Alumni Spotlight: Abbass Al Sharif

Dr. Abbass Al Sharif graduated from LAU 2006. He now lives and works in Los Angeles, California, USA., as an Assistant Professor of Data Science and a Director of MS in Business Analytics. 

His detailed profile is below:

Full Name: Abbass Al Sharif

Graduation Year and Major: 2006/ MS in Computer Science

Post Graduate work / Degrees: PhD in Mathematical Statistics from Utah State University

Current Profession: Assistant Professor of Data Science and a Director of MS in Business Analytics at University Of Southern California

Currently Living in: Los Angeles, California, USA.

Tell us what you remember about your course of study at LAU:

I started “speaking” the language of computers in Prof. Nashaat Mansour’s programming class. When I wrote my first “Hello world!” program, I printed the code, and posted it on my dorm’s bedroom wall.  I was literally like a 1-year-old kid who just learned how to say his first words. I still cherish this moment until now.

I took my first calculus exam with Prof. May Abboud. She gave the exams back, and at the end of the class session, she came towards me and asked me if I can be her   grading assistant. That night, I did not sleep at all because I couldn’t wait until I see my dad and tell him that I will be able to help him with my tuition.

Everyone in my cohort was talking about Prof. Ramzi Haraty and how smart he is. I was so eager to take a class with him, so I registered for the database class. I am still using the concepts and techniques that I learned in that class, and every time I write an SQL statement, he crosses my mind.

Although I only took one course with Prof. Samer Habre, until now we are still in touch. He is a friend, a colleague, and a mentor. He cares, and he empowers me.

I was an introvert until I took the Communication Arts class with Prof. Nabela Haraty. She has a huge impact on my personal and career life, and I probably would  have failed at my job as a professor if it weren’t for her. Indirectly, she taught me how not to be boring when I speak in public! Her strategy was to shock in order to  grab the attention of the audience.

What did you enjoy about your time at LAU (your most significant memories) and did it help you to decide on your next steps towards becoming who you are now?

  • The stairs of Sage Hall: 90% of my friendships at LAU started on those stairs
  • The cats of LAU: the highly Lebanese educated cats
  • The “Off campus” mini market: I remember Mohammad and Haitham till this day.
  • The “Coffee House”: too bad it is not there anymore
  •  The final exams period: I was not a big fan of it, and I don’t think any one likes it. I am so glad that I don’t have to take exams anymore!
  •  The Computer Center (ACC): Ali and Tarek were very patient and friendly with us.

How would you describe yourself?

Peaceful, joyful, and grateful.

What’s the secret of your success?

Being who I am, peaceful, joyful and grateful.

Do you have any advice for students in your field of study/expertise?

I am data scientist. This is the most talked about job these days, so I really advice students to consider it if they like computing and statistics. It feels so good to write computer codes to predict the stocks, or whether someone is a potential buyer, or even if an email is a spam.

Is there anything else you would like to add?

Be who you are, and don’t allow the social norms to shape your real you.