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Eye of Riyadh
Eye of Riyadh
Culture & Education | Sunday 26 May, 2019 1:31 pm |

AUS architecture and design seniors ready for career success following graduate show and industry night

Graduating students from the College of Architecture, Art and Design (CAAD) at American University of Sharjah (CAAD) showcased an impressive collection of their work in the college’s annual graduate show and industry night, Six Degrees. The exhibition opened to an audience of representatives from the design industry and the cultural community at Dubai Design District (D3) on Thursday, May 23.


On display was the work of 106 graduates spanning the disciplines of architecture, interior design, multimedia design, design management and visual communication. The exhibition also featured work by a group of three graduates of the Master of Urban Planning program.


More than the opportunity to demonstrate the high caliber of work produced in their senior year of study at CAAD, the Six Degrees exhibition provided graduates with the chance to network with leaders in the architecture and design industry and make connections for employment opportunities in the UAE and gulf region.


Dr. Varkki Pallathucheril, Dean of CAAD, said that this year’s graduating class has demonstrated professional abilities, in part due to CAAD’s collaborations with industry partners.


“The graduating Class of 2019 is well prepared for a successful future in the global architecture and design professions,” said Dr. Pallathucheril.


“Our students have received awards and accolades for their work through participation in international architecture and design competitions. Over the past year alone, CAAD students have received exposure in leading international design venues in France, Brazil, Spain, Italy, across the gulf region, and at home in the UAE,” said Dr. Pallathucheril. 


“This well-deserved recognition from the local and international design community is a result of my faculty colleagues’ commitment to immerse our students in what we call a ‘culture of making’, and to provide world-class training in the very best facilities this region has to offer,” said Dr. Pallathucheril


“I am sure our Class of 2019 will continue to make us proud as they shape the future of architecture and design for the region and the world, and we look forward to seeing the great work they will create throughout their careers as AUS alumni,” he said.

Prior to the opening of the exhibition, Dr. Pallathucheril distributed a series of awards in recognition of the most outstanding outgoing senior students and faculty for the 2018-19 academic year. 


Recipients of the Dean’s Award for Academic Excellence were Mark Shehata (Architecture), Reem Elwazeer (Interior Design), Ahmed Geaissa (Multimedia Design), Rukaiya Banatwala (Visual Communication), Aqeela Virjee (Design Management), and May Eladasy (Urban Planning).

The Motivation +Attitude + Dedication (MAD) Award went to Mark Shehata (Architecture), Sana Fathima (Interior Design), Ahmed Geaissa (Multimedia Design), Reema Abdulghaffar (Visual Communication), Noor Mundher (Design Management), and Reem Nassif (Urban Planning).

Students Yasmine Fahmy and Boula Abdelnour were recognized with the Dean’s Service Award.


Finally, Senior Lecturer in Art and Design, Philip Sheil was recognized with this year’s Excellence in Teaching Award.


Award recipient, Mark Shehata said his CAAD experience gave him a broader skill set than what he originally anticipated.


“Perhaps the most exciting and challenging thing about architecture is its multidisciplinary approach. One day, you find yourself thoughtfully immersed in a quasi-space that you have been sculpting. Another day, you are building a script for a choreography of fabrication—all while you are trying to find the correct mode of representation to communicate your ideas,” he said.


CAAD alumni have established a strong tradition of success in the design industry, with many going on to work for leading architecture and design practices in the region and the world. Others have gone on to pursue graduate studies at top institutions such as Harvard University and the Royal College of Art, or to establish their own practices in the UAE and abroad. 

Ahmed Geaissa, award-winning multimedia design major, said he feels ready to take the next step into the professional design arena.


“With a great foundation in general education and an introduction to animation courses offered in the multimedia design program, I believe I am well prepared to join a master’s program in the near future and start my own animation studio,” said Geaissa.


Aashish Rajesh, design management major, gives credits to his professors for his success, and for the personal impact that mentorship had throughout his student experience.


“My experience over my four years as a student at CAAD has definitely been integral towards shaping who I am as a person. Here, I have had the privilege of meeting professionals and faculty that take personal interest in developing a productive space where young creatives can latch onto their full potential,” said Rajesh.


Visual communication senior Mariam El-Asmawy said that CAAD’s culture of making and the access she had to world-class design facilities on campus gave her the skills and confidence she needs for a successful future in the design industry.  


“CAAD students’ ability to access various recourses largely shaped my educational experience, as the availability of advanced facilities encouraged me to explore visual research from diverse angles that facilitated my development as a designer,” she said.


“Generally, CAAD’s positive atmosphere was also extremely enriching to my student experience, as it enhanced my creativity and allowed me to establish lifetime friendships and relationships with colleagues and professors,” El-Asmawy added.


To view a digital collection of senior architecture and design works by CAAD students, and for more information about how to apply to the College of Architecture, Art and Design at American University, visit

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