QF partner Texas A&M in Qatar looks after Qatari teams

STEM expert from Texas A&M University in Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university, mentored middle and high school students at the FIRST Tech Challenge (FTC) world championships recently held in Houston, Texas (USA).

These students were winners of the 2022 FTC Frieght Frenzy Qatar Championship hosted by Texas A&M in Qatar and Qatar National Library with the support of the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and the Ministry of Education and Higher Education.

FTC is a robotics program for students in grades 7 through 12 in which teams design, build, program, and operate advanced robots to play a themed floor game. This is the first time Qatar has been represented at the international level in this competition, which has participants from more than 40 countries.

In 2020, Texas A&M at Qatar signed an agreement with FIRST (For Inspiration and Recognition of Science and Technology) to host an annual competition in Qatar, and Texas A&M at Qatar’s STEM and robotics expert Dr. Mohamed Gharib has been appointed FIRST Program Delivery Partner Qatar.

Training for teachers and students was developed and delivered prior to the competition by Gharib at Texas A&M in Qatar at its STEM hub, a collaborative initiative classroom sponsored by QNRF. The teacher training is designed to prepare new FTC mentors in Qatar to help students develop Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills and practice technical principles while understanding the value of hard work, innovation and… recognize teamwork.

Gharib said, “FIRST’s selection as a Program Delivery Partner reflects the rapid progress and impact of TAMUQ STEM and the outreach team in the STEM education sector in Qatar. After great success in developing the advanced robotics programs in Qatar, founding the STEM Hub Robotics Club and leading Qatar teams in the FIRST Global Challenge over the last few years, establishing the FIRST Tech Challenge in Qatar was in our team’s plan vital to disseminating the science of robotics in Qatar schools.”

The 2022 theme of both the national and international competitions was “Frieght Frenzy”, with teams exploring the future of transportation. From shipping packages in rural and urban areas to delivering disaster relief to high-tech air transportation, teams have reinvented faster, more reliable, inclusive and sustainable transportation innovations that better connect and thrive communities and economies around the world.

Gharib said: “I am also incredibly proud of our students who have done exceptionally well at the World Championships. We had the opportunity to meet many talented students, volunteers and mentors and see some really interesting projects. I am convinced that the experience provided a great learning and knowledge sharing platform for everyone.”

Mohammed Bakri, student at Tariq Bin Ziyad Secondary School and Team Qatar captain, said: “It has been an inspiring journey: from competing and winning here to representing Qatar at the World Championships. Aside from the technical engineering and robotics knowledge we gained from our mentors at Texas A&M in Qatar, we also learned the value of teamwork, time management and innovation while having a lot of fun.”

Majida Timimi, director of STEAM and hands-on application programs at the Michael E. DeBakey School in Qatar, said, “The FTC experience has provided DeBakey students with invaluable experience and knowledge in the fields of robotics, engineering, teamwork, technology and innovation. This challenge would not have been possible without the guidance of Dr. Gharib and his team at Texas A&M’s STEM HUB, whose dedication to student learning is inspiring!”

The organizers and students also expressed their gratitude to QNRF for their support in hosting the national competition and for arranging their participation in the Houston event.

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About Texas A&M University in Qatar

Since 2003, Texas A&M University has offered bachelor’s degrees in chemical, electrical, mechanical and petroleum engineering in Qatar Foundation’s Education City and since fall 2011 master’s degrees in chemical engineering. Texas A&M in Qatar has awarded nearly 1,400 degrees. All four undergraduate programs are accredited by ABET’s Engineering Accreditation Commission, www.abet.org. Educators from around the world are attracted to Texas A&M in Qatar to educate the next generation of engineers in Qatar and conduct more than $277.7 million in research addressing issues important to the State of Qatar are. Visit www.qatar.tamu.edu.

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