Faculty Spotlight - University of Houston
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Dr. Sahar Hamzah in media production studio.

Dr. Sahar Hamzah

Born and raised in Bahrain, Dr. Sahar Hamzah’s desire for a strong education took her across the globe. She obtained her bachelor’s degree in Georgia, her master’s in California and proceeded to complete her Ph.D. in Scotland. Dr. Hamzah has robust experience in the film production. Today, she is an assistant professor at the Valenti School of Communication, specializing in cinema studies and film adaptation.

Check out the quick-fire conversation public relations student Lorena Lara had with Dr. Hamzah about her life and career.

You received your Ph.D. in media and communication from Scotland, what made you travel across the world and become a professor at the University of Houston?

Well, Texas itself. I have some family ties that made me want to come to Houston, and University of Houston is a Tier One research institution. Given the quality of education and diversity here, I really wanted to be a part of this community. Also, there’s a bit of sentiment in just that my parents are University of Houston alumni. They met here.

Did you always want to go into the communication field?

Yes, absolutely, in terms of film production. From a very young age, I was interested in movies in general.

What other positions have you held besides being a professor?

Everything that you could think of in the production environment: from a production assistant, I worked up to being an editor.

What has been your favorite part of being a professor at the Valenti School, so far?

The community and the diversity here, and  getting to know the student body.

You presented your work to business leaders at the Bahrain Embassy in London, can you tell us more about that?

The Bahrain Embassy in London hosted an event where they selected three up-and-coming artists in their respective fields to present a piece of their work. There was someone in media, someone in music and someone in fine arts.I was the media artist.  I screened my documentary that I had just completed, which was about a British cargo ship that exploded off the coast of Bahrain in the late 1950’s.

What is one piece of information you wish you knew when you were a student?

I don’t know if it’s so much what I wish I knew, but definitely what I would tell myself to do would be to hold on to every piece of information that I worked on or every note that I created for my courses. I think that it is always nice to be able to go back to things that you have learned. I would also tell myself, “always create, always be working on something, and  always be developing your art.”

What classes do you teach?

I teach Fundamentals of Media Production and Advanced Non-Linear Editing.

Do you have any advice for your students?

What I would have told myself: to always work hard and always be developing your own style and your own work, regardless of your courses and what is assigned to you. Always challenge yourself to learn new things and create new pieces of work.