I grew up in Damascus, Syria, and came to the US to do my PhD. My years as a graduate student at MIT were amazing, with many long nights of heated discussions, coding and searching for intractable bugs, and arguing about social and political issues while solving math problem sets. My best friends were also my office mates. We worked, took classes, and traveled together. By the end of my PhD, I was so attached to MIT, it was hard to leave. I took a faculty job and stayed.
The other day, a friend of mine put in a good word for me for an amazing internship opportunity. He wrote, “Laura is not corporate polished, but she built a cosmetics manufacturing enterprise with no science background at all. She hustles and makes it happen. If she doesn’t know how to do something, she will figure it out and learn it inside out.”
I was born in a small town in the West Bank in Palestine called Tulkarem. However, I grew up in Amman, Jordan. I came to America when I was 17 years old. I spent 7 years in Texas where I got my BS and PhD. I then came to MIT as an Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, and I have been here since then. I met my wife, Jinane, at MIT, and we raised our three kids (Deema, Hilal, and Yazeed) while we were housemasters at MacGregor house. After living in Cambridge for 30 years, I can confidently say that this is our home.
Have you met your "other” self? No one likes to admit they have one, but I am starting to become well-acquainted with mine. Lately, she has come alive in 3D and is stronger than ever. Perhaps school stress led my mind to build theories that betray me. I’ll describe her in more detail, and maybe our "other” selves will identify with each other.
I was born in Tripoli, Lebanon in 1989 — the same year the civil war ended. I grew up listening to stories of how my parents narrowly escaped the horrors of a sectarian civil war. My parents enrolled us in a secular school, and I didn’t know who among my best friends were Christians or Muslims until I was in middle school. It didn’t really matter to us.