Meet Farah Shamout, NYU Abu Dhabi’s latest Rhodes Scholar

Long motivated by her combined interest in science, education, and women’s empowerment, Farah Shamout has received the prestigious, highly coveted Rhodes Scholarship to study biomedical engineering at Oxford University.

The sixth Rhodes Scholar to come from New York University Abu Dhabi in just three years, Farah is actively involved in her campus community, serving as both student government president and a member of the Arab Women in Computing leadership team. As such, NYUAD Vice Chancellor Al Bloom praises Farah for “her resolve to place the concepts of bio and computer engineering at the service of improving individual lives.” He continues by lauding “her intellectual depth, innovative spirit, and leadership skills” in NYUAD’S “vital, humane and globally engaged student community.”

Hailing from Amman, Jordan, the NYUAD senior plans to cultivate her ambassadorial skills, by both representing the Middle East and adjusting to the United Kingdom. Yet Farah says her ultimate goal is to “further grow as a cosmopolitan leader and return to the UAE with the vision to develop health informatics.”

The achievements of these two Oxford-bound students is consistent with the vision offered by United Arab Emirates Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba, who spoke at the commencement ceremony of New York University Abu Dhabi last Spring. Offering optimism and excitement for the next generation of Middle Easterners, he gave special praise to the university’s Rhodes scholars.

“These are the world’s best and brightest. They could have attended the best schools in their own countries. But instead they challenged tradition and opted to live and learn among the most diverse student body in the world,” Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba said.

The United Arab Emirates National Secretary, Dr. Christoph Avenarius, reiterated Shamout’s sentiments, praising her commitment “to play a leading role in the transition of the UAE towards a knowledge based society.” Dr. Avenarius also complimented Fahad Alshaibani of Khalifa University, the United Arab Emirates’ other Rhodes Scholar, who plans to study robotics. “Both have already achieved remarkable contributions towards their respective fields of biomedical engineering and robotics, and they are committed to playing a leading role in the transition of the UAE towards a knowledge based society,” Dr. Avernarius said.

Undercover Colors Brings Innovation to College Safety

Undercover Colors Nail Polish is the brain child of Stephen Grey, Ankesh Madam, Tyler Confrey-Maloney, and Tasso Von Windheim. At the time of this products conception the four post grad students were working on their senior group project at North Carolina State University. After some thought, they decided to develop a product that would help females know if anyone had added a date rape drug to their drink. Their reasoning for this choice was they all had knowledge of females who had endured the horrific experience of being raped after consuming a drink that was contaminated with a date rape drug.

After some experimentation, the students found they could make a nail polish that is colorless until it comes into contact with a liquid that contains rape drugs. This nail polish provides an uncomplicated way for females to check their drink to determine if it contains a date rape drug. All they have to do is to dip their fingertip into the drink and stir to see if their nail polish changes to a color.

To help Undercover Colors become the business they envisioned the four students pressed to be the first students from the Materials Science and Engineering Department to patriciate in NC State Engineering Entrepreneurs program. They were accepted into the program. Since then they have gone on to win a monetary prize from the LuLu eGames business startup competition. Several individuals have also invested in their company. This was all accomplished under the guidance of Dr. Tom Miller who is the founder of the NC State Entrepreneurs program

The ultimate goal of the founders of Undercover Colors is to get their product out on the retail market, therefore making Undercovers Colors nail polish stickers widely available to use as a safety aid when students are in drinking environments on and off college campuses.

Some Tips to Remove Your PMI

Private mortgage insurance is a costly expense added on to a mortgage, and it is best to get it removed as soon as possible. According to real estate educator Than Merrill, “First-time homeowners are typically not able to put 20 percent down on a home, and are – therefore – more likely to pay PMI. However, not enough people know to contact their lender once 20 percent of the home has been paid off. At that time, the PMI will be discontinued. Your lender will automatically cancel your PMI when you owe 78 percent, but you don’t want to pay a month more of PMI than you have to.”

So it is important to know the value of the home, and it is also best to know when the minimum percentage has been reached to drop this insurance.

Here are four tips to help stop this costly drain.

