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Texas A&M at Qatar engineering camp teaches students about hovercraft technology

Published Nov 21, 2018

Twenty-six students in grades 7 through 9 from local schools across Qatar participated in Engineering Explorers STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) enrichment program hosted by Texas A&M University at Qatar. These students belonged to Al Shahaniya Preparatory Girls School, Doha Preparatory School for Boys, and the International School of London. 

The week-long event introduces young students to engineering and the science behind it through various science activities, hands-on engineering projects and contests to challenge their skills. Participants also learned about design, teamwork and creativity through interactive activities.

'Engineering Explorers' is a part of STEM series workshops offered by Texas A&M at Qatar and sponsored by Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd. (Oxy Qatar). The workshops designed in a manner to interest bright, young students in pursuing engineering and science career paths to develop the scientific workforce Qatar needs to reach the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.

Andrew H. Kershaw, President & General Manager of Oxy Qatar said, " We are both honored and delighted to support Texas A&M at Qatar’s STEM programs that help prepare students for the challenges and opportunities of the 21st century. Oxy Qatar strives to be a Partner of Choice everywhere we operate by investing time and resources in programs that strengthen local communities.”

Built around the engineering design and fabrication processes, Engineering Explorers teaches students how to solve problems systematically and understand how to implement STEM basics into their future science projects. With a theme of using technology for coastal cleanup, the students designed a battery-powered hovercraft capable of cleaning the coastline offshore and onshore.

The students researched the hovercraft theory and approaches in which components of the hovercraft contributes when operated. They then implemented their designs using 3D printing technology and then pitted their designs against each other to evaluate the speed, payload and reliability in coastal cleanup. 

The workshop ended with the students using the skills learned throughout the week to scale up and build hovercraft that could carry a team member across the room. "The Machine Managers" comprising students from ISL and Doha Preparatory won the "Best Engineering" prize for their design, exceptional teamwork and outstanding construction. 

Dr. César O. Malavé, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, "Qatar will need new engineers that will move the country toward the goals outlined in Qatar National Vision 2030, and Texas A&M at Qatar is committed to helping Qatar meet these goals. Through engaging STEM programs such as Engineering Explorers, we hope to inspire a new generation of engineering leaders who will drive Qatar to its future success."