Yaman Abou Jieb '20 grew up in Damascus, the capital city of Syria. As one of the oldest places in the world, Syria is a country in the Middle East with a civilization that dates back 7,000 years. From 2011-2018, Yaman lived amid the conflict that destroyed his country, witnessed the horrors of violence, and experienced the many good things that flourished despite the upheavals. Yaman's father even opened his home to a refugee family in need, allowing Yaman to explore the world differently.
As a teen, Yaman worked with his father, a mechanical engineer. In 2011, they began designing and installing photovoltaic systems for residential, industrial, and commercial applications. The company is now the third-largest in Syria in the mentioned industry.
Yaman set off for college at the oldest and most prestigious symbol of higher education in Syria, Damascus University. While his parents were anxious they would lose their son to bombings or kidnapping, they stressed that knowledge was power and would be Yaman's key to success in life. Midway through his undergraduate studies, Yaman entered a contest called Stars of Science, similar to the Invent Oregon competition held annually in Oregon and television's Shark Tank. In the Stars of Science, Arab students, scholars, and entrepreneurs work on innovative ideas and compete for prize money by creating operational prototypes. The contest began in 2008 to inspire young minds to develop technological advancements for their communities. This reality show represents 18 Arab nations and is now in its 15th season. Sixteen finalists battle for ten weeks until a winner is chosen. Yaman not only participated as a contestant in Season 7, but he won! His invention of a solar-powered washing machine called Glean was invented out of necessity, as Yaman sought ways to help his community that constantly struggled with power outages and water shortages. Glean earned Yaman top honors, a patent, and $300,000 in prize money.
After graduating college with his Bachelor of Electrical Engineering in Syria in 2017, Yaman knew he wanted to advance his studies in the United States. He obtained his F1 Visa one week before Syrians were banned from applying. With this fantastic opportunity and a scholarship in hand, he initially began a master's program in Arkansas. After one semester, he knew it wasn't the right fit for him, and he returned home.
His mother's encouragement to pursue his dreams motivated Yaman to do a Google search for the top ten universities in renewable energy in the U.S. The Oregon Institute of Technology appeared as the number one choice. Yaman emailed his resume to Dr. Hope Corsair at Oregon Tech, who walked him through the steps of applying. Not surprising for such a highly qualified candidate, Yaman was accepted. He began his master's program in Renewable Energy Engineering in the summer of 2018. Throughout his time at the Portland-Metro campus, Yaman worked as a Peer Consultant. After just one semester, he was asked to teach Electric Circuits as an adjunct. Also, he became a teaching assistant for six classes. Yaman graduated in 2020 after completing an internship with PacifiCorp in Portland and defending his thesis. He had several job offers before he even had his diploma in hand. He chose to work at SMA America the first year out of school as a senior service engineer and currently works as an electrical engineer at Atwell, LLC, where he designs utility-scale solar and energy storage systems.
In a life full of such impressive accomplishments driven by his passion for his field, Yaman has recently added to his success by publishing a textbook titled Photovoltaic Systems: Fundamentals and Applications, published by Springer International Publishing. His book is currently #11 on the bestseller list in the solar books category on Amazon. Supporting Yaman on this journey were Oregon Tech professors Slobodan Petrovic and co-author Eklas Hossain. A goal of Yaman's is to have this book included as part of the curriculum at Oregon Tech and other universities.
Yaman enjoys his current work position and celebrates the publication of his first book. Still in his 20s, he is saving the money necessary for a start-up company and furthering his education. He has great hope that his homeland can rebuild, and he knows his generation can make that goal a reality. Whether it is innovating for his community or supporting students, he takes these responsibilities very seriously. Yaman's grandfather, a senior judge in Syria who has written over 50 publications, wrote a book titled Wisdom. From that book, Yaman shares this heartfelt yet straightforward advice that can be appreciated whether you are religious or not. "Trust in yourself. Trust in your God."
We celebrate Yaman and are proud to call him an alumnus of Oregon Tech. To learn more about this impressive young man, follow him on social media.
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/yamanabj
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/yaman_abj/
- Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/yabj/
~Becky Burkeen, Alumni Relations Manager