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QF partner Texas A&M Qatar mentors winning teams at 2022 International SeaPerch Challenge

Published Jul 20, 2022

Students from Qatar won numerous awards at the 2022 International SeaPerch Challenge under the mentorship of STEM experts at Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university.

Team Oryx—which included students from QF’s Qatar Academy for Science and Technology—received the real-world innovation award and Team Falcons—which included students from Michael E. DeBakey High School for Health Professions—won second place for the best team video. This is the first time that Qatar was being represented at the global competitions held in Maryland (USA).

The SeaPerch Challenge is part of an international STEM program that focuses on the science and technologies behind ROVs (Remotely Operated Vehicles), which are used in several industries and real-life applications, such as search and rescue, inspecting underwater pipelines or exploring shipwrecks.

The students qualified for the international round after winning the Qatar round in a competition organized by Texas A&M at Qatar’s STEM team. The Seaperch Challenge was established in Qatar in 2021 by Texas A&M at Qatar’s Dr. Mohammed Gharib who is a member of the SeaPerch Regional Advisory Committee. Gharib developed the first ROV course for middle and high school students to expand knowledge within Qatar’s youth and drive them to choose pathways to careers in STEM. He also mentored the students for the competition. The workshop equips students and teachers with new skills that will enable them to tackle technical and design challenges while learning about ROVs.

Gharib said, “ROV technology became very essential in many global offshore-based industries. We are proud to teach the engineering and technology behind this topic to the young students. This will open the road form them for more deep learning during their college study, and hence be ready for the job market after graduation.”

Hamza Alhalabi, a grade 11 student at Michael E. DeBakey School at Qatar, said, “As a diving enthusiast, I was very excited about this opportunity. I have seen the waste products on the seafloor, and it is a real challenge that we need to find solutions to. The innovation showcased at the competition was inspiring. I am grateful to Texas A&M University at Qatar for this opportunity; it was a fun way to learn about engineering design process and robotics concepts, and how it applies to real-world concerns.

Abdulla AlDabbagh, Huxley Lewis, Bayan Khraisheh, Jenna Darweesh, and Sirine Hammoudeh were part of Team Oryx, and Team Falcon included Hamza Alhalabi, Mohammed Elosta, Mohamed Abdulla, and Maryam Al-Mansouri, and Maya Zarka.

Dr. Gregory Moncada, QAST director, said, “The SeaPerch program introduces students to numerous skills and challenges using underwater remotely operated vehicles.  Whether it is soldering circuits or competing with others to perform underwater robotic tasks, this program develops each student’s ability to design and engineer a unique craft, improve their teamwork and communication skills.  Representing Qatar at an international level was a proud moment for our students.”

The International SeaPerch Challenge is one of the several global competitions that STEM experts at Texas A&M Qatar mentored students for over the past few years.