More than 50 students in grades 7 through 10 from local schools across Qatar participated in the after-school Engineering Explorers Stem enrichment programme hosted by Texas A&M University at Qatar (Tamuq).
The participants in this year’s Engineering Explorers: Qatar Gliders were selected in a competitive process from 134 applications. The large number of applications prompted Texas A&M at Qatar to offer a second week of after-school programming to allow for more students to participate.
The five-day programme taught students about the foundations of aeronautical engineering. Participants learned the fundamentals of airplane design, aerodynamics, airfoils, lift and drag, and used mathematics to calculate and design the wing size to build. With an introduction to 3D design and 3D printing, the students worked in teams to build large-scale gliders capable of covering more than 30m.
At the end of the workshop, students tested their aircraft prototypes and gave a presentation to judges to defend their developed aircraft designs.
The programme was developed and taught by Dr Mohamed Gharib, who is an aerospace engineer, with assistance from Stem experts Benjamin Cieslinski and Tala Katbeh.
“Teaching these profession-based engineering workshops to students at this early stage will significantly help them to plan for their future studies and careers,” Gharib said. “The excitement and hard work seen from the students proved that young students are capable of tackling advanced engineering disciplines in their early years.”
Participant Dhruv Margabandhu said he learned about the programme from his school. “The programme was great fun and enabled me to have a much broader sense of the engineering world,” he said. “The Stem team took their time on key points, which helped me during the project, and I am sure will help me in my future endeavours. I would highly recommend this programme as I feel it opens up one’s mind about the modern world. I made several new friends from whom I learned a large number of values I would not have been able to learn elsewhere.”
Student Sana al-Hamidi said she enjoyed seeing how her team’s plane came together at the end of the programme after learning the theory first. “Engineering Explorers gave me an introduction about aeronautical engineering as a possible career path I could study in the future. I have always wanted to study engineering and this course provided me with information about engineering in general. I encourage students to definitely try and join it, especially if you want to become an engineer.”
Another participant, Lulwa al-Sulaiti, noted: “I am so glad I got to be part of this year’s Engineering Explorers programme. We started by learning about the theoretical concepts on aerodynamics and the principles of flight before working on hands-on projects. To make sure we can build our final glider, we started with the basics and the challenges gradually got harder and harder. I love hands-on work and this experience gave me that and I also learned about engineering in general and things that I didn’t know before.”
“Engineering Explorers is just one of a series of Stem (science, technology, engineering and math) workshops offered by Texas A&M at Qatar designed to interest bright, young students in pursuing engineering and science career paths to develop the scientific workforce Qatar needs to reach the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030,” said Dr Cesar Octavio Malave, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar.
“Engineers have been key in driving Qatar to where it is today,” Dr Malave said, “and engineers will be even more critical in helping the country meet the goals outlined in Qatar National Vision 2030. Texas A&M at Qatar is committed to helping Qatar meet these goals. Through engaging Stem programmes such as Engineering Explorers, we hope to inspire a new generation of engineering leaders who will lead Qatar to its future success.”
Texas A&M at Qatar said it plans to continue to offer more of these after-school programmes to introduce science and engineering to students. Visit http://stem.qa for more information.
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