Solhe Alshahateet

What is your current position, and what do you do?  
I am currently the President of Aqaba University of Technology (Aqaba-Jordan), a position I hold currently as I am on leave from Mutah University (Jordan). Based in Aqaba City, Aqaba University of Technology is the first private university in the south of Jordan, attracting students from all over the southern areas of the kingdom and overseas.  

Describe your study/employment pathway so far
I have been through a non-stop journey of study and employment since the age of five! A journey full of life events, vicissitudes, and adventurous paths.
After graduation from Yarmouk University with a B.Sc. degree in Chemistry in 1991, I decided to continue in this field as I had realized that I would surpass in this field. I started my research journey in 1991 in the field of Organic Chemistry by pursuing higher education at Yarmouk University.  This of course was not the end of the journey, as I followed my research path even further by considering a higher degree of education. I started my Ph.D. at The University of New South Wales in 1998 until 2003, a period in which I was granted a postgraduate scholarship from the Australian Research Council and then a postgraduate fellowship from the University of New South Wales. Upon completion of my Ph.D. degree, I was immediately granted a postdoctoral fellowship at ICES & A*STAR in Singapore. Just after the completion of this fellowship, I moved to Saudi Arabia to work as an assistant professor at Taibah University alongside a senior technical advisor position at the International Cement Traders in USA, then to England to work as a senior technical consultant. Since 2007, I moved to Jordan where I was appointed as a faculty staff member. On September 9, 2017, I was promoted to the rank of Full Professor of Chemistry.

What has been your biggest challenge, career-wise?
The greatest challenge I've faced in my career to date has to be the key role I played in helping my work-places survive the different difficulties that come-up through recent years.  I learned a great deal from the experience.  It was a great challenge.  While we certainly did have a tough time of it, we successfully rode out the crises we faced, and the cost control measures, which I personally devised and implemented, ultimately resulted in a significantly healthier bottom line than we had had before the crises.

What achievement are you most proud of?
In less than a year, and based on my research and academic excellence, I was promoted to Dean of Scientific Research, followed by President of Aqaba University of Technology.

What do you believe are the greatest attributes of a successful scientist?
I believe that the successful scientist is the one who contributes to the academic community of his field through genuine and original publications, and findings that can help open new areas for research. Additionally, the successful scientist should share his knowledge with fellow scientists, students, and with the community.

How have you used the skills/knowledge that you acquired, from studying chemistry, in your current role?
Studying chemistry has not only enriched my knowledge about elements of nature, but it has also augmented my analytical skills of nature, resources, and people. The skills through which I was empowered to manage research and human resources.

What are your interests outside of work?
Reading, traveling.

What helps you achieve a work-life balance?
I would not be able to achieve any balance between work and life without the continuing help and support from my two daughters; they have been encouraging me to go further and higher.

What advice would you give to students starting their science careers?
Never underestimate the power of will. Love what you do, and you will achieve the impossible.

Is there anything you would like to share?
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do. Study hard, pick an excellent country, an outstanding University, a hot topic, and a supportive supervisor.

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