More than 75 high-school students spent part of their summer break exploring the world of media, news, and filmmaking at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q).
The annual summer programme, which is designed to give 15- to 18-year-olds a chance to sample life as a Northwestern student, saw the highest turnout of participants to date with 17 nationalities represented, including a record number of international students who flew in to take part, NU-Q said in a statement.
The programmes were led by NU-Q Journalism professor Miriam Berg and Communication professor Rana Kazkaz.
Throughout the two-week programme, participants took courses on news creation, journalistic photography, news production, storytelling and filmmaking.
They also were able to put the theories they learned in class to test by creating and presenting their own news reports, documentaries and short films.
“This programme, which is media-centric, encourages them to explore new areas of learning in a setting that is similar to what they will experience as undergraduates in college.
It is also an opportunity to discover new passions and opportunities,” said Everette E Dennis, dean and CEO, NU-Q.
The students also bring a new level of enthusiasm to NU-Q.
“The students were extremely engaged in the programme and the overall experience we have tried to create,” said Prof Berg. “They have thoroughly embraced all of the many components we have introduced them to, from photography and video production, through to seeing their stories come to life during the editing process.”
NU-Q’s high-tech facilities, including the fully-automated newsroom, editing labs and production studios, were also available for the students to explore and use.
On the last day of the programme, the students presented their final projects to the NU-Q community and their friends and family.
One of the participants, Jessica Peggy Riekert, who flew in from Zambia for the programme, said: “It’s been a great learning opportunity, especially since our professors are very hands-on and give us good advice from their personal experience. I also enjoy interacting with the students from such diverse backgrounds.”
Another student, Fai al-Nuaimi, an aspiring Qatari journalist, said: “Northwestern is my dream university, especially since I’ve always wanted to be a journalist. I figured that this programme would give me insight on what to expect as a potential student at NU-Q. Media is an important part of everyone’s life, and it’s how we’re all connected nowadays. It’s particularly relevant to us (Qataris) after the blockade that hit us one year ago, and it is important for us to think critically about the news and to stay up-to-date with it.”
International students like Amna Naseer, an Indian who resides in Saudi Arabia, had to overcome several obstacles for a chance to pursue her passion in media and journalism.
After waiting two years to attend the programme, she said: “Northwestern is like a dream come true – I definitely feel like it was worth the wait. My favourite part of the programme is that you get to experiment a variety of different things, from presenting in the newsroom to editing our own films.”