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Three Aggies receive Education Excellence Award

Published Mar 13, 2019

Three Aggies from Texas A&M University at Qatar have received the Education Excellence Award from the Qatar Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

Dr. Dhabia Al-Mohannadi, Class of 2012; Shaikha Al-Qahtani, Class of 2018; and Mohammed Almarri, Class of 2022, were recognized by His Highness the Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani in a ceremony 3 March. 

Dr. César Octavio Malavé, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “My sincere congratulations to these students who have received this prestigious honor in Qatar. Dr. Dhabia Al-Mohannadi, Shaikha Al-Qahtani and Mohammed Almarri are perfect examples of what Texas A&M aims to do here in Qatar: to produce engineering leaders of character who are dedicated to the greater good. Each of these honorees are role models to all of our former, current and future students, and embody our core values. We are proud of everything they have achieved so far and all they will achieve in their careers.” 

Al-Mohannadi was recognized for excellence in her Ph.D. studies. She earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Texas A&M at Qatar and a Ph.D. from Texas A&M University, all in chemical engineering. She joined the faculty of the branch campus in fall 2018 as an assistant professor, becoming the first female Qatari graduate of Texas A&M at Qatar to return to the university as a faculty member.

Al-Mohannadi’s research is in multidisciplinary sustainable design. The goal of her work is to reduce the carbon footprint in gas production and processing, and to have more ROI while reducing that carbon footprint. In her work, she looks for ways to still produce natural gas while reducing emissions and incorporating diverse energy sources used to produce natural gas, such as solar power. She said that involving students in her research is one of her goals, as well as eventually designing her own course to create more electives and more options for students to customize their degrees and tailor their course work to their own interests. She also said she hopes to encourage more females to apply and pursue graduate studies.

“I feel honored to receive this award and thankful for all the support from the A&M community,” Al-Mohannadi said. “The award is a great initiative by HH the Emir that encourages and motivates students from all stages across Qatar to pursue academic excellence.”

Al-Qahtani was recognized for excellence during her undergraduate career at Texas A&M. She earned a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering with a minor in math and physics in 2018, graduating as one of Texas A&M at Qatar’s first two Texas A&M University Undergraduate Research Scholars. As part of the program, she and her research partner presented their research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in College Station, submitted a thesis based on their work, and had their research published in Explorations, Texas A&M’s undergraduate research journal.

In summer 2017, Al-Qahtani also completed a prestigious internship at CERN, the European Organization for Nuclear Research. As an undergraduate, she worked with Dr. Othmane Bouhali in Texas A&M at Qatar’s high-performance computing group on a CERN project. Her work involved using Texas A&M at Qatar’s supercomputer, Raad2, to simulate a new detector to be installed in CERN’s Large Hadron Collider’s Compact Muon Solenoid (CMS) project, one of CERN’s largest experiments that in 2012 led to the discovery of the Higgs boson.

Since graduating, Al-Qahtani has worked for Qatargas as an industrial control systems security engineer (ICS security engineer) where she protects the critical infrastructure of Qatar from cyber threats. She said she is determined to return to school to continue her education and earn a Ph.D in energy and cybersecurity.

Al-Qahtani said, “This award reminds us that Qataris achievements remain at the very heart of Qatar’s vision. We are made to strive for excellence and it is what we will continue to do.”

Almarri was recognized for excellence during his high school years. He is a freshman chemical engineering major at Texas A&M at Qatar who said he chose to go into engineering after grade 10. His father is a chemical engineer and Almarri said he wanted to attend Texas A&M because the branch campus teaches students not just to be engineers but also to be responsible humans. While in school, Almarri designed an environmental reactor that can covert CO2 to O2 and sodium peroxide. He said he eventually wants to earn a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and an MBA, and own his own company based on the environmental reactor he designed.

An ambitious creator, Almarri has published two books and a short story, “Lulwa’s Sparkle,” that received second-place honors in a competition sponsored by the ministry of culture. He has interviewed several high-ranking officials in Qatar and other notable officials from Qatar and the GCC, including HH the Emir Sheikh Tamim and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser. He has also written a TV series that will air during Ramadan in 2020. Almarri also dedicated himself to service, starting an organization dedicated to spreading cheer through visits to residents of nursing homes, hospitals and cancer wards. The organization also hosted a camp to help cheer up children who have lost a parent.

Almarri said, “Every student wants to be recognized for their hard work and achievements. This award makes me want to work even harder.”