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Texas A&M at Qatar students named research scholars

Published Apr 27, 2020

Fifteen students from Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university, have been named undergraduate research scholars by Texas A&M’s main campus in College Station, Texas (USA).

This year’s Undergraduate Research Scholars are Elizabeth Abraham, chemical engineering senior; Syeda Akhter, mechanical engineering senior; Leen Al Homoud, electrical engineering senior; Fatima Al-Janahi, electrical and computer engineering senior; Fatima Al-Khuzaei, mechanical engineering junior; Dana AlYafei, mechanical engineering senior; Rahul Balamurugan, electrical and computer engineering senior; Maryam Buainain, mechanical engineering senior; Jerahmeel Corbane, petroleum engineering senior; Hadear Hassan, mechanical engineering senior; Hassan Haider, mechanical engineering senior; Muhammad Zahid Kamil, electrical and computer engineering senior; Taha Kubbar, chemical engineering senior; Farah Ramadan, chemical engineering junior; and Anurag Srivastava, mechanical engineering senior.

This is the largest group of students from Texas A&M at Qatar to be named Undergraduate Research Scholars. All projects were funded by the Qatar National Research Fund or by Texas A&M at Qatar. 

Texas A&M at Qatar encourages students to participate in research, which enhances student learning by integrating undergraduates into the branch campus’s existing research activities, said Dean César Octavio Malavé.

“Classroom instruction gives students knowledge,” Malavé said, “but hands-on activities such as research allow students a unique opportunity to apply those concepts to real-world problems and explorations. Our research program is tackling some of Qatar’s Grand Challenges, such as energy and water, and involving students in projects gives them a taste of what it is really like to be an engineer and problem-solver.”

Abraham said, “Research is intriguing to me because it makes a difference. The work that we do has the potential to help people across the world solve some of the most pressing problems. This is why I research, because it gives me the opportunity to give back to the society that has helped me grow.”

Undergraduate research is often a deciding factor in deciding to pursue graduate studies, as is the case with Corbane, who said, “I started doing research in my junior year because I wanted to be part of a research project on a subject that I wanted to explore further — geology and geophysics. My research experience inspired me to go into a master’s degree in the same subject.”

The scholars will submit a thesis on their work after having traveled to Texas in February to attend the Third Annual LAUNCH Undergraduate Research Symposium. LAUNCH and other research conferences and events give students a chance to present their research on a wide variety of research topics and receive feedback on their presentations.

Haider — who partnered with Buainain — said that showcasing their research during the symposium gave him an opportunity to practice on his presentation and communication skills. “I was excited to showcase what I accomplished,” Haider said. “It was motivating to see students, just like me, from different disciplines making an impact at an undergraduate level. I received positive comments on not just the research topic but also my presentation skills, so it definitely was a learning experience.”

Akhter, Hadear Hassan and Srivistava presented their project investigating drilling fluids with the goal of benefiting drilling engineers in Qatar. Akhter said, “It was a wonderful opportunity to present with people from different majors. We were able to present our research in a way that even people who were not engineers understood our research and offered advice on how it can be improved.” 

Kubbar, Ramadan and Abraham presented their project, the design of an industrial processing park able to convert commonly found raw materials such as air, water, carbon dioxide, ammonia and natural gas into value-added products. The project was advised by chemical engineering faculty Dr. Patrick Linke and Dr. Dhabia Al-Mohannadi. Kubbar said, “The symposium was a wonderful opportunity for us to share our research to a diverse audience. We had excellent feedback and felt that many people were excited to see the results and findings of our research.” 

Balamurugan and Al-Janahi partnered on a project with electrical engineering associate professor Dr. Robert S. Balog on automating a testbed to generate dc (direct current) arcs to study photovoltaic (PV) arc faults. The aim of the project is to develop a system that allows researchers and manufacturers to study the electrical properties of PV system arcs and test their detection algorithms inside the lab without having to wait for an actual failure in a deployed solar array. 

Balamurugan said he got involved with the project because of “Dr. Balog’s infectious enthusiasm for all things PV. I think we did relatively well in our presentation, as the judging panel mentioned we were able to catch the interest of the audience by saying exactly why our topic is important, and spreading some awareness about the dangers of shoddy solar installations.” 


Elizabeth Abraham ’20, Taha Kubbar ’20 and Farah Ramadan ’21, CHEN

Toward the design of carbon neutral industrial parks

Dr. Dhabia Al-Mohannadi and Dr. Patrick Linke, CHEN


Syeda Akhter ’20, Anurag Srivistava ’20 and Hadear Hassan ’20, MEEN

Effects of salinity on solid particle settling velocity in non-Newtonian Herschel-Bulkley fluids

Advisors: Dr. Ibrahim Hassan and Dr. Aziz Rahman

Funding: QNRF UREP23-131-2-044


Leen Al Homoud ’20, ECEN

Fatima Al-Khuzaei ’21 and Dana AlYafei ’20, MEEN

Recognition of the upper limb’s motion intention using electroencephalogram and machine learning techniques

Advisor: Dr. Reza Tafreshi


Fatima Al-Janahi ’20 and Rahul Balamurugan ’20, ECEN

Characterizing Photovoltaic System Arc Faults

Advisor: Dr. Robert S. Balog

Funding: QNRF UREP24-023-2-010


Jerahmeel Corbane ’20, PETE

Understanding the concept of petrophysical properties using image processing and 3D printing

Advisor: Dr. Nayef Alyafei

Funding: Texas A&M at Qatar Transformative Educational Experience Program


Hassan Haider ’20 and Maryam Buainain ’20, MEEN

Determination of electrostatic charge density and adhesion force of particles on a glass surface using an electrostatic detachment method

Advisor: Dr. Bing Guo

Funding: Texas A&M at Qatar and QNRF UREP23-048-2-023


Muhammed Zahid Kamil ’20, ECEN

Implementing transfer learning for mitotic cell detection

Advisor: Dr. Jim Ji

Funding: QNRF UREP24-203-2-062