Posted on October 24, 2018

When the fall 2018 classes began at Texas A&M University at Qatar in September, the university faculty included one new addition: Dr. Dhabia Al-Mohannadi (pictured), a Class of 2012 chemical engineering graduate of the branch campus. Al-Mohannadi is the first female Qatari graduate of Texas A&M at Qatar to return to the university as a faculty member.

Al-Mohannadi also earned a master’s degree from the branch campus and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M’s main campus, all in chemical engineering. She said the path to academia was unplanned and stemmed from her desire to continue learning. “I didn’t want to be a professor,” she said. “What I wanted to do after I graduated was to continue learning. I didn’t want to go into industry. I really liked my senior design project and I wanted to learn more about that, so I joined the master’s program and then I was just hooked. You can’t give up research once you start. It was my thing. I knew I loved it so I stayed with it, and then onto Ph.D.”

She credits the efforts of her graduate mentor and Chemical Engineering Program Chair Dr. Patrick Linke with including her in his meetings with industry and government at Qatar, where she said she realized how she could have the most impact in Qatar. “I want to create the most impact I can,” she said, “and start by producing good engineers and by creating new knowledge. Hopefully I can give back to the country, which has invested so much into me. I don’t want to have just local impact, but international — that’s the ultimate goal.”

Dr. César Octavio Malavé, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “Dr. Dhabia Al-Mohannadi is a perfect example of what Texas A&M doing here in Qatar: producing engineering leaders of character who are dedicated to the greater good. Dhabia is a role model to all of our students and we are proud to have her join our renowned faculty where we are confident she will contribute to our vision of being the premier provider of engineering education in the region, a significant contributor to knowledge internationally and an essential resource to the State of Qatar.”

Al-Mohannadi’s research is in multidisciplinary sustainable design. The goal of her work is to reduce the carbon footprint in gas production and processing, and to have more ROI while reducing that carbon footprint. In her work, she looks for ways to still produce natural gas while reducing emissions and incorporating diverse energy sources used to produce natural gas, such as solar power. “In order to have sustainable development, you have to manage that footprint to lessen environmental impact” she said. “You see a lot of natural disasters happening on a larger scale and that’s going to keep happening, and the temperature is going to keep going up so we need to do something now. We can do it without changing a lot of the ways we’re doing it currently.”

Involving students in her research is one of her first goals as an assistant professor. “By being a student, you learn from your mentor,” she said. “So I want to create more impact by having mentored students. And then if they succeed, that means then I did a good job.” Al-Mohannadi said she would like to eventually to design her own course to create more electives and more options for students to customize their degrees and tailor their course work to their own interests. Her students’ energy and creativity inspire her and she said she in turn hopes to inspire them. “I’m glad to be in this position, you get a positive energy and engage with students.”

Dhabia said she hopes that she can encourage more females to apply and pursue graduate studies. “I hope there will be more female faculty soon and I hope to inspire other students to become faculty,” she said. “I’m local and I wear an abaya like half of the students here. I hope when the female students see someone like themselves, it will be easier for them to relate and see themselves in this position.”