Kuwaiti student Mishary Al-Rashed delivers graduates’ speech at UCLA

Kuwaiti student Mishary Al-Rashed delivers graduates’ speech at UCLA- Mishary Al-Rashed graduated in physics with a 3.93 GPA.

– Mishary Al-Rashed: Kuwait is a country small in geographic size but enormous in its young people’s ambitions.

– UCLA is among the top 10 best universities in the world.

Complete speech of Mishary Alrashed :

Good morning to our family of physics: to the chair Professor Saltzberg, Students, Faculty, Staff, Friends, and Families. Please join me in congratulating the UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy Class of 2022! (—Pause) I am truly grateful for this opportunity to speak here today not only representing the people and the department that I have grown to love so much but also as a proud student from KUWAIT.

When I first started my journey at UCLA, I wasn’t a physics major. I knew I had a liking for science, math, and teaching, and that combination here usually leaves you having to do a general physics series requirement. After beating the cart rolling down the ramp problem a million times we moved on to talk about maxwell’s famous equations of electricity and magnetism one by one. By the end of that series, we find that these equations put together allow us a natural way to calculate the speed of electromagnetic waves. At that point, Professor Saltzberg looked at us happily and said, “take out your calculator – it’s time to calculate the speed of these waves”. So we plugged in the numbers then there it appeared – 2.998 x 10^(8) m/s – precisely the speed of light. (Please dont be mad at me, natural unit enthusiasts) I immediately felt a rush of goosebumps at this calculational coincidence — a coincidence that inspired maxwell to think that light is an electromagnetic wave. And here we all were rediscovering this fact on our own, in the classroom almost 200 years later after maxwell did. That, I believe, is the magic of physics — it’s a set of ideas that aren’t really attributed to one person but are ideas that anyone can experience — an experience that can be enjoyed by working out the equations and conducting the experiments! These goosebumps appeared, again and again, as I learned more and did more problems until it overwhelmed me to the point where I was actually considering the psychopathic decision to switch to Physics. This was an incredibly hard thing to consider because I was well on my way to getting an engineering degree thinking I will make a lot of money (giggles)

But nevertheless, I took a leap of faith in what I believed I would enjoy and I’m happy to say it has been the best decision of my life. Not only did I get to learn about some of the most interesting ideas in the history of mankind, but I also became a part of one of the most vibrant, (pause) friendly (pause), and inspiring communities at UCLA – the physics community. I am constantly inspired every day by being here in this department. We’ve had such great professors to teach us and guide us into thinking like physicists in our classes and in our labs. We have colloquiums almost every week, where researchers from all over the world are invited to speak about the most cutting-edge research being conducted today, from testing quantum computers to theoretical investigations of wormholes. To our very own, Professor Andrea Ghez, who received the Nobel prize for her discovery of the supermassive black hole in the center of the galaxy. I will never forget the day the noble was announced, I walked proudly into campus, and by campus I mean my kitchen, knowing that I was in the same department as her.

We have such an incredible group of undergraduate students in this department. People who are incredibly smart and talented in their own ways, my friends, who continue to inspire and encourage each other to do the thing we all love which is physics. We have 4 very active clubs in very close connection with the department and with each other: society of physics students (SPS), women in physical sciences (W+PS), astronomical society (AS), and upsilon lab. Although the pandemic took some time away from having events, I believe we made the most of our time this year. Everything from the infamous SPS coffee break without coffee to the trip we took to Griffiths observatory to our Physics and Astronomy PROM, where this year the theme was under the stars.
Last but not least is the enormous opportunity for undergraduate research here. We have almost every branch of physics represented here at UCLA, from astronomy to plasma physics all the way down to nuclear physics. Getting to work on research myself has been the most fulfilling part of my undergraduate education. Although it did get demanding sometimes, staying up late at night working, I learned quite a lot and was constantly showered by encouragement from my peers, my research group, and the department. I would like to personally thank my research advisor, mentor, and friend Professor Zhongbo Kang for believing in me and cultivating such a welcoming environment in your group.

All of this wouldn’t happen had I not taken that leap of faith and followed my heart. So my message to you all is that if you have something that you know you are passionate about, whether that’s physics or something else entirely, follow it – even if it’s challenging, no more how all of our unique challenges by being students here, especially during the pandemic. I am proud of all of you for overcoming these challenges! And since we conquered UCLA, I believe we can conquer everything else. So whatever you choose to do, graduate school, industry, or just exploring life I know you will all succeed and change the world.

While I am proud to be a student of UCLA, I am equally proud to be representing my country Kuwait, a country small in its geographic size but large in the ambition of its younger generation. Shoot for the stars, the sky is the limit in schools like UCLA. Choose majors that are important such as physics. Follow your heart and pursue the things you are genuinely interested in. As Ameenah Farhan, Chair of the Kuwait University Physics Department, once told me, “saw iely et7ba ra7 it bad3 feet” which means do what you love and you will excel in it.

Finally, I would like to thank my family and my parents. Thank you for your patience and love all those years and for supporting each decision I have made about my career, I couldn’t have asked

for better than you. Please join me for a round of applause for our families!!

Thank you!

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