Track the Mortgage

There are a large number of amortization calculators available online, and they allow people with mortgages to know exactly how much principle and interest they owe on their home. They give a step-by-step rate on the effect of each payment, and they will show when the value of the loan reaches the amount needed to drop private mortgage insurance.

Home Valuation

Not all homes and neighborhoods are valued equally, and this can be a help when calculating the 20 percent necessary to drop PMI. If the area’s value goes up, the value of the home will generally rise. So it’s then best to seek a formal real estate appraisal if you feel your home has gained in value. You can also check on value of comparable homes in and around your neighborhood online on sites like Zillow, Trulia, and Redfin.

Ask in Writing

Many banks will not drop private mortgage insurance until it at least 22 percent of the home’s value is already paid, and this is more than is legally required. Speaking with a loan representative is a good idea, but it is also important to request in writing that the PMI be dropped. This forms a paper trail for the mortgage payer, and many banks will take this into account when dropping the insurance.

Raising the Home’s Value

Home improvement has become a huge industry in the last few decades, and many people have taken advantage of it to create more value in their home. There are many projects that may improve the value without too much cost, but they must be completed on a professional level. Taking the time to explore small remodeling projects, both inside and outside the home, is one way to raise the value of the property and reach the 20 percent needed. If the bank refuses to recognize that the homeowner’s equity has increased, it is time to consider refinancing.

Private mortgage insurance is an expense many homeowners can do without, and it is important to get it dropped at the earliest opportunity. These are just four ways to stay on top of the issue, and they may help with getting rid of that nagging insurance payment.

Best Buddies Brings New Meaning to Friendship

Best Buddies International is a prominent not-for-profit organization that was established at Georgetown University, a prestigious school in Washington, D.C. The organization was created by Anthony K. Shriver in 1989. The objective at Best Buddies International is to give individuals who have developmental and intellectual problems chances to work and meet others. It’s the planet’s biggest organization that focuses on making life better for people who live with developmental and intellectual conditions. People who have these conditions often have to experience serious financial, physical and social dilemmas. Millions of human beings all around the planet have developmental and intellectual difficulties.

Shriver isn’t only Best Buddies International’s founder. He’s also the 501 organization’s chairman. When he launched this organization, his aim was to encourage positive relationships in people who have developmental and intellectual conditions. Shriver is a Georgetown University alumnus. He’s also a Miami Beach, Florida resident. He’s married to Alina and is the father of five wonderful kids.

Best Buddies International has the assistance of many prominent and well-known supporters. Corporations that back Best Buddies International include Natixis Global Asset Management, the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, the Ferraro Law Firm, Santander Bank and MGM Resorts International. Foundations that back Best Buddies International include Telmex Foundation.

The organization also has some solid backing from well-known figures. People who generously support the efforts of Best Buddies International include Rick de la Croix, Martha de la Croix, Jackie Soffer (, Gerard Klingman, Penney Klingman, George Zoley, and Donna Zoley.

Government groups that extend their backing to Best Buddies International include both the Illinois Department of Human Services and the Florida Department of Education.

Programs for Best Buddies International exist all around the planet. The organization, true to its name, operates on a global basis. Best Buddies International has accredited programs in more than 50 nations all around the Earth. They’re in the United States, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Brazil, Russia, South Korea, Indonesia, Egypt, the United Kingdom, India, Spain, Kenya and beyond.

People who are serious about making the future brighter and happier for individuals who have developmental and intellectual issues alike often offer their assistance to this famed organization. People can take part in regular events that assist in the advancement of the organization’s many causes.

Examples are the Best Buddies Friendship Walk, the Best Buddies Leadership Conference and the Annual Best Buddies Dallas Gala. The Dallas gala has been going strong for eight full years now.

Boost in economy after tax credits offered

In December 2015, the US government announced an aggressive $1.1 trillion spending package aimed at providing relief to low income families, mass commuters, students and businesses through tax breaks. The package also includes $250 billion tax breaks targeting individuals. Following the relief, employers may now subsidize employees commuting cost, low income working families are guaranteed higher refunds and college students can expect generous tuition tax credits. Parents with kids can also expect bigger refunds while residents of states without income tax can expect permanent deductions.

