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Texas A&M at Qatar mentored high-school team wins awards at FIRST Global Challenge 2023

Published Nov 06, 2023

Team Qatar, a team of high school students from across Qatar that was mentored by Texas A&M at Qatar STEM experts, won several awards at the First Global Challenge 2023 held in Singapore.

The team received the International Enthusiasm silver medal and the Social Media Challenge Award.

The university’s STEM experts Benjamin Cieslinski, Tala Katbeh and Mustafa Abidi trained the group of 18 students from nine different schools over the course of three months at Texas A&M at Qatar’s STEM Hub Robotics Club (SHRC).

The FIRST Global Challenge is an Olympics-style, international robotics competition that takes place in a different country each year, and this year featured 14 different engineering challenges. Since its first participation in 2018, Team Qatar has consistently demonstrated a robust presence in the FIRST Global competitions.

This year’s Hydrogen Horizons theme focused on the importance of innovating clean and sustainable energy solutions around the world. The team was involved in months of planning, building and programming a robot, and completing various social media and technical challenges — all while connecting with the FIRST Global community worldwide.

The students representing Qatar on the global stage achieved remarkable success and garnered awards, showcasing their commitment to excellence and service.

The International Enthusiasm award is granted to teams that exemplify exceptional support for each other and other participating teams throughout the Challenge. Team Qatar went above and beyond, assisting in the construction and programming of robots for more than 10 other nations. The team's eligibility for this award was underscored by their exemplary documentation work in the Engineering Notebook and their impressive interview skills with the Judges. The award is one of the highest honors bestowed by FIRST, emphasizing Team Qatar's dedication to assisting others and embodying the selfless service core value of Texas A&M.

The Social Media Challenge Award is presented to teams that successfully completed a series of social media challenges set by FIRST Global Challenge throughout the season. These challenges included engaging with political leaders, conducting sustainability research, and participating in community service. Team Qatar's triumph in this category highlights their versatility, adaptability and commitment to making a positive impact beyond the competition arena.

“I am immensely proud of the team's dedication, hard work, and innovative spirit,” Katbeh said. “It is not just about building robots; it is about nurturing a passion for innovation, teamwork, engineering, and the relentless pursuit of excellence. Witnessing the collective effort of these future leaders in achieving success is not only fulfilling as a mentor but also a testament to the incredible potential within each team member. Together, we celebrate the triumphs and continue to push the boundaries of what we can achieve, both in robotics and as a united, forward-thinking team."