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Texas A&M at Qatar kicks off fall semester with orientation

Published Aug 18, 2009

More than 120 new students push total enrollment above 350

Texas A&M University at Qatar on 16 Aug. welcomed more than 120 new students during new student orientation. The addition of freshman and transfer students brings the total number of enrolled students to more than 350.

Officials say the count of students will fluctuate over the next few days, but that this fall will see the highest enrollment since Texas A&M at Qatar opened in 2003.

New student orientation, hosted by the Department of Student Affairs, provided students with the opportunity to learn about Aggie life. Students met classmates, faculty and staff, attended academic advising sessions, toured the Texas A&M Engineering Building, and learned about University traditions.

Dr. Mark H. Weichold, dean and CEO of Texas A&M at Qatar, told students that after registering for classes they would see how broad of an education Texas A&M at Qatar can offer.

"You are joining a tradition that dates back to 1876 that produces world-class engineers," Weichold said. "In addition to our engineering programs, we have faculty who specialize in liberal arts, science and kinesiology. When you come to Texas A&M at Qatar, we are going to offer you the total package."

Reagan Thompson, a senior from Texas A&M in College Station, traveled to Doha to teach new students about University traditions, which, he said, are what make Texas A&M truly unique experience.

"Traditions are what set Texas A&M apart," he said. "Texas A&M is a special place.” Nobody has what we have. Traditions are what make Texas A&M the institution it is."

Students agree that traditions are an important part of a Texas A&M education.

"The 12th Man is my favorite tradition," said Akanksha Menon, a freshman mechanical engineering major. "The 12th Man shows the readiness of any Aggie and how dedicated we are."

Dedication is the key to an engineering education at Texas A&M at Qatar and what separates Aggies from everyone else. That applies to classroom work and extracurricular activities.

"You will learn to work hard and be dedicated to the profession,â" Weichold said. "You will do so with the highest level of honesty and integrity. This can-do spirit sets all Aggies apart."

Srikanth Srinivasan, a freshman mechanical engineering major, said he welcomes the challenges of University life by coming with an open mind.

"I really don't have any expectations," he said. "The only thing I can do is expect the unexpected. I am open to everything Texas A&M at Qatar has to offer."

For many news students, orientation is about finding out about what lies ahead.

"At orientation, I was expecting a lot of things, firstly meeting new friends and the faculty members," said Jayati Desai, a freshman chemical engineering major. "I wanted to know all about the courses I'll be taking."

For others, orientation is about having fun and adjusting to university life.

"My favorite part of orientation was the scavenger hunt," said Azhar Khan, a freshman petroleum engineering major. "It helped to familiarize us with the University and building. In fact, it's only my second day of university and Texas A&M at Qatar already feels like home."