The Boston Community Capital (BCC) is a community focused non-profit financial institution that is at the forefront of empowering communities. The institution has so far invested more than $1 billion in projects that aim to provide new opportunities to low income earners, uplift the economic standards of local people, offer affordable housing and provide better jobs. Over the years, the Boston Community Capital New Market Tax Credit (NMTC) program has done a lot to achieve the aforementioned objectives.

Since its inception, the US Department of Treasury has awarded 7 BCC NMTC programs a sum totaling $470million. Besides the investments, BCC uses its earnings to leverage existing and new ventures and strengthen its existing lending programs such as the Energy Advantage Program, Loan Fund and SUN initiative. The debt and equity capital provided by BCC’s NMTC are both flexible and friendly, like the Maine NMTC. The attractions include; low interest rates, low debt service coverage ratios, low origination fees, flexible borrower credit standards and longer amortization durations among other benefits.

BCC NMTC operates throughout the US as it continues to seek potential community development projects and business opportunities, especially those in distressed urban and rural population centers. Statistics indicate that up to 90% of all investments undertaken by NMTC have gone go to counties outside metropolitan areas. The Impact of the programs supported by the initiative has led to several benefits countrywide, including the preservation of affordable housing, business growth, extended education and conservation of natural resources.

Outside Massachusetts, the other states that have benefited from the program include; New York, Virginia, California, Maine, Texas and Louisiana. The investments made by BCC have so far leveraged an additional $1.3 billion in capital. To attain its objectives to transform communities, NMTC has gone into great lengths to seek viable projects that are big enough to strengthen and support the local economy. Qualifying investors and co-lenders must also have relevant experience in the targeted industries and investment destinations.


The Health Benefits of Juicing

Juicing has grown in popularity over the last couple of years to the extent that there are shops which solely deal in pressed juices for customers. The health benefits are many and this is the reason why many people are flocking shops and stores offering pressed juices. Commercial juices lose most of the nutrients after being processed so their popularity has gone down with the increase in population of health-conscious people.

Those who frequent in fast-food joints hardly consume vegetables and fruits. The availability of freshly-pressed juice will definitely help many people to improve their eating habits. Your body is supplied with minerals, phytonutrients and minerals when you drink fresh juice. This not only improves your health but also boosts your immune system.

You might be asking yourself why juice has an edge over vegetables and fruits. This is why. Fruits and vegetables have an insoluble fiber and juicing gets rid of it. Fiber is an important part of the diet but removing the insoluble fiber facilitates the absorption of some of the important enzymes and nutrients. If you can access certain vegetables and fruits or have problems eating them whole, your solution lies in juicing. It combines all those nutrients in liquid form.

Some of the shops supplying fresh juice are; OnJuice Bar located in Miami, Jrink located in the nation’s capital, Harvest Juicery located in Chicago.

With a shop located in Jackie Soffer’s (co-CEO of Turnberry Associates) Aventura Mall, OnJuice Bar is a wellness and lifestyle company whose aim is to improve the health of its customers through tonics, pressed juices, milk and smoothies. Their juice purely made from fruits and vegetables. The cold-pressed juice is also without chemicals. Their juicing techniques is such that all the vitamins that would otherwise get lost when using methods such as cooking and heating.

Harvest Juicery brings in experience from the restaurant and fitness industries to create products which are not only beneficial to your health but also have pleasant tastes. Herbs and spices are added into the juice made from locally sourced fruits and vegetables. The juices from Harvest Juicery are normally not pasteurized so it’s advisable to drink within 72 hours after purchase to ensure they don’t lose their taste and nutritional value.

The founders of Jrink had in mind the busy schedule of some people and wanted to find a way in which they would help them keep healthy without interfering with their lifestyle. Their juices are made with the best ingredients. Juicing does not include pasteurization or addition of sugars. Jrink’s team delivers juice to their stores and even homes of its customers.

College Freshman: 5 Safety Tips Before Starting School

Colleges present uncertainties especially in the lives of college students especially freshmen who are still trying to figure out their way out of the campus. There is a lot of fun and this clouds the students to feel a blanket sense of security especially in the presence of peers. However, there are a lot of security threats to campus students. As the axiom says, better safe than sorry and here are safety tips that can make your stay in campus smooth and enable your stay in campus safe and secure.

