) seed capital and access to funding, and the former chief executive officer at UK Lebanon Tech Hub, which I established in 2014. I am currently based in New York.
What I most value about my AUB experience are the mindset and values it nurtured in me. It drives everything I do in my career and my personal life—and I see it in every friend I made at AUB and continue to connect with.
Leila Wehbe (BE Electrical and Computer Engineering ’09) I am an assistant professor of machine learning and neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In my research, I study how our brain understands language. I use brain imaging tools such as fMRI to discover how different parts of the brain work together to understand the meaning of words, sentences, and paragraphs.
What I most value about my AUB experience is that I was able to take courses that satisfy a large array of interests in a wide variety of disciplines. For instance, alongside the electrical engineering curriculum, it was wonderful to dive into topics such as cognitive science, philosophy, anthropology, biology, and biomedical engineering, which have all contributed to my professional outlook and personal worldview.
Priscilla E. Sharuk (BSLEM Landscape Design and Eco-Management ’10) I am the cofounder and COO of MYKI Password Manager and Authenticator, which was recently acquired by JumpCloud, where I am now the cofounder and global people operations senior manager. Listed by Forbes as one of the top 10 women in tech in 2020, I am deeply involved in the international startup ecosystem and have coached over 450 startups. What I most value about my AUB experience is how much AUB encourages creative and independent thought! My experience allowed my entrepreneurial spirit to flourish and set me on a path to succeed in my professional endeavors.
Tessa Sakhi (BArch ’15) I cofounded T SAKHI (www. tsakhi. com) with my sister, Tara, in 2015. I live in Venice, Italy, but work and travel around the world. We are currently working on a public realm project in Dubai for the Alserkal Arts Foundation. We are also producing a coffee-table collection, Reconciled Fragments, in Lebanon using recycled decomposed and fragmented materials and working with Venetian glassblowers discovering connections and shared knowledge of glassmaking between the Venetian lagoon and across to the Mediterranean region. What I most value about my AUB experience is the enriching students I met from diverse cultures, the wide array of curricula that gave me the choice and freedom to expand my knowledge and creativity, and the attention and passion of my professors.