Umair Hussain Shah

Country of Origin


Level of Study

Graduate Student

M.S. in Engineering

What do you like most about CMU?
Diversity and acceptance. Students are very respectful and ambitious which helps me to challenge myself to be a better person. Also, I would like to express my appreciation to the Sarah R. Opperman Leadership Institute for all that they do to help students. The training conferences and workshops, such as the Spark, Leadershape, and Purpose are life-changing. I have been impressed by the way the Leadership Institute staff goes above and beyond to make sure that our students are taken care of and have reached their goals. I highly recommend the Leadership Institute to every student having a hard time in expanding their social and professional needs.

Did you face any culture shock (Academic, Personal, ...) when you arrived in CMU or in the United States?
Not really, because of the orientation and informational sessions held by Office of International Affair and other departments.

What resources did you use here on campus to help overcome the challenges you mentioned above?
First and foremost, the Sarah R. Opperman Leadership Institute--the activities carried out by this institute are amazing and fantastic. A special shout-out to Alex Kappus (Assistant Director) and Dan Gaken (Director), two of the best mentors and friends. I would recommend reaching out to them if you need any kind of help. Other than that, I believe Office of International Affairs, Mary Ellen Volunteer Center, Park Library and Student Government Association are resources which I have utilized.

Tell us about any hobbies or activities you enjoy.
I love to play soccer, tennis, and volleyball. I enjoy watching a football game between CMU and WMU. I have been involved in SGA (Senator), the Sarah R. Opperman Leadership Institute (facilitator and a student member of LeaderShape Advisory Board) and Flint Service Trip.

What do you miss most about your home country?
Food and my family.

What advice would you give to International Students just arriving to CMU?
Make the best use of their time, work hard, make connections, involve in social activities and give back in the form of community work. If you have something in mind and not sure about it, don’t hesitate to ask.

Fun Facts about Umair

Received the U.S. President's Volunteer Service Award in May 2017

Serves as an SGA senator and on the LeaderShape Advisor Board

Works as a research assistant in Dr. Waseem Haiders' lab

Published three research articles in well-respected journals in his field

Received a research grant from the Office of Research and Graduate Studies

Interview conducted by Habeebat Diaw, graduate assistant with the Office of International Affairs, Ronan 330.