  1. Avoid secluded places at night

Walking alone at night especially when it is dark is like welcoming trouble in your life. Well, there are times when this is unavoidable but if you can, avoid walking alone at night at all costs. If anything, ensure you walk with your friends as you do not know when disaster will strike.

  1. Don’t allow technology cloud your judgment of your surrounding

You all love music, social media. This may sometime make us unaware of our surrounding. Staring at your phone as you try to stay apprised with the occurrences happening in your life sometimes make people unaware of the surroundings. Always scan your environment and the moment you notice that you are unaware of the environment, turn your music down or put your phone away. Be wary of the environment and social media as well as music can wait until you get to an environment where you find yourself familiar with.

  1. Make use of locks

Some people have a tendency of leaving their locks open, especially at the gym. It doesn’t take long to lock your door and confirm the lock is okay. These are standard rules that you should carry from your home. Keeping your doors locked especially when your roommate is not around is a crucial safety tip. Besides, in case of burglary, goons will not have an easy access to your place.

  1. Read the emergency manual around campus

People tend to ignore this; hope you are not part of them. Almost all campuses have emergency manuals, a lengthy book which is worth your eyes. Besides, there are emergency exists, call buttons and phones allover campuses, ensure you know where they are allocated in the campus. In case of a security issue, these may turn out to be your savior. Know the campus landmarks and all streets as it makes your navigation across campus easily.

  1. Always keep cash on you

You never know when trouble will strike, so carry some cash with you. There are times when all hell breaks loose and credit and debit cards fail to work. You don’t want to be caught in a tricky situation with no cash. Always have some cash stashed somewhere.

A new addition to your safety tips is a nail polish dubbed “Undercover Colors” which was developed by North Carolina State University students. It is used to detect date rape drugs to its ability to change colors in the presence of Rohypnol (roofies) or GHB (G-juice). To check your drink for drugs, you just need to put a finger that’s been painted with Undercover Color nail polish and stir to see if it reacts. That, combined with rape whistle and pepper spray are ideal, especially for ladies. This should be part of your checklist.

Yousef Al Otaiba Shares Advice with NYU Abu Dhabi’s Graduating Class

New York University Abu Dhabi (NYUAD), part of NYU’s Global Network University, opened its doors to students in 2010. The goal of its founders was to create a world-class research university integrating the sciences and the liberal arts, accepting students from around the world, and mainstreaming global awareness. NYUAD celebrated its first graduation in 2014, with President Bill Clinton delivering the commencement address. This year the university’s third graduation ceremony took place on May 23, with 135 students from 50 different countries receiving their diplomas.

The keynote address to the 2016 graduating class of NYU Abu Dhabi was given by Yousef Al Otaiba, the United Arab Emirate’s ambassador to the United States. Yousef Al Otaiba has served in this position since 2008 and shown himself to be a staunch proponent of closer cultural, economic, and educational ties between the UAE and the USA.

The Ambassador spoke with passion and vigor about the ties the new graduates had created with Abu Dhabi, promising them that they would always have a home there. He reminded them that they represented a new kind of global citizen, aware of the close interdependence and connectedness of all the world’s peoples. He further emphasized that the graduates’ experience at NYUAD had instilled and reinforced values that are essential to effect positive change; he went on to identify these values as “Innovative thinking, tolerance, respect for others, hospitality, and a culture of hope. If you help build a foundation for the future based on these principles, you will lead the world in the right direction.”

During the ceremony, Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba was presented with the university’s Global Leadership Award, in recognition of his personal commitment to the university and to his advancement of global peace and justice.

Andrew Hamilton, president of NYU, and Alfred Bloom, the vice chancellor of NYU Abu Dhabi, were the hosts of the ceremony. President Hamilton encouraged the new graduates to commit to making a positive difference in the world. Chancellor Bloom gave further emphasis to Ambassador Yousef Al Otaiba’s statements by reminding his audience of the need to put their education at the service of promoting peace and cooperation on a global level.

Also participating in the graduation ceremony was Shamma bint Suhail Faris Al Mazrui, UAE Minister of State for Youth, who addressed students and faculty upon her acceptance of the Distinguished Alumni Award, presented to her in recognition of her contributions to the University and the UAE. Ms Al Mazrui graduated NYUAD in 2014, as a member of its inaugural class.

