Second STEM Educator of the Year competition announcedPublished Mar 03, 2015
Texas A&M University at Qatar and Maersk Oil Qatar will continue their partnership for educational outreach in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) by launching the second STEM Educator of the Year award for Qatar’s top high school teacher in math and science.
"The STEM Educator of the Year competition is designed to recognize outstanding teachers for excellence in educating young Qataris in STEM disciplines, which are essential for advancing Qatar’s development of a knowledge-based economy," said Dr. Hamid Parsaei, director of academic outreach and professor of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M at Qatar.
Parsaei, who chairs the selection committee, said the competition builds on last year's contest. Last year's award for Educator of the Year was presented to Faiza Musa, a chemistry teacher at Al Bayan Educational Complex for Girls, with more than 25 years experience.
Sheikh Faisal Al-Thani, deputy managing director at Maersk Oil Qatar, said, “We are delighted to continue this robust partnership with Texas A&M at Qatar, which supports the country’s progress and development toward its vision. Through the STEM Educator of the Year [award], we remain committed to championing and supporting [the] high teaching standards in STEM disciplines and preparing the next generation of young scientists and engineers in Qatar.”
“Ms. Faiza sets a high standard for STEM education in Qatar,” Parsaei said. “As we announce this year’s competition, we look forward to seeing more evidence of Qatar’s innovative approach to education in math and science.”
Musa said, “I have realized that students at that age need to change the traditional ways of learning inside the classroom to more enjoyable ways of learning outside their school. They are more interested in research work via the internet and they enjoy field trips that stimulate the learners’ intellectual, psychological and social aspects [that] develop their potential for lifelong learning and prepare them to become active and responsible citizens.”
Musa's advice to her fellow teachers is “avoid old teaching methods; give your students new inspiring activities to get their attention and help enhance their learning.”
Musa's inspiring efforts to innovate the way she teaches is what set her apart among competitors for last year’s award.
Texas A&M at Qatar and Maersk Oil Qatar have taken an important step in supporting STEM education in Qatar and recognizing the educators according to Musa.
“This initiative will definitely encourage other educators to instruct the students in innovative ways and encourage them to become proficient in planning and investigation. It will also play a crucial role in building Qatar’s knowledge-based economy," Musa said.
In June 2014, as part of her award package, Musa participated in the American Society for Engineering Education K-12 STEM Teachers Workshop in Indianapolis. She says, "We learned how to develop and encourage traits such as creativity, system thinking and innovation in children of all ages.
Musa said the experience was a great opportunity to meet educators from different places and exchange ideas.
As STEM Educator of the Year, Musa received a commendation at the Engineering Leaders Conference in November 2014 in recognition of her innovative teaching techniques.
She praised the professional development opportunities offered to teachers as part of the conference. “The workshop helps advance STEM development in Qatar in many ways by helping people who are directing education in Qatar to understand and explain the objectives of STEM education and why it is important for students to learn science, mathematics, technology and engineering disciplines,” Musa said.
Dr. Mark H. Weichold, dean and CEO of Texas A&M at Qatar, said, “Through this collaboration and others like it, Maersk Oil Qatar and Texas A&M at Qatar are making a real difference in STEM education locally and in engineering the leaders of tomorrow.”
The Educator of the Year award represents direct efforts to support Qatar’s human and social development, which will drive the country’s economic and environmental development through engineers and scientists.
Weichold also thanked Maersk Oil Qatar, the initiative’s exclusive sponsor and industry partner, for its visionary leadership in supporting Qatar’s children, the country's future and achieving the goals put forward in Qatar National Vision 2030.
A selection committee will review nomination packets and choose the winning teacher, who will receive a cash prize of 20,000 Qatari riyals.