Posted on September 24, 2014

Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D) has successfully completed a US summer camp for Qatari high school students keen on pursuing a career in science. The ‘High School Science Camp’, a three-week, fully sponsored programme held at the University of California Irvine (UCI), was designed for Grade 10 and 11 local students, and introduced them to careers in science, in addition to providing them with hands-on experience in research labs.

More than 20 Qatari high school students interested in studying in the United States participated in the programme. It was part of QF R&D’s Office of Education Training and Development (OETD) new educational initiative to promote science-led careers. As one of the main pillars of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development, QF R&D has been active in promoting QF’s vision of cultivating life-long learning and interest in many areas including science and research in Qatar.

The students spent the first week of training in Doha, where they gained strong exposure to the American academic research experience. During this period, they learned about the processes involved in applying to American universities and gained experience about the entrance requirement exams such as the SAT (Scholastic Aptitude Test) and TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language). The students also had the invaluable opportunity to discuss both the differences and similarities in Qatari and American culture.

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The students then spent the following two weeks at UCI where they were able to hone their specific interests in science and engineering. The immersion period included daily seminars focused on topics ranging from fuel cell research, global climate change, DNA extraction and ocean engineering. Practical tasks saw students perform DNA extractions, and develop ocean and plotting data to monitor the change in carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere over a specified period of time.

In addition to their academic experiences, students engaged in several cultural activities and toured the Southern California region, visiting Disneyland and learning how to sail a boat in the Pacific Ocean. “It was a rewarding experience, both culturally and academically,” said Salman Khalid Alhail, one of the programme’s student participants.

Hailed as a success, the programme comprehensively integrated the educational and social aspects of university life. “Our students have found the programme to help ease their anxieties about university life and the academic experience in the United States,” said Dr Wyatt Hume, Executive Director of Education Training and Development of Qatar Foundation Research and Development.