University of Colorado’s Prominent Alumni: Where are they now?

We have carefully compiled a list of some of the renown alumni from the University of Colorado at Boulder and narrow down to their majors and current area of specialization:

Matt Stone
Matthew Richard “Matt” Stone was brought up in the suburban areas of Littleton, Colorado. He attended Heritage High School located in Littleton and later joined the University of Colorado at Boulder. He was the first student to undertake a double major in film and mathematics at the institution. Currently, Matt Stone is a producer, songwriter, voice actor, singer, animator, screenwriter, and television director. He has since received four Emmy Awards for his best known role as a co-creator of the animated series, South Park which he created with his college best friend Trey Parker.

Jackie Soffer
After graduating from the University of Colorado with a degree in Communications, Jackie Soffer joined her family’s real estate development company, Turnberry Associates as co-CEO. Through Turnberry Associates, Jackie Soffer successfully oversees a number of prominent developments in the Miami, Florida area such as Aventura Mall, which is one of the largest shopping centers in the United States. In addition to her work in real estate development, Jackie is also serves as the art curator at the Fontainebleau Miami.

Lynne Ann Cheney
Lynne Ann Vincent graduated from Colorado College with a Bachelor of Arts degree in English literature with highest honors. She advanced her education at the University of Colorado in Boulder with a Master of Arts degree and proceeded to University of Wisconsin–Madison for a PhD in 19th century British literature. She is the wife to former U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney and served as the Second Lady of the United States for nine years. She is also a novelist, writer, author, and a former talk show host.

Loren Acton
Loren Wilber Acton is the current Research Professor of Physics at Montana State University. He is in-charge of the Solar Physics Group which works under NASA support conducting various active research programs. Acton graduated in 1959 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Engineering Physics from Montana State University and in 1965, he received a Doctor of Philosophy in Solar Physics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. A physicist by profession, he has been in space for a time record of 7d 22h 45min.

Ellen Johnson Sirleaf
Ellen Johnson is the current president of Liberia ( Her early education was at the College of West Africa. Soon after, she traveled to the United States to continue with her studies and as a result, she received an associate degree in accounting from Madison Business College, in Madison, Wisconsin. In 1970, Sirleaf enrolled at the University of Colorado, Boulder for a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics. She returned to Liberia after earning her Master’s Degree and served under the administration of William Tolbert as the assistant minister of finance and later stepped down in 1973.

Stimulating the economy through tax credits

One of the best ways for an economy to grow is to make sure that citizen have more disposable income. The money that goes into the government does not always benefit the people it was intending to, but when people have more money in their pockets, there is a much greater chance of economic activity.

There are some great advantages to the economy when tax credits are given to individuals and businesses. In either case, the money is generally going to be spent in or around the economy which is greater economic activity.

Advantage for individuals

There are a few well-known tax credits available to individuals such as the child tax credit and earned income credit. In a study done by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, a think tank located in Washington, DC, it was found that these two credits are responsible for an increase in the personal promotion of work, a reduction in poverty, and increased support for child development. The reality is that when people have more they are likely to spend more. There is no better way to expand an economy than with spending from the individuals in that economy with the business in that economy.

Advantage for businesses

Although businesses can receive some benefit from their own tax credits accrued to their accounts such as FUTA and SUTA, the greatest thing that a business can receive is profits from the sale of its goods and services. When people are spending money because of tax credits, there is a much greater opportunity for businesses to pitch products and services that they might not otherwise be able to afford. Saving more does not mean a thing if they are not spending it on other items of more usefulness.

Facts that stand

The Brookings Institute has put out reports that show how decreased poverty is a very strong indicator of economic progress. Tax credits are known to decrease poverty by simply giving individuals more disposable income which they in turn will send back into the economy. There may be some who believe that this is not as strong a correlation; however, statistical data bears this out. Business require income in order to operate, households require income in order to spend with those businesses. Earned income credit has the potential of putting billions into circulation for an economy. This very same money, when left in government hands, does not yield the same result. The government collects taxes; they do not earn income by way of productivity. The economy has to be left to produce products and services; but allowed to sell them to people who have the income to purchase them.