Exclusive Student Interview - Sumaia Yahya | HBKU

Exclusive Student Interview - Sumaia Yahya

25 May 2021

Master of Science in Exercise Science, College of Health and Life Sciences, Hamad Bin Khalifa University

Exclusive Student Interview - Sumaia Yahya

Why did you choose HBKU and this particular degree program?

Ever since I can remember, I have been interested in sports. As a child, I participated in various individual and team sports, but my passion as far as team sports is concerned being volleyball. I was part of Qatar’s national volleyball team from 2009 to 2016. During my undergraduate studies at Qatar University, I started a volleyball team in which I was a coach and a player myself for three years. 

As a keen competitive person throughout my life, I have tried to do my best to perform at my highest physical abilities. Therefore, for the past two years, I have invested so much time and effort applying scientific knowledge and research towards my own resistance training at the gym.

Furthermore, growing myself in both theoretical and practical settings are my priorities. For instance, while working at Aspire Active as a gym instructor, I have used my spare time to continue my education and become a certified TRX and spinning instructor from the International Fitness Alliance (IFA) as well as a certified group fitness instructor from the American Council of Exercise (ACE). However, one of the biggest challenges that I have faced is that I have met clients with some health and neuromuscular problems, thus dealing with them requires a deep understanding of the acute and chronic physiological responses to exercise. 

All of this commitment, passion, and research has naturally led me to consider a career that will help me make a difference in people’s lives. I was interested in understanding how exercise affects physiological processes, neuromuscular, and biomechanical functions. Therefore, I believed that studying the MS in Exercise Science at HBKU would help me develop exercise testing and training skills, including designing programs to improve health and physical fitness in healthy individuals and people with or at risk of chronic diseases. I knew that studying Exercise Science would require commitment and hard work, and I was determined to use my time and dedication to learn and grow in this field.

How has your classwork, research, advice from your professors and/or your overall experience at HBKU shaped your next step and your longer-term career goals and ambitions?

I have learned so much from being a student at HBKU. My professors have helped me gain further knowledge about the field of exercise science and they have taught us the necessary skills that will serve us well not only in the workplace but for life itself.

Prior to my enrollment, I wanted to pursue a career that would resonate with my heart and talent. I have always wanted to help grow the field of exercise in Qatar, especially for women. Indeed, studying at HBKU has helped me discover my true passion and purpose. My classwork and research have enhanced my career goals and aspirations and, because of my experience working as a teaching assistant, I now have ambitions to become an associate professor and pursue scholarly research and publication of scientific journals. Becoming an associate professor will not only allow me to teach students how to find their true passion but will also allow me to reinforce Qatar’s National 2030 vision by teaching students the necessary soft skills to thrive in their workplace.

What was the highlight of your time at HBKU?

My first year was wonderful as I got the chance to meet students from various backgrounds that quickly became like family. My professors were very kind, friendly, and supportive all the way through. I am so grateful for this opportunity to study at HBKU which has positively impacted my life and has shaped my long-term career goals.