Ali Jabbar

Ali Jabbar
Meet Ali Jabbar

Jabbar inspired to reach beyond limits

May 18, 2020 | by Aaliyah Wells-Samci

Looking back at his undergraduate career at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Ali Jabbar continues to be inspired as an architect and designer by the words of his professor Brian Kelly.

“My professor [Brian Kelly] once said that you can dream higher in academic architecture projects. There are no limits to be afraid of,” Jabbar said. “That itself was a big idea that I followed through my time as an architecture student and I still follow now.”

architectural sketch

Originally from Amarah, Maysan in Iraq, some of Jabbar’s favorite memories from his college career include his design projects. As an architect, he draws inspiration from human-centered design and seeks to establish harmony with form and function. In his second year, Jabbar completed his first full building design entitled “Contemplation,” which proposed an expansion of the university's International Quilt Museum on East Campus.

“The main question to be addressed by this project is how to define a museum environment in the 21st century,” Jabbar described. “The project answered that question by giving an inspirational experience that links the form to the function."

To find a place where you feel safe and welcomed, and a very strong community of researchers and scholars is an opportunity that can’t be there for you all the time—I found that at UNL, and I invite others to try to start their story here.

Ali Jabbar

Jabbar’s first design would lead to many more projects guided by his professor’s advice to reach beyond traditional limits. One of his biggest accomplishments as a student was being selected to display some of his word at the Joslyn Art Museum in Omaha. Jabbar created “The Hidden Chair” for a product design course, made of 100% clear plexiglass that combined his vision of functionality and hidden aesthetic.

“My passion for [human-centered] design led me to engage and manipulate my skills in learning about parametric design, product design and graphic design,” Jabbar said.

Ali Jabbar and mentor

In addition to his academic studies, Jabbar also fell in love with Nebraska’s wide-open landscapes and the different cultures in the Lincoln community. Along with building and furniture design, Jabbar leveraged his graphic design skills through his involvement with the global community at UNL. He redesigned the brand identity for the Omani Student Association by creating a new logo and style for the organization’s business cards and other elements, adding a clearer face to a community he felt inspired by.

“The global community at UNL is very diverse. You can find many different cultures that you can relate to and like and live with,” Jabbar said. "The Omani Student Association [is] a culture that I loved, a people that I loved.”

On top of all of this, Jabbar was also a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success. Through this involvement, Jabbar had a chance to participate in community service events and network with other leaders on campus.

“It's an outstanding opportunity to learn leadership skills and get better in working with teams,” he said.

As Jabbar looks forward to his future, he’s grateful that UNL provided a community that he could relate to and focus on his academic studies. Especially for new students considering coming to Nebraska, Jabbar believes the university is a great place to thrive academically, personally and professionally.

“UNL is providing an opportunity to join a place, a space, a safe community that you can relate to and focus on your academic studies and do accomplishments,” Jabbar said. “That’s what you can get from being here at UNL.”

After receiving his Bachelor of Science in Design in Architectural Studies this May, Jabbar will pursue his master’s degree at UNL in fall 2020. He is eager to continue his academic studies of architecture as he sharpens his skills and potentially considers becoming a professor later on. Regardless, Jabbar is proud of everything he’s accomplished in the last four years.

“Graduating from Nebraska means graduating from one of the most featured universities in the American Midwest. It was one of my dreams that came true.”

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