Saudi Arabian siblings set to graduate with same degree on Friday 

  Thursday, December 12, 2019 12:00 PM
  Academics, People and Society, Science and Technology, Campus Culture, News

Pittsburg, KS

Saudi Arabian siblings

For graduating senior siblings Sarah Alfaihany and Saud Alfaihan of Saudi Arabia, it was an easy decision to choose Pittsburg State University as the place to earn their degrees, both in Environmental and Safety Management.  

“I heard awesome stories about Pitt State from my friend who used to be there,” Sarah said.   

PSU’s ESM program, part of the School of Construction in the College of Technology, is one of just 12 in the U.S. to be recognized by the Institute for Safety and Health Management as a national board-approved program.   

Their choice meant that the two had to travel further from home than the majority of PSU students: They are from Dammam, a city of nearly 1 million people in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province — a 19.5-hour flight from Joplin, Missouri. It’s located on the western bank of the Persian Gulf, a much different environment than land-locked Pittsburg, a town of 20,000.  

But when they arrived, the stories they heard were confirmed, the siblings said.   

“The community here is very nice and kind, people always smiling even if you don’t know them,” Sarah said. “We also like the diversity of students here.”  

Their degree in ESM with an emphasis in general industry will be valuable to finding a career back home, they said.  

“The program is amazing, and the way professors deliver the information and relate it to real life examples made everything cool and interesting,” Sarah said. “All professors who teach in this program worked really hard to give the student a close experience to a real-life job. I appreciate that professors care about their students’ success.”  

They'll graduate in the 8 p.m. Commencement ceremony on Friday, and said that they are counting their time at PSU as “amazing.”  

Their parents will be in the audience to see them, having traveled from Damman to Pittsburg on Nov. 26 — just in time to see Sarah be given the Outstanding International Undergraduate Student Award at the international student banquet, and to hear her give a speech about her experiences here.  

"They are quite proud of both of us, my brother and I,” she said. “And we are very happy to have them here and we are very proud to make them proud.”