Carnegie Mellon University
June 21, 2022

CMU-Q Graduate Wins MCS Gilman Award

By Angela Ford

Jocelyn Duffy
  • Associate Dean for Communications, MCS
  • 412-268-9982

Ayah Salameh, a biological sciences graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), a Qatar Foundation partner university, has been named one of two MCS Gilman Award winners for 2022. Salameh’s award was announced at the Class of 2022 graduation ceremony on May 9, 2022. Salameh is the first student from the Qatar campus to receive the award.

Established in 2019, the MCS Gilman Award recognizes graduating students from the Mellon College of Science (MCS) who have demonstrated exceptional commitment and growth through the MCS Core Education. The MCS Core was introduced as part of the curriculum for all MCS undergraduate degrees in 2015.

Ihab Younis is the area head for biological sciences at CMU-Q: “The MCS Core is a relatively new approach to science education. We want to encourage students to grow in more ways than just science. We want them to graduate as well-rounded individuals, ready for the world, not only scientifically, but also as people, citizens, and professionals.”

The MCS Core was incorporated into the science curricula in order to foster student growth in four dimensions: as scholars, professionals, citizens and persons. Salameh was nominated by the Qatar biological sciences faculty for her consistent growth in each of these dimensions.

“Ayah came to CMU-Q as someone who was a little unsure of herself. During her four years here, she learned to face challenges head-on,” said Younis. “By the time she graduated, I couldn’t find someone more involved in the community.”

Salameh describes her first impression of the MCS Core, which encourages students to learn and reflect in areas outside of science education. “I was very confused about why as bio students, we have to do things like ‘engage in the arts.’ And then I realized that you can't exactly grow as a person without those social experiences.” 

Salameh earned a Senior Leadership Award, With Distinction, for service to the CMU-Q community that included leading the Bio Sci Club, founding the Palestinian Club, working as part of the CMU-Q TEDx team, and participating in the Carnegie Mellon Business Administration annual fashion show.

She also steadily developed as a scholar, realizing in her junior year that she had a passion for research and going on to complete a senior honors thesis. This fall, Salameh will begin a master’s degree in cancer science at the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo, New York.

“This is something that's so amazing about CMU. I keep learning about different perspectives and different ways that people are thinking, and so I think I have a more open mind when approaching any new life situation or any new opportunity. I think that's really important because as a scientist, you have to be incredibly creative.”

The MCS Gilman Award was named in honor of Fred Gilman, the former dean of the Mellon College of Science who was deeply engaged in the creation and implementation of the MCS Core Education for undergraduate students.