KALAMAZOO, Mich.—After coming to Western Michigan University to pursue her dream career developing new products, Maruj Jamal, B.S.’22, has returned to Saudi Arabia with her chemical engineering degree in hand ready to make that dream come true.
“I always wanted to work in manufacturing. When I was in high school, I was watched a video of how to produce toothpaste, and it was so interesting to me,” says Jamal. “I was excited to learn how goods are produced in real life and to be part of producing these goods.”
As high school graduation approached and on the recommendation of a family friend who was studying at Western, Jamal explored the chemical engineering program and the city of Kalamazoo, and made one more step toward her dream.
“The most difficult part was building a new life from a scratch. I did not have any friends when I moved, no furniture in my apartment, no car, no family and completely different environment than home. However, as soon as I started college, everything went smoothly. WMU is like my second home, and I love it,” says Jamal.
The most interesting part of moving to Kalamazoo was interacting with people from different countries, different cultures and different languages. With the help of WMU's Center for English Language and Culture for International Students, Jamal was able to minimize the challenges of adapting to all that change.
“WMU has a good program for international students called Center for English Language and Culture for International Students. I applied to this program to learn English and to prepare myself for the academic world. We learned how to write essay, research paper and many other things that were helpful when I started my major,” she adds.
Jamal continues to reach for her dream by searching for the perfect position as a process engineer—another dream would be landing a position at P&G or Saudi Aramco. As her search continues, she reflects on the lessons she learned at Western and the outlook for her field.
“One of the challenges is that our courses seemed easy until they are applied in real world. The equipment used become more complicated to operate, safety becomes a huge concern and the calculations become more difficult. Some of our professors used to take us on field trips, which helped us to get an idea of what we are going to deal with in the future,” Jamal says, adding these company visits included tours of manufacturing facilities and networking time with employees at Armstrong, WMU power plant and Kellogg’s.
As her dream materializes, Jamal keeps her goal at the forefront: “In the next five years, I would gain an experience that would be enough for me to develop products that would impact the world in a positive way.”
Find out where Jamal’s dream take her by connecting with her on LinkedIn.
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