Faces of UMSI: Rasha Alahmad

Rasha has two master’s degrees: a Master of Business Administration from Qassim University in Al-Qassim, Saudi Arabia, and a Master of Science in Information Systems from Central Michigan University. The second Master’s degree that Rasha earned served as a “bridge” between business administration and information science, according to Rasha. At Central Michigan University Rasha conducted research projects regarding SAP, business intelligence, and system design. 

PhD student Rasha Alahmad’s MBA does not go to waste at UMSI. Here, she researches how individuals in organizations use and adopt technology, and aims to help companies and individuals through her work. 

Rasha reached out to around forty PhD programs in her search for one that fit her needs. She came to UMSI for her PhD because “It’s not just a degree.” Here she can pursue real research projects.  

Both the diversity of subjects studied at UMSI as well as the diversity of students attracted Rasha to pursue her PhD at UMSI. “I do believe diversity is the main source of creativity,” Rasha said, referring both to UMSI’s multidisciplinary approach and to the student body “the culture and diversity of students and classes deeply intrigued me in various ways.”

Rasha’s primary research interest, IT identity: how individuals identify themselves with technology. Rasha used IT identity theory to understand how tools like Facebook at Work, Slack, and Yammer impact coworker support, job performance, and job satisfaction in “The Impact of Enterprise Social Media Identity on Job Performance and Job Satisfaction,” a paper that was accepted at the 24th Americas Conference on Information Systems in New Orleans. She worked with Lionel Robert and Casey Pierce of UMSI, as well as Michelle Carter, to explore this question and found that, though there is much more to learn, social media tools have become an important part of work for many individuals.

Last week a short paper Rasha worked on regarding technology affordances and IT identity was accepted to the International Conference on Information Systems (ICIS), one of the most prestigious IS conferences in the world. 

Rasha aims to fix information problems through her research. “IT becomes an integral part of our daily lives ” Rasha said. “research should be conducted to understand individuals’ perceptions and attitudes and the consequences of that on their behavior and actions.” 

Rasha chose her advisor, Lionel Robert, because he also has an interest in collaboration technology at the workplace. She believes that he is preparing her well for a career after graduation.

Rasha plans on remaining in academia after she graduates in 2020. 

- by Meg Millure, Editorial Assistant