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A Nobel journey: From the Eastern Province to Lindau

12 June, 2022

By David Murphy 

Mram Alyami is mere weeks away from joining 611 of her fellow young scientists, hailing from 91 countries, in the idyllic surrounds of Lindau for the upcoming 71st Lindau Nobel Laureate Meeting, dedicated to Chemistry, from June 26 to July 1 2022.  

Alyami grew up in a highly educated family in the Kingdom’s Eastern Province, whose library played an integral part in shaping her burgeoning character. It was among the vast array of books and tomes where she found one of her first lifelong loves—reading. Her father, a respected doctor in the local community, was another one of her earliest loves. He was a constant source of inspiration to Alyami, who always harbored ambitions of following in his footsteps and becoming a doctor. However, her planned future career in medicine was not to be. 

Due to the fierce competition for places at universities in Eastern Province, Alyami was not accepted to the College of Medicine at the Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University despite graduating with honors. Still aspiring to attend medical school, she enrolled at the College of Science at Imam Abdulrahman bin Faisal University in the hopes of earning a high enough GPA to eventually qualify for a transfer to College of Medicine.

In the end, she did earn a high enough GPA; however, due to a combination of factors, she was unable to transfer between the Colleges. After a few fruitless attempts, Alyami learned, in her own words, “not to knock on the locked door too many times” and set about forging a different career path.

Finding a true calling

Not being admitted to medical school was a painful experience which knocked the Saudi researcher back but not down. From this disappointment, she decided that she could do
Following this disappointment, she resolved to do better—and she did.

This decision would prove to be a turning point in her life as science was, in fact, her true calling, and it was a pursuit in which she could find total pleasure whilst truly discovering who she was as an individual.
“I became more assertive, determined, and passionate, and I aimed for higher goals. From my losses, I've learned never to give up and keep trying until I achieved my goals or something greater,” she emphasized. 

“I always liked my college’s chemical laboratories and took great pleasure in talking about science and research with my teachers after school. In science, I discovered my joy and myself.

“My ambition is to transform my research into a practical application. One of my greatest personal goals is to establish a school that implants a passion for science in the next generation of women, the next generation of female Saudi scientists and researchers. So they can compete with the world’s best students for places in world-renowned universities and bring more success to our Kingdom.” 

And so Alyami will travel to Germany to be among the next generation of top minds in science, safe in the knowledge that she has the total support and respect of her “beloved” supervisor and mentor, Professor Khashab, as well as her peers in the KAUST PSE Division

“I am thrilled to be nominated and selected for such an amazing opportunity. I am excited to see the Laureates' professional and personal sides. It promises to be a truly enriching experience,” she concluded.