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edX Welcomes our 5 Millionth Learner, Sara Magdy!

This summer we celebrated a huge edX milestone: 5 million learners! We’re always curious to learn more about our students, so we reached out to lucky number 5,000,000 to get the scoop. Sara is taking How to Survive Your PhD to help her through her master’s program – pretty brilliant, if you ask us.


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Sara Magdy

Age 23  |  Egypt

I am excited to join edX and to be one of the 5 million learners!

I graduated a year ago with a bachelor’s degree in Electronics and Communications Engineering from the Faculty of Engineering at Cairo University. I am now a graduate student there, pursuing my master’s degree in Electromagnetics while working as a research assistant at Zewail City for Science and Technology in the Nanotechnology Center. My research focus is plasmonic nanoantennas for biomedical sensing.

My education through college was great, but after college, things became more complicated and harder to keep up with – you always need to work on yourself and learn more about your research area, however there isn’t a constant source of knowledge or helpful materials in universities nor in research institutes. Your only resources are research papers and books, and there is a lack of organization when you are learning on your own. I believe online courses solve such a problem.

I heard about edX as I follow “The Thesis Whisperer” blog by Dr. Inger Mewburn, the Director of Research Training at the Australian National University. Last month she announced her new edX course “How to Survive Your PhD,” which teaches how to overcome the obstacles from stress, fear and low confidence that students face throughout our graduate studies. This course was very interesting to me because I have faced many of these obstacles since starting my masters degree, and I’m still trying to navigate my way through them. I believe this course is going to be very beneficial for me.

This is my first online course, so I don’t know yet what to expect, but I like the idea a lot and I believe it helps many students all over the world; they’re able to take courses from well-known institutions and learn more about sciences that are not available in their countries. Online learning also simplifies the education process a lot and helps spread the knowledge among larger number of learners.

I am so pleased to have joined edX and look forward to taking more courses on it.