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PHD Information Systems, Saudi Arabian Applicant

A young woman from Saudi Arabia devoted to technological and social progress, computers have stood at the center of my world my entire life. Having known for many years that it is this area of studies where my heart lies for the long term, I earned my Bachelor’s Degree in Computer Science from King Fahad University in 2006. Next, I went to Australia to earn my Master’s Degree in Information Systems at XXXX University (2008-2010). My first choice for PHD study is the particularly outstanding doctoral program in Information Technology at University of XXXX.

Since 2012, I have served as a Lecturer in the Information System Department at Taif University in Saudi Arabia. Over the course of this period of time I have been engaged in an enormous amount of research both formal and independent either directly concerned with or closely related to the way in which IT has resulted in a strategic transformation of my country in particular, and the Middle East more generally speaking. Much of my focus has been laboring to accurately assess the readiness of private and public sectors throughout this strategic transformation with especially close attention to the educational system in Saudi Arabia. In less than 15 years, Saudi Arabia has established 24 public universities, 8 private universities, and a total of 494 colleges in 76 cities throughout the country.  Such huge expansion created many opportunities and challenges, especially securing the talent to teach and lead in these organizations.

Female educators have as yet failed to reach the upper echelons of decision-making as concerns educational policy in Saudi Arabia. This is probably not surprising to most given the fact that we were only given the right to drive a car last month. I accept the special challenge that Saudi Arabia represents, with respect to women’s rights and the difficulty associated with glass-ceiling issues, especially in our government institutions. I am optimistic for progress not only because this is my nature but also because I am a tireless leader who very much enjoys inspiring other women. While few women work in strategic positions in the IT industry, there are more of us every year. I hope to engage in research as a graduate student at the University of Houston and broaden my horizons much further with respect to the special challenges faced by women in IT, particularly in the Middle East, the Developing World more generally speaking, and especially Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia recently announced its Vision 2030 initiative, a long-term economic blueprint designed to limit the country's dependence on oil. Troubled by plunging oil prices, for some time now Saudi Arabia has been turning to the IT industry to help fill the void and further the diversification of our economy. One of the most salient symbols of this mammoth investment is the $500-billion-dollar mega city “NEOM” in the north-west of Saudi Arabia, striving to become a place that brings together many of the world’s top companies and their best minds so as to push the frontiers of standards of excellence, especially in IT. Saudi Arabia also teamed up with SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications and technology group, to launch a new tech fund that will manage as much as $100bn (KRW 113.9 trillion).  In fact, Saudi strategy involves a variety of major players, with major investments being made in the KSA by some of the giants of the Silicon Valley as well as those parts of Europe at the forefront of IT development. Our goal is to create the Silicon Desert.

Radical improvement has already been made in our educational system so as to respond to this great need for well-educated people in the workforce beginning at a young age, tailoring education to meet market requirements and ensuring an ample supply of quality graduates to meet the needs of the future. The Saudi government is aspiring for a minimum of five Saudi universities to be ranked among the top 200 internationally by 2030. We have great opportunities yet we also face great challenges. Saudi Arabia depends upon the acceleration of its IT industry to drive economic and social development, promote good governance, and enhance national security.  To achieve these outcomes, telecommunication providers will need to provide a highly developed and resilient communications infrastructure, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will need to rapidly embrace ICT solutions and services, and the local IT industry will need to innovate and develop more increasingly sophisticated products and services. The education system will also need to refocus its efforts on nurturing the existing ICT skills base. 

By obtaining the PHD Degree in Information Technology at the University of XXXX, I will have the opportunity to fully explore how digitization is central to the successful development of Saudi Arabia's economic interests in line with Vision 2030. I look forward to closely studying the development models of other countries in this area and the extent to which they have been successful at implementing their vision. I also want to learn as much as I can about ways to enhance learning and educational experiences for students in remote areas. After completing your program at the University of XXXX, I look forward to spending the balance of my professional lifetime serving as a professor in my country and also a leader for the progressive advancement of our educational system, always sensitive to the need to fully incorporate women in our decision-making processes and helping women of future generations to have greater opportunities.

