Abdelrhman Attia: Compassion, support draws student from Egypt to UMaine

An initial email from the University of Maine’s Office of International Programs helped seal the deal for Abdelrhman Attia to study at the University of Maine.

When he was applying to various higher education institutions in the U.K., Germany, Canada and the U.S., Attia, a mechanical engineering student from Cairo, Egypt, says OIP’s email struck him because the office asked him about his life and how he was doing before inquiring about his grades. The outreach demonstrated the UMaine community’s compassion and commitment to ensuring students’ success, Attia says.   

“Once I saw that, I knew that (UMaine) will be the university that will lead me to achieve my goals, because they really care about me,” he says.

After three years of study, UMaine became a second home for Attia. Student colleagues feel like siblings and faculty and staff, particularly from OIP, have become family. Student life also provides “every service that students would ever need,” he says.  

Attia has been actively involved in the university community. In the past three years, he has served as treasurer of the 3D Printing Club, secretary for the UMaine Chapter of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the public relations officer for the International Student Association, a student aid at the Multicultural Student Center and a tutor for TRIO Student Support Services and a tutor and facilitator for the mechanical engineering department. 

The tutelage from Mechanical Engineering Department Chair Masoud Rais-Rohani, in particular, aided Attia’s efforts to obtain his bachelor’s degree. Rais-Rohani, who is UMaine’s Richard C. Hill Professor, conducts research focused on various aspects of aerospace and automotive engineering, inspiring Attia’s work ethic and diligence in his studies, and bringing out the best in him, he says.  

Studying at UMaine and in the Pine Tree State has offered new experiences for Attia. Through the mechanical engineering program, Attia says he could “see and work on stuff I wouldn’t believe it is possible to have in real life,” such as using the world’s largest prototype polymer 3D printer to craft the largest 3D-boat. 

Living in Egypt yielded no opportunity for Attia to ski, but Maine’s climate allows him to enjoy the recreational pastime, which he did every weekend this winter.

“(UMaine) helped me to see the world differently, and become loving, creative, thankful, more responsible and always keep looking for more,” Attia says. 

After receiving his bachelor’s degree, Attia plans to obtain employment and after about five years, pursue both a master’s degree and a Ph.D.

Contact: Marcus Wolf, 207.581.3721; marcus.wolf@maine.edu