Laith A. Al Gaz

Studying in the US was a phenomenal experience. Although the joys of intercultural friendships and the independent bachelor life (not as flashy as it sounds – mostly cleaning, cooking, and doing laundry) gave me opportunity to grow, what I am the most thankful for was the experience to immerse myself in a research university’s atmosphere. Attending talks of world-renowned scholars on obscure subjects with overly specific titles, meeting ambitious students doing cutting-edge research in foreign academic fields, and spending weekends perusing used bookstores has acted as an incredibly nurturing environment for independent thought and transformed the way I see the world.

I joined Carnegie Mellon University in 2006 with a persistent dislike for mathematics and narrow professional desires in entrepreneurship. By graduation four years later, my online school profile broadly declared my interests to be: “Inclusive of logic, epistemology, uncertainty, perception of risk, rationality, causality, prescriptive decision sciences, management of organizations, organizational strategy, theology, the history of mathematics, and recent history of the Arabian Peninsula”. Aside from making me an abuser of run-on sentences, the experience opened my eyes to fields that I didn’t know existed, showed me the fascinating aspects of those that I knew of, and taught me to question the infallibility of thought - mine and others. As I continue to pursue my newfound interests, in the form of a master’s degree at the London School of Economics, I thank the UAE’s Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research for making my journey possible.