Strong skills in math and science are the foundation for the work of engineers solving problems in support of Qatar’s growth: That’s the message to talented young Qataris who are participating in the Young Engineers and Scientists program series being implemented by Texas A&M University at Qatar and Maersk Oil Qatar.
Texas A&M at Qatar developed the Young Engineers and Scientists program in response to academic research that shows that engagement of young students can stimulate their interest in math and science, said Dr. Hamid R. Parsaei, director of academic outreach and professor of mechanical engineering at Texas A&M at Qatar.
“We are cultivating students’ interest in STEM disciplines by helping them understand how those fields relate,” Parsaei said.
“We’ve changed the equation for putting students on educational pathways for math, science and engineering, and we started that process by making learning fun.”
Maersk Oil Qatar is the university’s exclusive sponsor and industry partner for Young Engineers and Scientists, which reflects the company’s strategic investment in human development toward the goals of the Qatar National Vision 2030, Sheikh Faisal bin Fahad Al-Thani, Deputy Managing Director of Maersk Oil Qatar, said.
“As the country’s largest oil producer, Maersk Oil Qatar recognizes the importance of nurturing and developing interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics, which are known as STEM disciplines. 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,” Sheikh Faisal said.
“We are pleased to support this initiative every year to attract and inspire the next generation to follow a technical educational track that can lead to successful and rewarding careers in industries like oil and gas,” Sheikh Faisal added. “And this program’s unique format means that the students gain experience in a broad range of engineering disciplines in a fun and practical way, helping them to develop new knowledge and skills that will inspire a lifetime’s passion for the sciences.”
Dr. Mazen Saghir, associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, and Benjamin Cieslinski, manager of science laboratories, are leading the implementation of Young Engineers and Scientists with the help of lab instructors and staff from the university’s engineering and science programs.
“These Young Engineers and Scientists are excited to see the practical side of their learning,” Cieslinski said. “As we help them understand connections between math, science, engineering and design, the students begin to appreciate their own talents and instincts for solving problems.”
Approximately 150 Qatari students participated in the program in April, and overall the Young Engineers and Scientists program is scheduled to engage more than 400 Qatari students in grades 5 and 6 this spring, said Jowaher Al-Marri, program coordinator for STEM development for Texas A&M at Qatar.
“These young Qataris are the future of our country’s knowledge-based society,” Al-Marri said. “We are encouraged by the high level of enthusiasm schools and students show for these programs, and I am proud to see the impact of our partnership with Maersk Oil in enriching Qatar’s greatest natural resource, its people.”