Northeastern Empowered Leading Saudi Arabian Data Scientist

Interdisciplinary Engineering aluma Kholoud Khateeb, PhD’15, is helping transform health care in Saudi Arabia as a female data scientist, and she says she owes her success to Northeastern.

This article originally appeared on Northeastern Global News. It was published by Cyrus Moulton. Main photo: Kholoud Khateeb, who self-designed her PhD program at Northeastern University, credits the school with her success as a leading data scientist. Courtesy photo

‘Northeastern empowered me.’ Leading female data scientist in Saudi Arabia credits university with making her an ‘overachiever’

Northeastern University graduate Kholoud Khateeb admits she is a bit of an overachiever.

As a Husky, she self-designed an interdisciplinary Ph.D. program combining engineering and finance. Then after her father had a stroke, Khateeb revised her program to focus on health care rather than banking.

During her time as a postdoctoral researcher in Switzerland, Khateeb helped develop content and an informatics framework for a digital weight-management tool and coordinated its international and multidisciplinary business team.

And now Khateeb, 46, is a mentor and a mother who is helping lead a Saudi government organization transforming health care in the country, advising the Saudi government on artificial intelligence and big data standards and serving as a mentor to female Saudi scientists.

She says she owes it to Northeastern.

“The beauty of me joining Northeastern was that Northeastern empowered me,” Khateeb says. “It allowed me to open many doors and allowed me to be an overachiever.”

Kholoud Khateeb at her graduation from Northeastern University. Courtesy photo

Khateeb earned her undergraduate degree in computer science at King Abdulaziz University in Saudi Arabia, then came to the United States for a master’s degree in computer science from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles.

She returned to Saudi Arabia to work as a project manager at a bank when she realized there “was a gap” in her skill set.

But Khateeb was not interested in just one area of focus. She wanted a “multi-disciplinary Ph.D.,” as she described it, where she could study how to use scientific tools for investment decision-making in the banking sector. Khateeb outlined areas of study including industrial engineering, strategic finance, telecommunication management and production systems.

Just after finishing the qualifying exams for each of those disciplines, however, Khateeb’s father had a stroke. She decided to shift her focus from finance and banking to health care.

“People don’t need to be wealthier,” Khateeb says. “People need to be healthier.”

So, Khateeb set out to change her focus and develop new opportunities.

Khateeb connected with the Center for Connective Health at Mass General Hospital. The meeting resulted in a two-year fellowship focused on using technology to provide at-home care for patients who have experienced cardiovascular events.

Read full story at Northeastern Global News

Related Departments:Mechanical & Industrial Engineering