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Tarik Abdulkreem S. Al-Werthan

Tarik Abdulkreem Al-Werthan headshot

Affiliation: Master’s and Doctoral Student
Program: Human Development
Previous Education: Graduate Diploma, King Saud University (General Education); BA, King Saud University (Arabic Language and Literature); MS, Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine (Organizational Development & Leadership)
Current Employment: Visiting Lecturer in the University of Rochester’s Department of Religion and Classics
Homeland: Saudi Arabia

The Arabic word for octopus, “akhtaboot,” comes to Tarik Abdulkreem S. Al-Werthan’s mind when he talks about the few human development specialists in his native Saudi Arabia, many of which attempt to have many “hands” in places outside their area of expertise. Professional training there, typically completed online and not recognized by the government, he says, might require as little as a 60-hour commitment over two weeks—and one person can claim to be an authority in working with individuals, families, groups, and organizations.

“I cannot blame them, but I do not think they have a full understanding of human development or the right preparation to call themselves any kind of specialist,” explains the master’s and doctoral student in counseling and human development. “It doesn’t make any sense after my encounters at Warner.”

A high school teacher in Arabic studies for one year before coming to the United States in 2008 to further his studies, Al-Werthan, who plans to return to his homeland as a consultant for a governmental or private organization “to establish a new understanding of human development in a scholarly way,” began his graduate study at Warner in 2011.

Al-Werthan has given much of his spare time helping other students from Saudi Arabia match their own career ambitions with government requirements, as well as facilitating at student orientation workshops for international students.

He says his stint as a visiting lecturer in the University of Rochester’s Department of Religion and Classics, in which he taught about Arabic language and culture, gave him a deeper understanding of the learning process and the chance to pass along some of the knowledge he has gained at Warner, such as the benefits of intrinsic motivation. He plans to write his dissertation on the consequences of discrimination on an individual’s psychological well-being and motivation.

“Being here inspires me to try harder to reach my goals,” he says, “and makes me understand that everyone is different and has their own way of thinking.”

An unofficial ambassador of sorts, Al-Werthan also offers his contact information to “any new student in need” in hopes of emulating his advisor Dena Swanson, who he says has been both generous and passionate in offering guidance.

“I see all the Warner faculty like a family,” he notes. “They strive to provide any help they can, and it’s not just with me. It’s with all international students. They make us feel at home.”