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Future Engineers summer STEM camp focuses on robotics and energy sustainability

Published Jul 29, 2019


Texas A&M University at Qatar hosted 35 high school students from around Qatar for the 10-day Future Engineers STEM program designed to foster and encourage students’ passion for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

This year’s Future Engineers program, “RoboChallenge: Engineering Energy Sustainability,” led high school students rising into grades 10, 11 and 12 through a focused engineering project. The theme was selected based on the challenges engineers face in the real world, according to Dr. Mohamed Gharib, who led the program alongside STEM experts Benjamin Cieslinski and Tala Katbeh.

“Future Engineers is intended to let participants learn an introduction to renewable energy, the fundamentals of robotics, 3D CAD design and basic programming,” Gharib said. “The students came in expecting lots of hands-on work — and lots of fun! This program equips students with the necessary STEM tools and inspires them to release their imaginations to develop real advances in robotics engineering.”

Gharib said the students participating in this program learned several different things, from renewable energy sources to robotics to mechanical designs, programming and radio-controlled systems. The students competed in teams to design, build, program and test their robots. In the final stage of the camp, students presented their designs to a panel of robotics experts.

Majid ElKhalifa, one of the participating students, said, “Despite having some experience in the field of robotics, I learned a vast amount of knowledge about the topic, especially regarding motors and the different types of brackets that hold the robot together.”

In addition to technical knowledge and skills, Future Engineers also taught participants the importance of teamwork and the value of collaboration, said Habiba Abdelhafez, who said her team overcame several technical challenges while building the robot by working as a team “and taking into consideration other people’s opinions.”

Occidental Petroleum of Qatar Ltd. (Oxy Qatar) sponsored the Future Engineers program presented by Texas A&M at Qatar. Oxy Qatar has joined Texas A&M at Qatar’s efforts to attract young Qataris to STEM fields, which are critical to the success of the Qatar National Vision 2030.

Andrew H. Kershaw, President and General Manager of Oxy Qatar, said, "The enthusiasm and knowledge of the students is impressive and exciting to see. These young people are incredibly talented. If they are the future of engineering then the future of our industry looks very bright indeed.

"Oxy strives to be a Partner of Choice everywhere we operate by investing time and resources in outreach initiatives and in STEM programs such as these and by increasing awareness of its importance in our local communities," he adds.

Texas A&M at Qatar not only provides the top engineering education in the region but also remains a significant contributor to developing the youth of this country that is essential to the growth of the State of Qatar, said Texas A&M at Qatar dean Dr. César Octavio Malavé.

“Engineering is all around us,” Malavé said. “Engineers have propelled Qatar to where it is today and engineers are needed to continue this growth and development. Each of these students has the potential to be a future engineering leader in Qatar, and I hope they choose to continue expanding their knowledge in this field.”