Upon graduation from Starfleet Academy in 2281, Ensign Sawalha was assigned to USS Tereshkova as a junior engineering officer. During her service on the ship, she was often on landing and boarding parties because of her expertise in pre-Warp era Earth, as well as non-Federation, technologies. (Star Trek: Shadowstar Station: "Rescue the Perishing", "Hegemony", "Center of Attention")
Seven years later, she was nearly assigned as a warp specialist to Operation Blackjack but contracted Vegan choriomeningitis and was sidelined for many months. (Star Trek: Shadowstar: Operation Blackjack)
By 2292, Lieutenant Sawalha was an auxiliary systems officer on the USS Avenger. (Star Trek: Avenger: "Belonging") She was a friendly rival to Lieut. Peter Alderson, Avenger 's alien technologies officer.