People, Student Profile
PhD student Walaa Moursi embraces the universal language of numbers and smart solutions
September 2, 2016
Irving K. Barber School of Arts and Sciences
Okanagan (Kelowna, BC)
PhD (in progress)
MSc, Algebra (Mansoura University)
“The energy here is positive and it gives me the passion and drive to give back.”
WALAA MOURSI REALLY LOVES NUMBERS. So much so that she travelled almost 10,000 kilometres from Mansoura, Egypt to pursue a PhD in optimization at UBC’s Okanagan campus.
“Language can be a barrier, but the language of mathematics is universal,” she says. “Numbers can bring people together to exchange ideas and to find smart solutions.”
After completing a Master’s in Algebra from Mansoura University, Moursi looked for doctoral programs that balanced pure mathematics with real-world applications. When she learned about UBC’s optimization specialization, she knew it was a perfect fit.
Her decision to uproot her life wasn’t an easy one.
While the PhD program was the right move for her academic career, Moursi also had a young daughter and husband to consider. She was torn between her education and family.
But then Moursi received an email from UBC Professor Heinz Bauschke, connecting her with fellow students who helped Moursi secure housing and daycare services in Kelowna. Those personal connections solidified her decision.
ADDING TO RESEARCH
Moursi has found opportunities to conduct high-level research at the Okanagan campus under the direction of Bauschke and co-supervisor Warren Hare. Moursi has authored or co-authored more than a dozen research papers, ranging from convex functions to the “forward-backward splitting” method with applications to optimization.
She also works as a teaching assistant and a sessional instructor, feeding her love of teaching.
“I am grateful for their mentorship and I am appreciative of everything they have done for me,” she says.
“The energy here is positive and it gives me the passion and drive to give back. The lessons learned at UBC will continue to inspire my mathematical reasoning and research.”