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Wiame El Bouhali '14 Named Third
21st-century Scholar

January 9, 2013

Wiame El Bouhali

Name and Class Year: Wiame El Bouhali, 2014
Hometown: Sale, Morocco
High School: Fakih Tetouani, Sale, Morocco
Major: Engineering
Minor: Applied Mathematics
Campus Activities: Society of Women Engineers Smith Chapter President, International Students Organization Social Chair, French Tutor, Student Assistant at Hillyer Art Library, Student Researcher


Last Movie Seen in Theaters: A little Bit of Heaven

Favorite Movie: Notting Hill

Smith House: Duckett

Last Book Read: Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Favorite Books: Antigone by Jean Anouilh

Favorite Place on Campus: The engineering lab, which we call the Ford Hall Playground

Favorite Campus Dining Location Cutter-Ziskind

Fondest Smith Memory So Far: I have a lot of great memories at Smith. One of my favorite activities is spending times with my friends—whether we go downtown to get some frozen yogurt, or have study parties, spending time with my friends is my favorite thing to do.

Favorite Quote: "Be the change that you wish to see in the world." —Mahatma Ghandi

Where did you grow up and what was life like there?
I grew up in Sale, a big city in Morocco which is across the river from the capital. It is one of the oldest cities in Morocco, and some of the walls that used to surround the old town still remain as historical monuments and are a big attraction for tourists. It was very nice growing up in a modern and diverse place that also has a lot of historical monuments.

Describe your family.
My parents are both teachers—my mother teaches French in middle school and my dad teaches elementary school. I have a younger brother who is currently a sophomore in high school. I have a fantastic family. I owe everything to my parents—they have always been supportive and encouraging, and always there when I needed help. I am very grateful for everything they have given me and I am hoping that I can give them back half the love and support they gave me.

How did you discover Smith?
I first learned about Smith through a cultural attaché who worked at the American Embassy in Morocco. We had talked for 10 minutes when he asked me if I had heard of Smith College and how I'd be a perfect fit. He told me about all the amazing Smith alums he had worked with and then put me in touch with a Smith alum who had moved to Morocco after graduation. I met her and was instantly convinced that Smith was the place for me. I applied early decision and never regretted my decision.

What were your first impressions of the College? Do you find they're still true today?
The first thing I noticed about Smith was how nice and supportive everyone was, from the staff at the Dean's and the Admissions offices who were answering my emails before I came to the campus, to my house leadership who carried all my suitcases up to the fourth floor. Everyone was amazing, and still is. I love being in a place where it's OK to be overwhelmed and tired, and where everyone will hug you and bring you tea and chocolate when you're feeling tired, sick or overwhelmed with life.

What was high school like? Who inspired you?
I went to a very large public high school with approximately 3,000 students. My high school experience was quite different from that of most of my friends at Smith. All my classmates and I had to choose a focus in 9th grade and the classes we had to take for the rest of high school were chosen for us accordingly. My concentration was mathematics, which I really enjoyed, and still do because it is logical and makes sense to me. I always enjoyed being involved in organizations and clubs but sadly my school didn't offer that many opportunities for the students to be involved in extracurricular activities—the sole focus at school was your classes.

At a young age, I decided to get involved in the National Institute for Youth Democracy, where young people like myself got together to learn about politics and discuss what we want for our future. We had seminars and conferences frequently and got the chance to meet with influential members of the government and the private sectors who wanted to meet with the young leaders of the country and offer their advice on many topics. The director of the institute was an inspiration to me—she was a smart, motivated, hard working leader who was constantly working to organize events and to get us motivated and interested in following our passions while remembering to help others. She was and still is an inspiration to me and I will always be grateful for her support.

What Smith professors, coaches or advisors have inspired you?
My advisor Glenn Ellis has been a great influence on my life. Since the first day that we met during orientation, he has been constantly present in my life. Not only does he help me with courses and registration, but he goes beyond his duties as an advisor. I love being able to go to his office and talk about everything from my summer plans and my plans after college, to my daily life with school, work and stress. I really appreciate that he is always willing to meet to talk about anything going on in my life, and constantly offering support, help and guidance.

Have you volunteered as a student? If yes, what did you find most rewarding about the experience?
One of the activities that we organize as part of the Society of Women Engineers is an outreach event called Introduce a Girl to Engineering Day (IGTED). Last year, we invited over 100 elementary school and middle school students over the course of two Saturdays to come to Smith and learn about engineering. I really enjoyed having the opportunity to introduce young girls to the field of engineering which is still predominantly male, and getting to show them how fun and exciting it can be, not to mention how important it is and how much of an impact it has on people's lives.

What are your plans after Smith?
I am currently looking into graduate schools. I love the fact that we have an engineering science program at Smith, which has allowed me to take classes in different engineering disciplines and determine my preferred type of engineering on which to focus. I am looking at masters degrees in civil engineering with a concentration on structural engineering. After graduate school, I would like to work as a field engineer.

What perspective would you share with alumnae?
Being at Smith has been a life changing experience. I have met amazing people who I would like to keep in touch with for the rest of my life. I get to take classes that constantly open my eyes to new perspectives and new possibilities. I have had the chance to be a leader and to be involved in projects that I knew nothing about 3 or 4 years ago. Smith is a learning experience, in my classes as well as in my everyday life—I am delighted to constantly be introduced to new things. All of this wouldn't have been possible without the generous donations of alums, so please keep donating so that me, my friends and future young talented women have the chance to attend this amazing institution and to be part of this fantastic community. And please remember that no gift is a small gift! All donations count and can have a tremendous impact on someone's life.