On Campus

KU Student Receives Prestigious Founding Leader Award

September 24, 2020

Photo Caption: Ahmed Alzaabi, MSc student in Petroleum Engineering Program at Khalifa University


Award Established by MoE to Reward those who Contribute to the Education Sector

Khalifa University student Ahmed Alzaabi was one of the recipients of the Founding Leader Award 2019 for the category “Distinguished University Student (BSc).” 

The Award was established by the Ministry of Education to highlight the contributions of those in the education sector by acknowledging and recognizing the valuable achievements and accomplishments of the faculty, staff, and students in the UAE. It aims to continue the legacy of the Founding Leader, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, inspiring everyone to carry on his vision and ideologies to develop and advance further the country, especially the education sector. 

Ahmed was a BSc in Petroleum Engineering student and is now pursuing his Master’s degree in Petroleum Engineering at KU. He is currently working at ADNOC Onshore as a Production Engineer. Ahmed is also a member of the Society of Petroleum Engineers (SPE) and a Young Future Energy Leader (YFEL) alumnus. 

Associate Professor Dr. Hwee Lim, Department of English, worked with Ahmed on one of her projects. “I hired Ahmed as a student researcher from 2018-2019. Engineering undergraduates generally lack motivation to be involved in social sciences research. This largely stems from the belief that qualitative social sciences research is less relevant to engineering students than quantitative research in engineering science. Ahmed did not have this misconception but was motivated to be part of my research team because he valued expanding his experience of research in different disciplines,” she commented. 

“As Ahmed’s research supervisor, I observed that in his two-year journey as a student researcher, he learned to work as part of a research team and developed valuable work skills such as problem-solving, perseverance in face of obstacles, and collaboration with a research supervisor. He built better communication skills from interacting with the public in data collection and expanded his technical skills in qualitative research software such as Inqscribe and NVivo 10. 

“Ahmed also presented at the 3rd annual AARE Conference 2019 on behalf of the research team and was co-author in two publications from the project. Ahmed’s decision to undertake an MSc degree while working at ADNOC is evidence of his enduring interest in learning and professional development. He is a worthy recipient of The Founding Leader Award – Distinguished University Student category,” Dr. Lim noted. 

Commenting on his accomplishment, Ahmed said: “I still cannot believe my hard work and contributions in my university were recognized on a national level. Growing up, I only knew Sheikh Zayed as father or “papa” Zayed. To win an award based on his ideals and inspirations, I still struggle to express how joyful and grateful I am.” 

Ahmed is also now working on his MSc thesis that will be titled “Investigation of Wetting Alteration Potential of Surfactants as a Function of Rock Minerology.” The thesis will focus on the surface tension and the extended effect of high pressure and temperatures on surfactants. Surfactants are widely used in the petroleum industry for wettability alteration especially in Enhanced Oil Recovery (EOR) operations. For the last decade, surfactant EOR has been a subject of active interest due to the commercial availability and its technical benefits. Furthermore, surfactants have the potential to achieve a feasible increased oil recovery in the presence of economic and technological limitations.

Ahmed’s thesis topic is very much in line with one of the areas ADNOC is interested in developing. Since ADNOC’s vision is to increase oil production, new technologies and their feasibility in ADNOC fields are being explored. Conducting this study will add to Ahmed’s experience, as well as expand the scope of his expertise beyond his current work. 

“The Founding Leader Award is a materialization of my endeavors to excel as a professional engineer and as a young leader who wishes to serve and lead in a dynamic industry. My goal is to give back to my country by adding value to my professional life as a student and as an engineer.”

Ara Cruz
Creative Writer
24 September 2020

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