Faculty at KAUST were great from varied fields who allowed and encouraged me to think outside the borders of my own field.
Matthew Debont obtained his Master's degree in Computer Science under the supervision of Professor Basem Shihada at King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST).
Matthew's research interests included Wireless Sensor Networks, Computer Networking, Agile Software Development, and Information and Communication Technology.
Matthew's work contributes to improving the UK's evidence-based policies in the environmental sector. More specifically, his current project focuses on the use of satellite data from the European Space Agency's Sentinel / Copernicus program. This involves trying to create a source of analysis-ready data for scientists in the UK, for environmental and other purposes.
Matthew's KAUST experience extended beyond his area of study.
''There was a wide range of great faculty from varied fields, all encouraging and allowing us to think outside the borders of our own field. For a while, I did work with the marine science teams in KAUST (something completely outside my own field) which included checking sensors for tracking whale sharks, and lab work to age fish, which I enjoyed immensely.''
In addition, the variety was not restricted to just studies.
''KAUST is different. Obviously, there are parallels to any university in the world. But its entire focus is very different, allowing us to interact with so many varied and interesting people in one place, whereas a more traditional university would tend to have a narrower focus.''
What advice do you have for someone considering applying to KAUST?
''Give it a go; if you think you may enjoy the experience, try it. There are plenty of opportunities in life that only come about once at a certain point in your career, and this was one of the best choices I think I made.''