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Saoud Khalifah

MS Software Engineering 2015

Saoud K 02

Saoud Khalifah, MS ’15 & BS ’13 Software Engineering, was born in Kuwait and raised in Poland.

In his own words:

As a child, and to the dismay of my parents, I was obsessed with dismantling most of the electronics that were at home trying to figure out what all those colorful components on the board meant, to the dismay of parents. I started computer programming at the age of 12 and it quickly became a passion where I would spend countless nights coding games that my brother and I could play together. My parents would purchase college computer science books that I would consume and use in practice by further learning other languages that were available at the time. As time moved on, I formed an affinity for computer security and at the age of 17 I wrote a program that would utilize artificial intelligence to find security vulnerabilities in software. The program resulted in finds in software that were universally used. I knew that in order to pursue what I loved I had to study at a university in the United States, the country that I considered the cradle of computing technology.

I moved to the US at the age of 18 to the distant state of Oregon. After studying electrical & computer engineering for 2 years at Oregon State University, I decided to focus wholly on software as my education path. Software engineering was, at the time, a fledgling major but the one with the most potential for the future as software has completely dominated our world. Not many universities offered the major but Monmouth University was one of them, and I determined that transferring would be the best choice for my education. Before my transfer, Monmouth offered me insight into their
engineering program and the communication I received from my potential professors and advisors was excellent. This added assurance to my decision, and as such I was excited to move from one coast to the other in an odyssey dedicated to my love of computers.

My years as a student at Monmouth University were unforgettable. My first semester consisted of an eclectic mix of software engineering, singing recital, mathematics and literature. All of the classes were inspirational and this would become a recurring theme in all my subsequent semesters at Monmouth. The professors were incredibly supportive and coming from a much larger university I was not expecting the personal care that the faculty poured upon students individually. Through my own experience, I find that this kind of personal education and guidance is crucial and beneficial for young adults striving to find their way in the world. I have received this guidance from my mentors Professors Allen Milewski and Jiacun Wang and the rest of the Software Engineering department who advised me and supported me throughout my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. It was at the conclusion of my master’s thesis defense that the chair of the department, Professor Wang, suggested the possibility that I could become an adjunct professor due to the excellent response to my thesis defense by the faculty. I was honored by the statement and it would be a suggestion that would change my life and career overview.

After graduating with my master’s degree I began working full-time as a software engineer. At the same time, I launched a start-up, Fakespot, that authenticates product reviews through artificial intelligence, and the service is currently being used by thousands of users daily from numerous countries around the globe. In the summer of 2015 I began teaching at Monmouth. It was through
teaching that I discovered an unfound passion for educating and mentoring students. At present I continue to teach and by making a positive impact on my students I am carrying a torch that was set aflame by those who came before me, my mentors from MU for whom I will always be eternally grateful.