Chemistry Graduate Student Deiaa Harraz describes his research and answers 20 random questions as part of the Graduate Student Spotlight series.
Deiaa Harraz was born in Egypt, spent his childhood in Iowa, and then mainly lived in Maryland before joining the Department of Chemistry, where today he is a fourth year graduate student in Professor Yogi Surendranath’s lab.
“I chose to pursue PhD with Yogi’s group at MIT because I am interested in the interface between inorganic chemistry, electrochemistry, and catalysis,” said Deiaa. “I study molecular oxygen reduction electrocatalysis, with a focus on quantifying the selectivity for this reaction.” Deiaa’s research also focuses on how certain heterogeneous reactions can be analyzed as pairs of electrochemical half-reactions.
As the subject of this month’s Graduate Student Spotlight, Deiaa shares some small things that improve his day, the invention he feels deserves more credit, the lineup for his dream music festival, and more!
- If you didn’t have to sleep, what would you do with the extra time?
Probably just lie down and empty my mind, I think I would have to declutter my brain one way or another
- What is the best vacation you’ve ever taken?
Taking a 3 day road trip from Boston through the midwest with a group of my closest friends.
- What are some small things that make your day better?
A nice breeze in the air, and some sunlight!
- What could you give a 40-minute presentation on with absolutely no preparation?
Egyptian cuisine, both authentic and modern.
- What is something that a ton of people are obsessed with but you just don’t get the point of?
- What’s worth spending more on to get the best?
- If you could have a never-ending candle that smelled like anything you wanted, what fragrance would you want it to be?
That nostalgic smell of your childhood home.
- If you could pick any career other than the one you’ve chosen, what would it be?
A psychologist, or a chef… or a farmer living in a remote area.
- Where is the most interesting place you’ve been?
- What invention doesn’t get a lot of love, but has greatly improved the world?
Definitely the bicycle.
- What food do you crave most often?
A solid tie between pizza, and mashed potatoes and gravy.
- As a child, what did you think would be awesome about being an adult, but isn’t as awesome as you thought it would be?
Driving. I was obsessed with cars as a kid, and I couldn’t wait until I grew up so I could drive. Driving is now much more of a chore I avoid if I can.
- What is the darkest movie you’ve ever seen?
Not a movie, but the show Black Mirror. I stopped watching after a handful of episodes. Many of the techno-dystopian scenarios depicted are quite plausible or believable, which makes it more disturbing.
- What’s something common from your childhood that will seem strange to future generations?
Having to stop using the internet in order to use the home phone. It sounds bizarre to me even now…
- What skill would you like to master?
Playing the guitar. I have been trying to teach myself on and off for about 6 years
- What bends your mind every time you think about it?
That your body is a bunch of molecules doing a fancy orchestrated dance
- What would be your ideal way to spend the weekend?
Doing anything (or doing nothing) with friends and loved ones
- What piece of entertainment do you wish you could erase from your mind so that you could experience for the first time again?
The show Avatar The Last Airbender.
- Who would be in the lineup for your ideal music festival?
Cairokee, Fairuz, and The War On Drugs.
- If you could know the absolute and total truth to one question, what question would you ask?
Where did all the time go?
Many thanks to Deiaa for these thoughtful answers! Stay tuned for more Graduate Student Spotlights in the months to come!