Team Qatar, the STEM-vengers, have finished in the 19th place among 175 teams worldwide in the FIRST Global Challenge.
The team is part of Texas A&M University at Qatar’s STEM Hub Robotics Club (SHRC), a joint initiative between the Qatar Foundation (QF) partner university and Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF).
Team Qatar is made up of 25 high school students with an interest in robotics from 14 schools across Qatar: Ahmed Ali, Al Khor International School; Hala Almughanni, Al-Arqam Academy for Girls; Wisam Gadam, Al Bayan Secondary School; Haya Al Kubaisi, Mohamed al-Marri and Mohamed Annan, Qatar Academy Doha; Arham Khalid and Abaan Shanid, DPS Modern Indian School; Almayasa al-Obaidli and Zeyad Sorourl, International School of Choueifat; Abdulla al-Nasr, Abdullah al-Janahi, Abdulla Mahmoud, Alzubair Alhuri and Hamad al-Horr, Qatar Science and Technology Secondary School; Rohit Lal, GEMS American Academy Qatar; Ali Mohamed, Compass International School; Ruby Abdeldayim and Alexander Greene, American School of Doha; Naji Assaf, Michael E DeBakey High School; Daniel Valliyil and David Valliyil, Birla Public School; and Erin Kim, Doha College.
The annual FIRST Global Challenge, an 'Olympics'-style robotics event, is based on the 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering identified by the US National Academy of Engineering. Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2020 competition, 'Connecting Communities', consisted of three months filled with social media and technical challenges, talks by STEM professionals and technical training sessions — all while connecting the FIRST Global Community around the world.
Al-Marri said, “FIRST Global Challenge 2020 was not only an opportunity for students to consolidate their learning, but also a home to a diverse community of members to come together and take on problems of purpose. I’m proud of my contribution to Team Qatar’s performance this year, and I’m most definitely excited about next year’s competition.”
Almughanni said, “FIRST Global was more than just a competition to me. It was a whole learning experience that had a great effect on me. As we were all trying to cope with the changes, it made me gain skills that I wouldn't have learned otherwise, such as working with people I have never met and standing behind a camera to record several speeches.”
Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie, QNRF executive director, added: "I would like to congratulate the team representing Qatar in the FIRST Global Challenge for being ranked in the top 20 among 175 teams from across the world. This achievement is a testimony of the success of our partnership with Texas A&M University at Qatar through the state-of-the-art STEM HUB facility."
The team was mentored by Texas A&M at Qatar’s STEM programme specialist Dr Mohamed Gharib to promote creative applications of engineering and science towards innovative thinking and original design among Qatar’s youth. Dr Gharib had established the SHRC at Texas A&M at Qatar in 2019 in co-operation with QNRF.
Dr Gharib said, “I am so proud of these students who dedicated their time and effort with passion and creativity for the duration of three months. They always have the determination to introduce innovative ideas, and with their talent and teamwork in different areas, they developed impressive solutions for the 25 challenges in the current competition."
Team Qatar has had a strong presence in the FIRST Global competitions since first participating in 2018.