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Masters in the US on Fulbright Scholarship

TL;DR: Mohamed Elmasry grew up in Cairo Egypt and pursued his undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Engineering Shoubra at Benha University. He was awarded a Fulbright scholarship to pursue his masters in Telecommunication Engineering Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Name: Mohamed Elmasry

Hometown: Cairo, Egypt

Undergraduate: Faculty of Engineering Shoubra, Benha University

Masters: Telecommunication Engineering Technology, Rochester Institute of Technology

Field: Telecommunication Engineering

Mohamed, could you tell us a bit about yourself?

My name is Mohamed Elmasry. I was born and raised in Cairo, Egypt. When I was a student in high school, I developed a passion towards technology and computing. I like to travel and explore nature around. I believe that education is a journey that never ends.

I began my career working in the information technology sector as a technical support, and moved between companies in different locations. I was selected as a Fulbright Grantee for the master program for the year of 2017 to pursue my master degree in Telecommunication Engineering Technology at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Let’s go back in time a little. When did you first consider applying for the Master program? How did you start preparing?

I wanted to travel abroad to study, expand my horizon and gain new life experience. I wanted to make my profile unique. I looked into the resources around, and found that volunteering in a non-governmental organization would allow me to help my community while gaining new skills. Through volunteering, I joined a Non-Profit Organization called Development No Borders. I was also able to travel into several countries through Youth Exchange Programs funded by the European Union which enhanced my English and communication skills.

Can you tell us a bit about the master program you pursued? What was your favorite class?

Telecommunication engineering is driven by technology innovation and integrating old technology. My focus was using Machine Learning to predict and enhance network performance and security. My favorite class was Programming and Problem solving in Telecom. I learned how to utilize my programming skills to solve real world problems in the industry. it was a lot of fun.

Is there anything that you wish someone had told you to consider when applying to universities abroad?

I would like to encourage students to take advantage of this opportunity where you can apply to a Fully Funded Master Degree through the US Department of State’s Fulbright Program. The Fulbright program offers multiple types of Grants:

  • Master Student Program

  • Visiting Student Researcher

  • Applied, Fine and Performing Arts

  • Islamic Studies

  • Foreign Language Teaching Assistant

The Fulbright Program was created to increase mutual understanding and support between the people of the United States and the rest of the world. The graduates from this scholarship program join alumni networks containing people from all over the world. Students are selected for their potential as well as previous achievements in their field.

All fields are eligible to apply for the Fulbright Program except that medical programs cannot include any clinical studies. Additionally, a bachelor's degree with minimal very good for applicants in the sciences and good for humanities and social sciences. More details on requirements can found from the link

What advice do you have for someone applying for the Fulbright?

Before deciding to embark on a journey to study abroad, set a list of specific goals because you need to link those future goals in your application to the Fulbright scholarship. Ask yourself: why do we study abroad? The answer is simple and quite difficult. Some people choose to study abroad to have a better career, or to meet new people and gain new life experience. The goals to choose travelling abroad for a higher degree is important as it defines the milestone that you are trying to achieve. The first thing to decide is your area of interest (research/academic/industry). Secondly, know the degree you seek whether it is a masters or a PhD. Later, choose your focus within your field. Finally, match your area/focus to different programs. Keep in mind the names of programs can vary between universities.

The key for acceptance into a scholarship is to show that you have something to give to the community; you can call it return of investment but in this case you will be the investment. The people who are administering the scholarship are trying to figure out why they should select you and not anyone else. You have to show in your statement and interview that you have a plan to give back to the community. For example, creating a youtube channel to educate your colleagues about the recent development in your field.

Are there any tips for developing a compelling application?

Here I would like to share a couple of tips to include in your personal essay that should make your profile stand out so that you can have better chances to be selected for an interview.

  • Be original and do not copy

  • Get involved in extracurricular activities (volunteering, charity work, social engagement)

  • Be specific regarding what you want to study (do your research )

  • Personal essay (not a resume, it should tell your story and your future plans)

  • Personal essay should not be too long or too short (check required length)

  • Personal essays must have introduction/conclusion/middle paragraphs.

  • Choose who writes your recommendation letter carefully. Make them tell a story to show your specific skills.

The Fulbright application process includes:

  • Filling an online application

  • Uploading required documents (Personal essay, study/research objective, three recommendation letters, passport copy, TOFEL/IELTS scores, and any other related certificates

  • Interview with a panel

  • Result comes as Principle/Alternate Candidates.

Can you tell us a bit about the interview process?

If you were selected for the interview, you will be interviewed by a panel of college professors. In my case there were two professors from AUC and another person from the Fulbright Commission. The professors will be from nearby or the same field as you are. I was asked to introduce myself and talk about my past working experience. Additionally, why I wanted to study in the US and how getting a master degree works in my favor in my short - long term plans. Moreover I was asked to explain what I want to study and how is this important and beneficial to Egypt. Finally, what are my plans upon returning to Egypt when I have my master degree.

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