ZU Pearls: Fatma Al Ghaith & Meera Al Siri

Maryam Obaid Al-Saidi

The journey to “Boum”

Boum App, which was launched during the GITEX 2011, is the first mobile application of its kind that caters to promoting the image of the U.A.E. based on user content, and allows people to experience the U.A.E. and share their local experiences with other users. 

Who are the creative minds behind the phenomenal Boum App? Two of Zayed University’s College of Communication and Media Sciences Top Graduates! Below, we get up-close and personal with Boum App founders, Fatma Al Ghaith and Meera Al Siri.

Fatma Al Ghaith

College: College of Communication and Media Sciences (Alumni)

Randy Pausch, author of  “The Last Lecture”, once said: "It’s not about how to achieve your dreams. It’s about how to lead your life. If you lead your life the right way, karma will take care of itself. The dreams will come to you”.

At the age of 6 or 7 I knew I wanted to be an author. I had a small notebook that was solely devoted to writing short stories and random story lines. My heart was set on becoming a published author at a very young age but as I grew older, my dream vanished somehow, and I carried on with my life blissfully unaware of what was stored for me.

During my second year at Zayed University, I was offered the opportunity to write for Echo, a newsletter published by the College of Communication and Media Sciences. I was excited and the little 6-year-old girl was secretly jumping inside of me. “This is it, I thought to myself. This is my chance to get published”. I poured my heart into writing the requested article and I was proud as I read it in the newsletter- albeit placed on the last page. For me, it was a personal challenge, but it was also a milestone. From then on, I wrote frequently in the newsletter, which later on was developed to a full on magazine, entitled Escapade. Sooner than I knew it, I went from writer to Editor in Chief of Escapade.

In addition to Escapade, during my four years at Zayed University, I participated in a multitude of activities, amongst which was the cross-cultural trip to New York-Delaware and Washington. As I departed from Dubai Airport heading to New York, I was embarking on a new adventure that I never expected would be this delightful. The White house, Long-wood Gardens, CNN and all the other places we visited will remain one of the best experiences in my life.

One of my professors, and a dear friend, Susanne Kadoura always told me we should give back to our University. So during my time at Zayed, I worked at Zayed University’s Publication and Marketing Department as well as conducted and presented a survey for Zayed University’s Research Department for the Summer School.  

I participated in a variety of creative activities and student groups. I was one of the Hala Ambassadors, a student hospitality group that deals with media and charitable events. I also was in the Student Council. Volunteering was a huge aspect of my life at Zayed University. I was a volunteer at TedxDubai, Dubai International Film Festival, and Dubai cares Walk for Education. In 2010, I was the Master of Ceremony at TedxDubaiWomen.

Being a Zayed University CCMS student, I was always encouraged to think outside the box. I was surrounded by ideas. When it was time for me to choose my graduation project, I went for something different. “Boum” is a mobile application that is combined with the idea of a social network. It aims to provide a platform for U.A.E residents and tourists to interact. At the age of 21, I co-founded Boum APP alongside Meera Al Siri.

As a co-founder and editor, I was faced with many challenges that I managed to overcome. I determined to perceive them as mere road blockers to where as I am certain this path is somehow leading me closer to my dreams. The founders of YouTube, Facebook, and Google were all in their twenties when they shined, and just like them we hope to become as successful. Zayed University has opened a lot of doors for me and I am forever grateful for the wonderful memories.

Meera Al Siri

College:  College of Communication and Media Sciences (Alumni)

You were probably asked the magic question when you were five: “What would like you like to be when you grow up?” I am assuming your answers fluctuated between doctor, pilot, and maybe ballerina (definitely in my case).

Then when you turned twelve, you were probably asked the same question again, but this time, your answers must have differed a little. I am assuming you wanted to become a singer, a flight attendant, a mechanist or in my case a party planner.

Now that you (and I) have grown older, there’s less room for castles in the sands and more room for action and implementation. As a first year student at Zayed University, I had no idea what or who I wanted to become, but one sure thing was I had my heart set on the College of Communication and Media Sciences.

The first two years of my university studies were mainly focused on volunteering and extra curricular activities. I remember I was part of two separate booths at the same time during the Zayed University Carnival and have greatly enjoyed it.

As I moved up the student ladder, I had to work twice as hard, and I did it with pleasure. I genuinely gave it my all as I wanted to stand out and be different, whether in delivering an assignment or presenting in class. During that time, I started designing the College of Media and Communication Sciences’ four-page newsletter ‘Echo’ which later on was transformed to the “Escapade” magazine.  I developed the newsletter along side the Editor in Chief Fatma Al Ghaith, and I was one of two Design coordinators.

Susanne Kadoura, one of my professors and a firm believer in showcasing the abilities of students, always repeated to us that nothing could represent Zayed University better than the creative work of its students. She was (and still is) so right. I had the pleasure of working under her guidance as a part timer in Zayed University’s Marketing and Publications Department and must say I have greatly benefited from her knowledge and experience. During that time, I participated in the RTA transportation Day, Zayed University’s Official New Website Launch, and very much enjoyed designing the 2011 Zayed University Calendar, all of which have widened my horizons and enhanced my creative skills.

On March 6, 2011, I was selected to accompany His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahayan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supremem Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, on a tour around Zayed University’s campus. It was a day that I will never forget. We spent two hours with His Highness discussing several topics including women’s education, women rights and much more. Oh, am I blessed!

During my university studies, I took part in several creative activities and student groups. I was one of the Hala Ambassadors, I was a volunteer at TedxDubai three times in a row, and  at the Dubai International Film Festival. I was also Master of Ceremony at TedxDubaiWomen, the first Tedx for Women that was every held in the U.A.E and Zayed University in 2010.

During my fourth and last year at Zayed University, I wanted to make a difference. I remember I had an insightful discussion with my professor William McCarthy where I divulged my wish to make a mark and shine, and that was when Fatma and I decided to work together on our capstone project- that was the big break. Boum App was the result of a long and exciting year of brainstorming, analyzing and researching. It is a mobile application based on user-generated content designed to provide a digital platform for the U.A.E’s residents, locals, and tourists to experience the beauty and richness of the UAE.

Fatma and I (the Boum App founders) received the “Young Achievers of the Year 2011” award at the age of 21 during the Arabian Business Achievement Ceremony. I genuinely believe that this is not the end but the beginning of our journey towards bigger achievements. I have learnt a lot at Zayed University, precious lessons and words of advice that I will carry with me for life. The memories that I have made here will surely remain in my heart as the dearest of all memories.

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