The Department of Computer Science welcomed visiting assistant professor Sally Hamouda during the spring 2022 semester. She will begin the fall semester as a collegiate faculty member.

She most recently served as assistant for Rhode Island College (2017-2021) and was an engineering faculty member at Cairo University.

She indulged us by sharing 10 things about herself, ranging from her research interests, favorite things about her job, to how she strikes a work/life balance.  


1. What does your research entail?

My main research field is computer science education. Computer science education is the science and art of teaching and learning of computer science, computing, and computational thinking. My research entails working on students' data to find out their misconceptions, what are the best interventions to address these misconceptions, and how to measure the impact of the interventions when used.

2. What do you hope to accomplish with your research?

I find authoring and reviewing computer science education research papers a great opportunity to:  

  • Be updated on the new interventions, technologies, pedagogy in teaching and learning Computer Science concepts.  
  • Convince my students on why I teach using certain tools or approaches or assign certain exercises or assignments so that students are more engaged and encouraged.  
  • Update my curricula, class activities and homework to handle widely known student misconceptions in computer science courses. 
  • Be updated on the most up to date learning management tools and use it in the best way to benefit students.

3. Is there anything else that you're involved in? 

I am involved in research studies related to data mining for social networks analysis and natural language processing for chatbots experience enhancement. In addition, I am involved in studies related to ethics in computer science education paper reviewing process. Also, I am working on research studies related to best practices in teaching high school teachers how to teach data visualization concepts and how to support them.

4. Why did you choose Virginia Tech?

I was a graduate student at Virginia Tech and enjoyed the wonderful campus atmosphere and great location in Blacksburg. Virginia Tech is a great place for me to grow professionally and to better serve the community.

5. What Is your favorite thing about your job?

I am passionate about teaching. I like interacting with students and seeing how their lives change. It is nice to receive thank-you messages from students even years after graduation. I also like having the opportunity to serve the community.

6. Why is your job important to you?

My purpose in life is to change the world as much as I can before leaving it. By working in academia, I have the potential of changing student lives by teaching courses. I also try to introduce my research in any course I teach and give some real life examples for students to benefit more from the course. I talk about future computer science careers in my courses and link it to the course content and give advice to students by talking about what is good and bad for each career path.

I have the opportunity through grants to work closely with students as a mentor and teach them more skills on time management and how to get out of their comfort zone. In addition, I have the opportunity to serve the community through running workshops, giving talks, being involved in committees, and more. My job fits perfectly with my passion and purpose in life.

7. What do you do to relax?

Read the Quran, go for a long walk, bake, cook and play with my kids.

8. Do you have any hobbies that you would like to share?

I like reading, baking, and doing big and small projects in my house. 

9. How do you balance your work with your life?

Well, it is not easy, but I am trying! As a mum of three busy young boys and as a wife, I have to manage my time efficiently. I set times in the day that I only focus on work and times where I only focus on taking care of my family. I keep two to-do lists on my phone, one for work and another one for family duties. Every night, I do a brain dump for all the tasks that need to be done for the week for both work and family. I try to make the tasks as small as possible so that I feel the sense of accomplishment whenever I cross something out. I set my day into blocks so that I can focus on one task per block. I don't like wasting time or energy on anything that is not supporting my job or family goals.

As a visual person, I feel like having my house and computer organized makes me finish the tasks faster. I reward myself for big accomplishments, like finishing a paper, getting my sons to learn something new like sewing or baking, etc. I constantly learn from other people and try to find my pain points to resolve it. I always try to focus on the positive aspects of anything to avoid being distracted and drained by negativity. 

10. Is there anything else that you would like to share?

I enjoy working with STEM teachers as much as I enjoy working with computer science students and I hope to build a bridge between STEM teachers in school and the Department of Computer Science, where we can better serve the community. I am thrilled to be part of the  department. I  hope I can inspire more people to change the world, we need it!