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Abdel-Wahab, Al-Hamidi recognized for teaching, service

Published Mar 24, 2015

Texas A&M University at Qatar’s Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Wahab and Yasser Al-Hamidi have been honored with the 2015 Texas A&M University Association of Former Students University-level Distinguished Achievement Awards for their contributions to the university and its branch campus.

Abdel-Wahab, professor in the Chemical Engineering Program and holder of Itochu Professorship in Engineering, has been named recipient of the 2015 Association of Former Students University-level Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching. This award “recognizes, encourages and rewards superior classroom teachers … to distinguish those teachers who maintain high expectations of their students and ensure academic rigor in their courses. These teachers recognize their responsibilities in motivating and contributing to the overall development of their students as learners and future professionals.”

“This recognition means a lot to me because throughout my career, teaching has been a very important and electrifying part of my life,” he said. “This award is a testament to the outstanding world-class education that Texas A&M at Qatar provides to its students. This award means a lot in a place where everyone cares so much about students, works so hard for the betterment of their academic lives, and is so intimidatingly good at educating future engineers.

“I am so grateful to my students not only for nominating me for this great honor but also for inspiring me by their aspiration to learn and to develop their skills and their commitment to play a role in transforming Qatar to knowledge-based economy. I deeply admire and respect them, and I have great faith in them. Their feedback is the best source for improving my teaching techniques because I firmly believe that the best way to learn is to teach and that one continues to learn all through one’s life.”

Abdel-Wahab is described as an “inspirational visionary educator,” an “exceptional student mentor, advocate and role model,” and “an exceptional leader.” His exceptional teaching abilities have been clearly demonstrated by the results of student evaluations and faculty observations. As a result, he received the AFS College-level Distinguished Achievement Award for Teaching in 2008 and SLATE Award from the A&M System in 2009, and has twice received the Outstanding Chemical Professor Award from the Student Engineers’ Council at Texas A&M at Qatar.

According to his nominators, his spirited enthusiasm creates a stimulating atmosphere, which makes learning a truly exciting and rewarding experience for his students.

One student said, “I never felt confident in any other class than I felt in Dr. Abdel-Wahab’s class. He has an open-door policy and is always willing to help students. In addition, he not only focused on academic related questions but also conversed casually by asking about career plans and in turn provided great advice. He always stresses continuous learning and makes sure that the work atmosphere is challenging. He always puts an effort for the development of all his students.”

Another said, ““Dr. Ahmed demonstrated an unmatched devotion. His flexible hours made it easier for me to seek his help; he was always considerate to the struggles of his students and made a great effort to ease the transition of students coming from different backgrounds. He constantly inspires confidence and provides support to his students.”

Abdel-Wahab joined the Texas A&M at Qatar as a lecturer in 2003 and served as program coordinator of the Chemical Engineering Program during the 2008 ABET accreditation visit. Because of his effective leadership, the program received full accreditation and he received the Texas A&M University at Qatar Recognition Award for his role in program accreditation. As a result of his significant contributions to the success of the branch campus through teaching, research, and service, he received the prestigious Texas A&M University at Qatar Faculty Excellence Award in 2010 and the first Itochu Professorship in 2013, which was established to honor an outstanding professor at Texas A&M at Qatar.

Abdel-Wahab also involves many undergraduate students in his research. As an indication of the quality of his coaching and support, his students have received several research awards including second place in the Student Poster Award at the 2011 annual AIChE meeting, the Richard E. Ewing Excellence in Research Award in 2008, and the second-place award for the best undergraduate research project from Qatar National Research Fund in 2009. In 2012 his research team was recognized by receipt of the Research Team Excellence Award from Texas A&M at Qatar and the 2012 Sustainable Innovation of the Year Award from Construction Week Qatar. In 2013, he received the Texas A&M at Qatar Faculty Research Excellence Award.

Yasser Al-Hamidi, laboratory manager in the Mechanical Engineering Program, was named a recipient of the 2015 Texas A&M University Association of Former Students Distinguished Achievement Award for Staff. Only two of these awards are given annually. The award recognizes, rewards and encourages staff members who have contributed to the welfare of Texas A&M University through outstanding staff support beyond the expectations of the position. This award is designed to recognize individuals whose normal scope of service has been other than teaching, research, student relations, administration or continuing education/extension/professional development.

“This award is one of my proudest professional accomplishments since I joined Texas A&M University at Qatar in 2007,” Al-Hamidi said. "As a Mechanical Engineering Laboratory Manager, it’s flattering to be the first staff member in Qatar campus to receive such recognition from the Association of Former Students. This award is given to outstanding members of Texas A&M’s faculty and staff for their commitment, performance and positive impact on Aggie students, Texas citizens and the world around them.

“I cannot say how much I’m grateful for the support that I receive from all Texas A&M at Qatar family members, the leadership, and in particular the mechanical engineering faculty and staff. I certainly wouldn’t have been able to receive such prestigious award without the continuous support and collaboration from all.”

As laboratory manager, his responsibilities include teaching several labs in control systems, supervising the work of all technical staff in the mechanical engineering program, and overseeing the safety programs in the teaching and research laboratories. He has also taught several courses for engineers and professionals in Qatar in control and data acquisition systems, and is instrumental in ensuring safe operations in the mechanical engineering labs, spending considerable efforts in promoting a safety culture and training fellow staff members.

He also leads initiatives to promote the university within the community, enrich the students’ educational experience of and support faculty members. One such initiative is in developing the unique capabilities of Texas A&M at Qatar’s 3-D printing facility, for many years the only such facility in Qatar. He has used this facility to support students engineering design courses, as well as supporting the needs of faculty researchers using these 3-D printers. He has also initiated a 3-D printing competition among faculty and staff, promoting the use of 3-D printing in education and industry in Qatar. He recently joined efforts with the U.S. Embassy in Qatar to develop 3-D printing capabilities in the Qatar Science Club.

One nominator said, “This is a highly prestigious award and I cannot think of any other person who is more deserving to receive this award than Yasser. I can attest without any hesitation that he is an exemplary employee whose work demonstrates commitment to the Texas A&M University core values of excellence, leadership, loyalty, respect and selfless service.”

Another said, “Yasser is a model of professionalism and dedication to his work. In fact, I cannot think of a time that I passed by his office when he was not helping students. Yasser has been a role model who leads his colleagues by example.”

Al-Hamidi joined Texas A&M at Qatar in 2007 as a technical laboratory coordinator and is currently working as a laboratory manager in the Mechanical Engineering Program. He is also enrolled as a Ph.D. student at the University of Franche Comte in France, the university from which he received his master’s degree in micro-mechatronics. He specializes in vibration, instrumentation, controls and automation. Before he came to Texas A&M at Qatar, he worked as a lab engineer in the College of Engineering at the University of Sharjah for almost seven years. His previous experience includes appointments as laboratory supervisor/network administrator at Ajman University of Science and Technology; maintenance engineer at AGRINCO; and novel network supervisor in a medical and agricultural services company.

Al-Hamidi recently won the branch campus’s first Big Idea campaign — launched to promote and encourage innovation, creativity and productivity — with a proposal to spread knowledge of 3-D and its likely impact. In 2010, he won the campus’ STAR award in recognition of his distinguished service, team spirit, attitude and responsibility. He is currently a member of the Staff Advisory Council, which he chaired in 2011.