Social change is long overdue in Saudi Arabia. Teachers and political leaders need to be more responsive to the way in which society is changing on global levels, particularly with respect to following the lead of highly developed countries where women have the greatest freedoms.  All Saudi Arabians are ultimately responsible for the future of women in education. I have selected teaching as my profession since I wish to play a significant role in the development of my home community; I would like to encourage women to be educated and supportive of each other. I strongly believe in educating students to become life-long learners so that their discoveries are not limited to just their careers or specific fields. I wish to transfer my knowledge and skills to generations to follow, preparing them for the challenges that will develop along their life paths,

I could not be more devoted to IT and I have always worked very hard to advance in my field. I have met many challenges, especially doing my Masters in Australia despite raising small children at the time. I also worked in a remote area of Australia for almost 5 years, attesting to my dedication, passion, and commitment. I hope to be accepted to your PHD Program at the University of XXXX because we need more well-educated – especially female – decision-makers in our part of the world.

I thank you for considering my application to your PHD Program in Internet Technology at the University of XXXX.

Meet the President of Time 2 Profit, Sonaya Williams, Women in STEM.

Statements of Excellence for Admission to Graduate School in Information Systems

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Sample Personal Statement for the Master’s Degree in Design, Chilean/Brazilian Applicant

My dream is to become a Design professor and to promote the sharing of ideas among designers across the Americas, in its three most widely spoken languages Portuguese (native) Spanish (near-native), and English (fluent). I hope to be selected to attend your especially innovative and distinguished Master’s Degree Program at the University of XXXX because of your focus, especially as related to the public good, education, health, and safety. I feel that I am the best fit with your emphasis on the importance of diversity and the sharing of ideas across cultural and language barriers, all of us learning from each other on a planetary level, in design as in other areas. My father was from Chile and my mother from Brazil and I have lived and worked in the USA, thus, I am multicultural as well as multilingual. Granted an opportunity to pursue this master program, I will be able to buttress the knowledge and skills in design obtained from my previous learning and occupational undertakings with expertise in the theoretical and research aspects of design. In addition, your program will orient me into interdisciplinary design development and make me better placed to contribute to strategic design planning and development.

My area of foremost engagement and fascination is Visual Communication Design. My extensive professional experience in branding and packaging design over the course of the last 18 years will help me to hit the ground running in your program and distinguish myself as a top-notch student.

Currently the Design Director of XXXX Comunicação in Rio de Janeiro. I am responsible for crafting creative solutions to a broad range of branding and packaging challenges. I lead a team of 4 designers and I am involved in every step of the branding process, from strategic development design through the execution of final art through finished on shelf product delivery – ensuring that every aspect of a brand’s equity is properly developed and maintained. What I get particularly excited about, however, are design applications for humanitarian endeavors, both in terms of social justice issues as well as charitable efforts. As a young person, I spent many years helping to provide for the most basic necessities of children in an orphanage and filled leadership roles within our organizations of young Catholics. I will continue to participate until I am gone in solidarity with humanitarian efforts to make the world a better place. As a holistic thinker and designer, my special research interest is in health. I hope to address questions that open a discourse on how visual communication affects the quality of life and well-being of individuals.

The healthcare sector requires a unique type of creativity at the intersection of compliance with brand strategy and creative integrity. It is necessary to change our way of thinking so as to promote design professionally on every level.

Watching my father die of Alzheimer’s year after year gave me vast opportunity that I took full advantage of to reflect, as a designer, about to ease the stress of disease for its victim and their caretaker as well. Although the statistics are bleak, it is possible for people with Alzheimer’s to live an enjoyable life for years after being diagnosed, if they have access to the right care and support. Therefore there are huge opportunities for designers and creatives to help raise awareness concerning ways to improve daily life for people living with this disease. I want to collaborate with health professionals to come up with solutions that reduce stress and anxiety, increase patient satisfaction, and promote health and healing.

