Meet the CCRC Student Advisory Committee, 2021

12 September, 2021


- Photos and article by Raheena Abdurehim

Established in the year 2018, the Student Advisory Committee (SAC) aims to represent the Clean Combustion Research Center's (CCRC) student body to the CCRC administration, staff, and faculty members. Every year, CCRC students are elected to constitute the SAC to represent and keep CCRC an exemplary center at KAUST. It was the first student group of its kind to be established in a research center at KAUST.

Some of the SAC’s core objectives include creating a better environment for the students to excel, defending student privileges, being involved in decisions related to CCRC students, representing CCRC students’ opinions, improving and integrating students’ academic and social experiences, and encouraging students to constantly improve the CCRC environment.

The committee for the year 2021:


Nawaf M. Alghamdi, a Ph.D. student under prof. Mani Sarathy


Nicole Laws, a Ph.D. student under Prof. William L. Roberts

Students' mentor: 

Mohammed Almomtan, a Ph.D. student under Prof. Aamir Farooq


Mhanna Mhanna, a Ph.D. student under Prof. Aamir Farooq

Mickael Silva, a Ph.D. student under Prof. Hong G. Im

Myriam Belmekki, a Ph.D. student under Prof. Aamir Farooq


Nawaf M. Alghamdi, from Saudi Arabia, joined CCRC, KAUST as an MS/Ph.D. student under the guidance of Prof. Mani Sarathy in the year 2017. He completed his MS in 2018 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. focusing on the microkinetics of catalytic processes. He completed his BS at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, in chemical engineering in 2016. Nawaf has been an avid runner since 2013 and likes to work on jigsaw puzzles in his free time. 

"We have identified three themes to focus on this year - student development, communication, and social events. For student development, we have planned several courses which enable educational development and professional development, and workshops by experts. Through proper communication, we bridge the gap between the students, center management, and faculty. We also have several fun social events planned for the year for the students to relax and connect informally with their peers at CCRC." said Nawaf. 


Nicole Laws, from the United States, completed her BS in Mechanical Engineering from Brigham Young University, the USA in 2018. She later completed her MS in Mechanical Engineering at KAUST in 2020 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. degree under the guidance of Prof. William L. Roberts. Her current research focuses on energy-related corrosion. Once a collegiate track athlete, Nicole now retires her energy to teaching dance. She loves all things chocolate chip cookies.

"As the SAC secretary, I am excited to implement new initiatives to help further improve the CCRC and help us reach our goals as individuals and as a center family.  I absolutely love being a part of the CCRC!," mentioned Nicole. 



Mohammed Almomtan, from Saudi Arabia, is a Ph.D. student in the Mechanical Engineering program working under the direction of Professor Aamir Farooq. Mohammed was first affiliated with KAUST as a KGSP student in 2012. As part of that program, he received his bachelor's degree in Mechanical Engineering from Iowa State University of Science and Technology in 2018. His first affiliation with CCRC was part of an internship in 2017 before he joined as a full-time student and received a master's degree from KAUST in 2019. In his spare time, Mohammed loves playing football, enjoying a fun night of board games, or binge-watching a TV series. 

"As a CCRC students' mentor and a SAC member, my role is to be a point of contact for students who are seeking help and advice regarding academic courses or research. I am also involved in organizing educational initiatives that aim to help students gain skills, knowledge, and hands-on experience crucial for their growth into well-rounded individuals," said Mohammed. 


Mhanna Mhanna, a native of Lebanon, joined KAUST's Mechanical Engineering program as an MS student in 2017 and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. focusing on chemical kinetics and laser sensors under the guidance of Prof. Aamir Farooq. He previously completed his BE in Mechanical Engineering at the American University of Beirut. He spends his free time playing football. 

"My main role as a SAC member is to focus on the professional development of CCRC students. We collaborate with experts to enhance students’ experience and professional opportunities through training/workshops. I also help in student recruitment and in organizing CCRC social events." said Mhanna. 


Mickael Silva, from Brazil, joined KAUST in 2018 to pursue both, MS and Ph.D. degrees in mechanical engineering. He completed his bachelor's in Mechanical Engineering from the Federal University of Paraiba, Brazil, and MS at KAUST in 2020. His research focuses is on computational fluid dynamics of reactive flows mainly targeting engine modeling. He works under the FUELCOM, a joint research agreement between CCRC and Saudi Aramco.

"As a SAC member, I'm involved in multiple initiatives with various focus (student development, communication, and social events) to make the CCRC an amazing place for students and also to broaden my soft skills. During my free time, I love having coffee with friends and also running during sunset time," said Mickael. 


Myriam Belmekki is a Franco-Algerian who joined KAUST as a Ph.D. student in 2020. Under the guidance of Prof. Aamir Farooq, her current research focuses on chemical kinetics, shock tube studies, and laser absorption spectroscopy. She completed her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Chemical Engineering from École Nationale Supérieure des Ingénieurs en Arts Chimiques et Technologiques (ENSIACET) in Toulouse, France. She enjoys discovering new places and cultures as well as practicing all sorts of outdoor sports. She also enjoys learning to write Arabic calligraphy and draw Islamic geometric patterns. 

"As a member of SAC, my role is mainly to help organize events related to student professional development. I am pleased to serve in the SAC as I can also leverage my previous experience in a student-led organization that I presided over back in France," said Myriam.