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Texas A&M at Qatar welcomes record class for fall semester

Published Aug 26, 2020


The start of the fall semester at Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university, saw a record 181 new undergraduate engineering students — including the largest incoming class of 103 Qatari students.

Texas A&M at Qatar dean Dr. César Octavio Malavé said he was pleased to see the university’s ambitious recruiting efforts pay off with such a large incoming class.

“Our work of creating engineering leaders in Qatar continues, even in challenging times,” Malavé said. “But we don’t educate just engineers. We are also teaching classes to students from throughout Education City. An immeasurable amount of work has been invested in preparing for this semester, including implementing new strategies to bring Qatar’s best and brightest students into our classrooms — both virtual and physical. I’m proud of what we have achieved in getting ready for Fall 2020 and eager to see so many new faces in our building soon.”

The total number of students at Texas A&M at Qatar this fall 2020 is 695, including students from Hamad Bin Khalifa University’s computer engineering program and other Education City partner universities, as well as graduate students who are conducting research at Texas A&M at Qatar this fall.

Officials said these numbers are expected to fluctuate slightly in the next few weeks as the registration period closes.

Texas A&M at Qatar welcomed the new Aggies to the university during its three-day virtual Aggie Life 101 orientation ahead of the start of the fall semester.

Students and graduates of Texas A&M University are called “Aggies” and that tradition continues at Texas A&M’s branch campus in Doha. Aggie Life 101 is a series of seminars, workshops and activities designed to teach students about Texas A&M and its unique traditions, as well as what it takes to succeed at a world-renowned engineering institution.

The orientation also showcased the opportunities Texas A&M at Qatar offers to students to help them become engineering leaders — from social clubs and activities to transformative educational experiences, such as undergraduate research. During this time, students registered for classes, attended academic advising sessions, met with faculty, and talked to current student leaders.

Malavé welcomed the students and said though he preferred to greet each student in person, the current global COVID-19 pandemic prevented that greeting this fall.

“I can’t congratulate you in person today,” Malavé said, “but I can tell you that you have chosen one of the most prestigious engineering universities in the world. Your time at Texas A&M will shape you into a future engineering leader in Qatar. You are in control of your own personal and professional growth and development. We are living in a world full of uncertainties but you wouldn’t be here today if you weren’t up to the challenge. Engineers are inventors and innovators so my challenge to you is to make the most of this opportunity you have been given.”

Student Government Association President Motaz Eledrisi echoed this challenge. Eledrisi said, “Your experience at Texas A&M University is like no other. You are lucky to be a part of a world-renowned university close to home. Make sure to take advantage of all the opportunities that the university has to offer — from research, to student life, travel opportunities and quality education.”

During the orientation sessions, students were split into groups led by current students who served as ambassadors of Texas A&M at Qatar and to answer any questions the new students might have about college life. The groups also allowed new students the opportunity to get to know one another as they begin this new experience together.

The orientation leaders introduced the Aggie Core Values and the Aggie Code of Honor, which set apart an Aggie education from other engineering universities. At the end of these sessions, orientation leaders quizzed the new students on their knowledge of Texas A&M’s traditions, including the university’s official greeting (“Howdy!), its mascot (an American collie named Reveille) and its official color (maroon).

Current students also talked to their new classmates about what it means to be a student at Texas A&M at Qatar. Farah Ramadan said, “To be an Aggie means to be a part of something bigger than yourself. You’re part of a community and you need to be prepared to serve it. At Texas A&M, giving back is moving forward. To call yourself an Aggie means to take pride in doing so. The spirit at Texas A&M — main campus and here — is what sets it apart from any other university. What may be Thursday to a regular student is Spirit Thursday to an Aggie. What may be a class ring to some is an Aggie Ring to us. We wear our rings and our maroon with pride because it’s part of what makes us who we are.”

At the end of Aggie Life 101, orientation leaders named five students Aggie Spirit winners for their participation in various sessions. Winners were Tammam Al Sabagh, Ali Al-Shaiba, Mohamad Kibbi, Muhammad Saad and Yomna Sultan.

Texas A&M at Qatar began the semester online but will start holding some in-person classes 1 Sept. in the Texas A&M Engineering Building in Education City.