Posted on December 06, 2017

Texas A&M University at Qatar electrical and computer engineering student Safin Bayes won Ignite Doha 2017 with an insightful and informative presentation on the Big Bang theory ­recently at the Texas A&M Engineering Building in Education City.

Ignite Doha, like a TED talk, asks students to introduce a topic of their choice to a general audience in an engaging manner. The format challenged students to give fast and fun five-minute presentations, while also testing their ability to be clear and concise. Ignite Doha is a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts and math) initiative of Texas A&M at Qatar that develops communication, organization, visual literacy and presentation skills.

Writing Across the Curriculum coordinator and instructional assistant professor in the Liberal Arts Program Dr. Amy Hodges said, “As we know from the companies who employ our graduates, 21st century engineers have to be adaptable and creative communicators in order to succeed in the workplace. An engineer can have an innovative idea, but if he or she can’t communicate it to others, nothing happens.” Seven students competed in the finals. Abdullah Yousef placed second and Sofian Ghazali came third. The other finalists included Qishu Zhang, Alaa Abdulla, and Shaheen al-Kuwari and Jassim al-Matwi who presented jointly.

Texas AM at Qatar’s Safin Bayes 2 [].jpg

The presenters all performed exceptionally in front of a crowd packed with fellow students, staff, faculty and judges. Presentations ranged from reflections on black holes, inspiration to do what you love and to do it with others, the power of music, and why Americans call football soccer. After his presentation on how the cold temperature in classrooms affects student performance, Abdullah Yousef said, “Ignite showed me that preparation translates into confidence. I was able to deliver a good presentation because of the hard work I had done before the presentation. It helped me understand my nervousness and how I can overcome it.” Sofian Ghazali said, “Ignite your speaking and thinking skills to explain a complex topic to people of all ages in 5 minutes. Not as easy as it sounds, but worth it!”

The judges were last year’s winner and electrical and computer engineering senior Abdulaziz Saad al-Qahtani, career services coordinator Sarah Aboulhosn, mechanical engineering professor Dr. Eyad Masad, head of outreach at Qatar Foundation Research and Development Abtesam Yousuf, distinguished career professor of business communication at Carnegie Mellon University at Qatar Patrick McGinnis, petroleum engineering former student Maryam Al-Bishri ‘11 and Oxy Qatar director of EOR and Development John Bolling.

Ignite Doha aims to develop Aggie Engineers’ communication skills, which are becoming increasingly important for both their academic and professional careers. Alaa Abdulla said, “I decided to participate in Ignite not to just to improve my presentation skills, but because the format is unique it takes one's public speaking skills to a whole new level.” Hodges concluded, “Ignite offers an opportunity to build our students’ speaking skills and to spread creative and technical ideas across our campus.”