Jamal Kharrat has always been interested in information technology and electronic devices. He used to spend his time as a kid disassembling computer parts and mobile phones to figure out how they work. At a young age, his friends considered him as the go-to person in Aleppo when it came to technical issues with their computers, applications, and electronics.
After finishing high school, Jamal decided to study architecture in the university of Aleppo to fit the demands of the job market, stirring away from his true passion. As the Syrian conflict began, he observed as the situation got worse and eventually decided to start searching for an opportunity to study abroad and start a new journey.
In May 2012, Jamal was about to change the course of his life. He applied for one of Jusoor’s early scholarships to study in one of the most popular universities in the field of computer science and information systems. Two months later, he received his acceptance email from Jusoor indicating that he was one of awardees.
“I was overjoyed and really happy. That was like a dream come true. It was finally my opportunity to exit that atmosphere and start a new journey.”
Jamal started his first semester in IIT (Illinois Institute of Technology) in September of 2012. At first, it was an overwhelming experience for him as he was faced with the academic and cultural differences between Syria and the US. During the same time, Jamal had also observed the situation in Syria deteriorating. However, Jamal’s dedication and hard work helped him defy the challenges he was facing. He managed to achieve a 4.0 GPA in his first semester, proving that when a person is fueled by their passion they become unstoppable.
After graduating from IIT in 2016, Jamal continued on further shaping his skills, applying for internships, and pursuing every opportunity that might get him to where he wanted to be. “Apple has always been my dream company (...) In my sophomore year, I built my first app ever and published it on the app store. That was a major milestone for me”
Today, Jamal is a software engineer in the clinical health records team at Apple, and his work is impacting billions of devices around the world. Jusoor’s scholarship paved the way for Jamal to pursue his passion, fulfill his childhood dream, and realize his potential.
“I think the whole Syrian generation deserves an opportunity like the one I got. I believe with the right education we can change the entire story. We can change the entire narrative of what it means to be Syrian.”
In addition to his work, Jamal is now mentoring other Syrian students to help them thrive and excel in their academic journeys, proving that education has a multiplier effect that does not stop, but continues to spread a positive impact around the world.