Faisal Yousef Odeh, Ruwais Private School
When Faisal Yousef Odeh was a student at Ruwais Private School, a SABIS® Network school in Abu Dhabi, U.A.E., one of his teachers told him that one day he would “reach the moon.” He had just finished a 6-hour physics exam in less than 90 minutes. Those words of encouragement from his teacher still ring in his ears today, nearly eight years after graduating from high school, and are one of the things that push him to continue learning and achieving.
Faisal started as a SABIS® student as a 4th grader when the Ruwais Private School opened its doors in 2001. The school quickly became like a home to him, a place where he spent nine hours/day engaged in learning, pursuing his interests, and developing friendships. While in school, he got involved in SLO® as a prefect. He volunteered to tutor other students and attributes the deepening of his own understanding to this role. “It was in teaching someone else that I fully understood the topic,” he remarked.
In thinking about his time at RPS, Faisal characterizes one of his most enduring memories from RPS as “the love, empathy, and recognition” he experienced in his daily life at school. The environment, he says, gave him “the sense of belonging and motivation to continue doing well.” The diverse environment also helped him realize “how similarly different” people are, and this realization has helped him become a clear communicator who can adapt and contribute to different communities.
While at RPS, Faisal challenged himself and sought to earn the respect of others in the community. He was a strong student, earning top results throughout high school including top scores on all the external exams he took including AP®, IGCSE, GCSE, and AS Level. He also took the opportunity to explore his academic interests, enrolling in almost all subjects the school offered from science-based courses to economics and business to find out what he enjoyed most. That turned out to be physics. “It was the introduction to atomic structures and nuclear physics in the Grade 10 physics class where I got hooked,” he says.
Physics formed the nucleus of his university studies. Upon graduating from RPS in June 2010, Faisal considered the half dozen or so universities he’d been accepted to and opted to attend Purdue University in the U.S., where he completed a bachelor’s degree with distinction in nuclear engineering in May 2014 and a master’s degree in the same field in 2016.
Equipped with everything he learned at RPS and beyond, Faisal is building an impressive career. He currently works as a nuclear engineer at Niowave, Inc., a Michigan-based company that is building superconducting electron accelerators and utilizing transformative science and technology to advance nuclear power to meet the nation’s energy, environmental, and security needs. Faisal contributes to three main programs at Niowave: radiopharmaceuticals, a field in which he has developed, designed, manufactured, and licensed a low-enriched uranium subcritical assembly which is currently operating by nuclear fission to produce life-saving medical radioisotopes; U.S. national security, an area in which he works with the Department of Homeland Security to develop a complete system capable of detecting hidden special nuclear material, mainly uranium and plutonium, at the ports of entry to the United States; and nuclear energy, a program he established that partners with the Department of Energy, national laboratories, and academic universities to support the nation’s energy needs by developing and demonstrating advanced nuclear technologies.
Today, from his perspective as a successful professional, Faisal is clear about what his time at Ruwais Private School gave him: “The 10 years of what I thought back then was ultimate torture was in fact teaching me the self-discipline needed to achieve success. This gift from SABIS® provided me with exactly what I needed to step into the world and begin to shape the future.” As a final comment, he remarked, “I thank my parents, who are truly the pillars of my life and success.”
We wish Faisal all the best in his future endeavors and look forward to watching him “reach the moon.”
If you would like to learn more about Ruwais Private School, visit ruwaisprivateschool.sabis.net. If you are a graduate of a SABIS® Network school and would like to connect with Faisal or find fellow graduates near you, log on to saga.sabis.net or download the SABIS® SAGA App today!