Fatima Mustafawi’s final project at CMU-Q served as a platform to develop mobile application for a social cause
For years, Fatima Mustafawi – a recent graduate from Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar – has been trying to find a way to help improve the lives of low-income workers in Qatar through the use of technology.
In one of my Ethics classes, we explored the notion of what human beings deserve and what human beings are entitled to. And from here, I decided to focus on how technology can contribute to improving the lives of workers in Qatar
And finally, during her senior year project at the Qatar Foundation partner university, she discovered a solution that would help her pursue her dream as an enabler.
“In one of my Ethics classes, we explored the notion of what human beings deserve and what human beings are entitled to. And from here, I decided to focus on how technology can contribute to improving the lives of workers in Qatar.
“And the main research question behind my project came from the intersection of my major in Information Systems with my minor in Ethics – essentially a point where the arts starts to inform and influence the sciences, which I found very interesting.
My parents have always been very encouraging and pushed me to pursue new things outside my comfort zone so that I could choose my own path towards success
Mustafawi, a Qatari, explained how she planned for her project, saying: “From an ICT perspective, which assumes that smart phones make an impact on day-to-day lives, I realized that a phone application would be the best tool to use. So, I based my work on a two-step approach.
“Firstly, I employed user-centered design methods – including interviews, observations, and a participatory design approach focused on both visual and verbal feedback – to prioritize needs from a user’s point-of-view. I then analyzed the data outcome which revealed what this segment values the most – friendship, play, and respect – enabling me to create an ICT prototype that materializes these capabilities and contributes to improving the quality of their lives.”
The prototype allows users to communicate their most valued experiences with those they care about such as family and friends back home, as well as with friends in their new home, Mustafawi explains.
She believes that her mobile application differs from other the social media applications as it was studied, designed, and tailored using a simple interface based on user-centered analysis that responds to specific requirements.
My studying experience was a very rewarding experience, not just because of the course content I learned during my classes, but because the university helped us, the students, to become better people, citizens, and leaders
“My parents have always been very encouraging and pushed me to pursue new things outside my comfort zone so that I could choose my own path towards success,” Mustafawi says, explaining that her parents are the main reason behind her success, helping her look for the potential in every opportunity.
“My mother has always been my go-to person to run new ideas by and brainstorm with for event plans, project ideas, and big decisions. While my father is the epitome of hard work. He set high standards for me to follow, and that is why I like to put my 100 percent in everything I do. I hope to mimic his hard work and success in my own life.”
Mustafawi, who was elected as the Student Government President at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q), was also a member of the basketball team and a course assistant, expressed her heartfelt gratitude to the university.
“My studying experience was a very rewarding experience, not just because of the course content I learned during my classes, but because the university helped us, the students, to become better people, citizens, and leaders. One of the things which I appreciate the most about my learning experience is the soft-skills I gained from my classes, which I have been able to apply to other areas of my life.
“For example, courses in Leadership and Ethics influenced how I approached my role as Student Government President. Classes on Analytics did not merely teach statistical methods but showed us how it can be applied to areas such as healthcare and morality. Entrepreneurship workshops enabled me to be a better team member inside the classroom and outside.
“And all these skills I learned contributed to me becoming a well-rounded individual.”