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STEM summer programs offered by QF partner Texas A&M at Qatar teach students engineering concepts

Published Aug 13, 2023

More than 100 school students from across Qatar participated in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) summer programs organized by Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university.

Texas A&M Qatar’s STEM experts Benjamin Cieslinski, Tala Katbeh and Mustafa Abidi developed and taught the programs, which were designed for school students ranging from grades 6 to 12 to explore the fundamentals of various engineering concepts.

The one-week programs included the 3D CAD Camp: Introduction to 3D Modeling; Qatar Invents: Fundamentals of Engineering Design; REV Robotics Camp: Introduction to Robotics Engineering; and Pinewood Derby Engineering.

In 3D CAD Camp, students in grades 9-12 learned how to design and create products from the ideation phase to production. Students were instructed using a professional CAD software Fusion 360 to learn the basics of 3D modeling. They also learned about additive manufacturing and how 3D printing works.

Qatar Invents teaches students the fundamentals of the engineering design process: empathize, define, ideate, prototype, and test. This annual program challenges students in grades 9-12 to work in teams to engineer with novel solutions to existing real-world problems. This year, the students came up with innovative ideas and inventions to ensure safer conditions for delivery drivers, especially during the hot summer months. Students implemented the engineering design process and developed technological solutions, learned how to build prototypes, and defended them to a panel of experts.

During the REV Robotics Camp, the participating grade 7-12 students were taught about robotics engineering, mechanical and structural design, and programming. The students worked in teams to design, build, program and test their robots using professional grade REV materials and components. At the end of the program, the teams were challenged through a competition with a theme on energy sustainability and power provision.

The STEM summer programs concluded with the Pinewood Derby Engineering program for students in grades 6-8. Students learned about various topics including potential and kinetic energy, friction, air resistance, drag, weight distribution, and statistics. Using the science and physics topics taught, each student engineered their own race car using a block of wood.

At the end of each of these programs, the students had to put what they had learned to use and build their own functional and efficient robots, cars or products from scratch.

The participants said that the STEM programs were a fun and enlightening educational experience.

Malak Abdelhadi, a grade 12 student from Edison International Academy, found Qatar Invents to be an eye-opening experience. She said, “It not only introduced me to fascinating engineering concepts but also provided valuable insights into teamwork and the engineer's mindset. I learned a lot about myself during the program, and every minute was truly worth it. I am sincerely grateful for the opportunity to learn and grow in such a stimulating environment. I would encourage others to not hesitate and apply for Qatar Invents, even if they are feeling worried as growth requires you to take a step out of your comfort zone, and this program can be a great opportunity to do just that.”

Dana Alkuwari, a grade 9 student at The Gulf English School, participated in the Pinewood Derby program. She said, “We got to learn about different topics in math and physics and connect these concepts with creativity and fun to a hands-on project where we built our own cars. There was teamwork involved as we helped each other and shared ideas. I got to meet a lot of new people and the environment was great as we all supported each other especially as we raced our cars. The exhilarating pressure during the race on the last day was so much fun as we saw how the ideas and designs we worked on turned out. Overall, it was a great experience and I will definitely want to come back again to learn more.”

Cieslinski said, "The enthusiasm, excitement, and enthusiastic engagement displayed by our summer program students were truly remarkable. Beyond just gaining fundamental engineering knowledge, we firmly believe these programs played a pivotal role in cultivating their critical thinking and problem-solving abilities, while also fostering a spirit of innovation and creativity. It wasn't solely focused on academics; rather, it aimed to enhance collaboration and teamwork in an enjoyable and fun manner."

Katbeh added, “As engineering educators, cultivating the seeds of innovation through these programs in 3D CAD, robotics, and engineering design is a transformative journey. The summer programs we offer have always been rewarding as these young minds work together and invest their time acquiring practical skills beyond their classrooms that will shape their future.”

Texas A&M at Qatar’s STEM program are developed to challenge Qatar’s students in innovating and designing the solutions to the problems set forth in Qatar’s National Vision 2030 Grand Challenges. To know more or to organize customized sessions, please visit