The Physics, Computer Science and Engineering department at Christopher Newport University hosts an event called “Tuesday Tea” every Tuesday for students and faculty to meet, drink tea, and chat. This semester, the events are held virtually and feature a different international professor from the department each week. Students and faculty who tune in get to learn about their culture, which is a great way to foster diversity in an organic way. This past Tuesday, September 15, Dr. Mohammad Almalag shared about his life.
Dr. Almalag was born in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. There, he grew up and attended King Saud University for his undergraduate degree in computer science. This was not always his intended major, however. When he first started university, he was studying pharmacy. Taking an anatomy class, Dr. Almalag quickly realized this was not what he wanted to do, so he followed his passion for computer science.
After graduating, Dr. Almalag received a scholarship to come to the United States to get his masters at Ball State University and Ph.D at Old Dominion Univeristy, both in computer science. He chose teaching over several other job offers, because it is his passion, and “life is too short” so you should “do what you love.” Dr. Almalag’s current research projects include researching traffic patterns before, during, and after the pandemic and refining an algorithm for cloud computing.
Dr. Almalag is very proud of his home country and culture. There are a lot of historical landmarks in Saudi Arabia including castles in mountains and scuba diving in the Red Sea that he listed as must see attractions. Having great respect for elders is very important, family is everything, and you can always know you have a great support system surrounding you. Dr. Almalag spoke longingly of the good middle eastern food he misses.
Besides teaching and research, Dr. Almalag loves to grill and fix or build new things. He gave some great advice for students pursuing computer science: Make sure you like what you are doing and are putting in the work necessary. “Focus on your strengths.”
Thanks to Dr. Almalag for sharing his life experiences.