International Aspirations and Giving Back: Inspired by the Center of Excellence for Energy

Ganna Osman, a senior electrical power and machines engineering student at Ain Shams University, reflects on her career aspirations and the impact the USAID-funded Center of Excellence for Energy programs had on her academic journey and how it inspired her to give back.

In her junior year, Ganna embarked on an enriching academic experience by completing an exchange semester at Arizona State University through the Center of Excellence for Energy. Now, one year after her exchange and on the cusp of graduation, Ganna is contemplating pursuing her master’s and PhD degrees. She attributes her exchange experience as pivotal in guiding her career path and fueling her quest for further education. This fall, the center is set to welcome its third cohort of exchange students at Arizona State University.

In the past year, Ganna also completed an internship through the Center of Excellence for Energy. The center placed more than 100 interns with companies working in energy and sustainability in Egypt. Ganna interned for a company that manufactures educational kits, where she assisted in testing and troubleshooting. She cites this practical experience as crucial to preparing her for her professional work. While classroom learning provides excellent theoretical knowledge, Ganna notes that the internship “increased my problem-solving skills…you have to find the problem and actually solve it and test the functionality of that solution.”

Motivated by this global exposure and academic rigor, Ganna is actively competing in an international competition and sought an internship in Europe this year. She credits the exchange with giving her the confidence to reach new heights.

“I think meeting people from different cultures made me more open-minded to trying new things,” Ganna reflects.

Her positive experience with the Center of Excellence for Energy’s exchange and internship programs inspired her to give back. This year, she took on a more active role at the center by volunteering to help students apply for the Fall 2024 exchange program. Ganna encouraged them to apply, bolstering their confidence and supporting them throughout the application process, thereby passing on her experience to a new set of students. Ganna states that the program made her more responsible and independent.