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Balancing Dreams and Realities: A Journey of Resilience and Achievement in Academia


Merci beaucoup d'avoir accepté l'interview

Could you please describe your background?

I have earned two master's degrees, one in telecommunications and networking from Antonine University in Lebanon, and another in mobile and distributed computing from the University of Franche-Comté in France. After completing these degrees, I joined a well-known university in Saudi Arabia as a lecturer in the College of Computer Science and Engineering. For six and a half consecutive years, I taught IT, computer science, and computer engineering. My diverse educational background enabled me to teach a variety of subjects.

Throughout my career, I discovered my passion for teaching.With the rapid advancement of artificial intelligence, I realized it was the perfect time to pursue a doctorate to enhance my knowledge and achieve personal fulfillment. Maintaining continuous connections with my mentors in France, I was able to start my PhD in 2020 in computer science, focusing specifically on machine learning and time series forecasting. Now, having completed my PhD two years ago, I am proudly an assistant professor.


Can you please briefly describe your PhD thesis work?

A PhD thesis should be based on a robust subject that can yield significant research results. My PhD focused on analyzing a real dataset of firefighters in France, with the primary objective of predicting the number of interventions in different regions to optimize human, material, and financial resources. This general goal became more nuanced and specific as my research progressed, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic, which disrupted the regular patterns of firefighter interventions. In addition to my research, I was required to complete 100 hours of training in various fields related to my PhD subject, either online or in person. However, due to my concurrent role as a lecturer at the university, my required training hours were reduced to 60, as 40 hours were credited from my teaching responsibilities.

Extensive reading of research papers was mandatory before initiating any new project, which eventually led to publications in conferences and journals. Regular weekly meetings with my supervisors were essential to ensure steady progress and valuable guidance throughout my PhD journey.


How hard is it to balance your time during the PhD?

Balancing time during my PhD was undoubtedly challenging, as I was simultaneously working, raising two children, and managing numerous responsibilities. I knew from the outset that this journey would not be easy, but I constantly reminded myself that I could do it, and I kept counting down the days to my defense. Despite the hard work and occasional exhaustion, I successfully balanced my time between my family, work, and academic pursuits. It required meticulous planning, unwavering determination, and a positive mindset. I am living proof that with resilience and dedication, it is possible to achieve your dreams, no matter how demanding the path may be.

In terms of personal values, what did your Ph.D. journey add?

My Ph.D. journey has profoundly enriched my personal values, particularly in terms of perseverance, resilience, and time management. Transitioning from a lecturer to an assistant professor, I have learned the importance of critical thinking and staying updated with the latest research and innovations, especially in the rapidly evolving fields of computer science and machine learning. This journey has taught me to embrace challenges, continuously seek knowledge, and inspire others with my dedication and passion for education and research. The experience has solidified my commitment to lifelong learning and has made me a more effective and empathetic educator.

If you have to give Ph.D. students one tip, what would it be?

Believe unwaveringly in your own strength and potential. Remember that every challenge you face is an opportunity to grow and prove to yourself just how resilient and capable you are. Embrace the support of your community, lean on your mentors, and never underestimate the power of your own determination. Your unique perspective and contributions are invaluable, and your perseverance will pave the way for others to follow. Keep pushing forward, knowing that you are breaking barriers and making a difference.


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