I also have a special passion for teaching and one of my central goals in the future is to become a Design Professor, mentoring new generations of designers. I am thankful for the full immersion experience that I had in the USA beginning in 1989 and staying there for twelve years, studying art and working in design, which did wonders for my English that has been of great service over the years. I have worked for global brands and won international recognition and I am now well established in the Brazilian market, I seek to enhance my level of international engagement in the future.  Music and art, classical guitar and oil painting are fundamental to my identity as well and help me to stay focused as s designer.

I thank you for consideration of my application.

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Women in Information Systems

The Heroines of Information Systems

There is little about the heroines of international relations online. Scour the Women Leaders in International Relations & Foreign Policy Facebook group, and you´ll find some mentioned, as well as a speech or two from Michelle Obama.

But as Madeleine Albright hilariously and very rightly said: “There is a special place in hell for women who do not help other women.” Yep. So we decided to help everyone get on the bandwagon and recognize some of the amazing women in this field. Let´s get started.

Martha Finnemore 

Martha Finnemore was born in 1959, and is now a constructivist scholar of international relations. She is also a University Professor at the Elliott School of International Affairs at George Washington University.

Finnemore is best known for her books, which helped to pioneer constructivism National Interests in International Society, The Purpose of Intervention, and Rules for the World (with Michael Barnett).

In 2009, a survey of over 2700 international relations faculty in ten countries named her one of the twenty five most influential scholars in the discipline, and one of the five scholars whose work in the last five years has been the most interesting!

An earlier survey of over 1000 American international relations faculty also ranked her similarly in both categories, and in 2011, she was elected as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Finnemore completed her B.A. at Harvard, followed by an M.A. from the University of Sydney and a Ph.D. from Stanford. Her husband, David Furth, is acting chief of the Public Safety and Homeland Security Bureau of the Federal Communications Commission.

Nadia Murad Basee Taha 

Nadia Murad Basee Taha is a Yazidi human rights activistNobel Peace Prize nominee and since September 2016, the first Goodwill Ambassador for the Dignity of Survivors of Human Trafficking of the United Nations. She was kidnapped and held by the Islamic State in 2014.

Murad was born in the village of Kocho in Sinjar, northern Iraq. Her family, of the Yazidi people, were farmers. Murad grew up on a farm.

In 2014, when she was 21 years old, Murad was a student living in the village of Kocho in Sinjar, northern Iraq. Islamic State fighters rounded up the Yazidi community in the village and killed 600 people – including six of Nadia's brothers and stepbrothers – and taking the younger women into slavery.

That year Murad was one of more than 6,700 Yazidi women taken prisoner by Islamic State in Iraq, held as a slave in the city of Mosul, beaten, burned with cigarettes, and raped when trying to escape.

But in November 2014, Nadia was able to escape after her captor left the house unlocked. She was taken in by a neighboring family. They were able to smuggle her out of the Islamic State controlled area, allowing her to make her way to a refugee camp in Duhok, northern Iraq, and then to StuttgartGermany.

On December 16, 2015, Murad briefed the United Nations Security Council on the issue of human trafficking and conflict for the first time. As part of her role as an ambassador, Murad participates in global and local advocacy initiatives to bring awareness of human trafficking and refugees.

She reaches out to refugee and survivor communities, listening to testimonies of victims of trafficking and genocide.

As of September 2016, Attorney Amal Clooney spoke before the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) to discuss the decision she made in June 2016 to represent Murad as a client in legal action against ISIL commanders.

Clooney characterized the genocide, rape, and trafficking as a "bureaucracy of evil on an industrial scale". He described a slave market existing both online, on Facebook and in the Mideast that is still active today. Murad has received many serious threats to her safety as a result of her work.