Posted on October 10, 2018

Eight Texas A&M University at Qatar students recently completed internships with the Supreme Committee for Delivery & Legacy (SC) where they gained valuable real-world workplace experience and did their parts to bring the 2022 FIFA World Cup™ to fruition.

Aggies Syeda Akhter, Jowaher Al-Shiba, Yazan Barghouti, Abouelkassim Becetti, Rami El-Turk, Osamah Hindi, Nur-Hamza Peljto and Nadeem Wahbeh were granted exclusive access to the SC, which is responsible for delivering the infrastructure required for the 2022 FIFA World Cup™, and learned about how the tournament will benefit Qatar, the region and the world. It’s more important than ever for university students to be prepared upon graduation to meet the expectations of potential employers. Internships give students a taste of life in real-world industry, hands-on experience in engineering-related fields, and skills such as networking and communications that will serve them well in the workplace.

Akhter, a Class of 2020 mechanical engineering major, described her experience as practice for working after graduation. During her time with the SC, Akhter worked in AECOM under the wet utilities and dry utilities department. In addition to developing and exercising her technical skills, Akhter learned about how a project is managed in terms of finance and risk, and practiced other skills necessary for success in the workplace, such as teamwork and communication. “I developed my professional social skills by interacting with different people around the office,” she said, “and I received a lot of useful advice regarding future plans. Some of the projects were very big and important, and I was shocked when I was allowed to work on them. I definitely improved my confidence from the quiet person at the start who was intimidated by all the experienced people around me. I am very confident I will use the knowledge I gained from this experience in the future.”

Becetti, a senior electrical engineering student, was stationed at Lusail Stadium where he worked with a project management team and a construction company, going on site visits with senior electrical engineers and electrical inspectors to learn how electrical systems are installed during construction. Becetti said he was eager to do an internship and to apply the knowledge he’d gained in the classroom in a real-world application. “I wanted to know what it’s like to be in industry,” he said. “As an electrical engineer, my goal was to understand how the stadium would be powered by electricity and how it would connect to the electrical grid, and I was fortunate to achieve that. Now I have insight into what the industry looks like and I know what I need to do to succeed in industry.”

Barghouti worked in the SC’s Technical Delivery Office on HVAC systems at the stadiums. As a mechanical engineering major, he is currently taking an HVAC course, so he has been able to relate what he learned on the job in his class, the opposite of what most students experience. Part of his time was spent reviewing a technical document at least three inches thick for the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium, but he also visited Lusail Stadium and Al Rayyan Stadium, which he said was his favorite part of his experience.

Barghouti said, “In four years, the entire world will be looking at these stadiums. I’ve lived here all my life and it’s exciting to share this with the rest of the world.” Mechanical engineering major Peljto interned for the Technical Delivery Office working at the Ras Abu Aboud Stadium. His mentor was an MEP (mechanical-electrical-plumbing) engineer working on HVAC systems in the stadium and part of his work was using a software program that shows how heat will move throughout the stadium over the course of a full day.

Another mechanical engineering student, Rami El-Turk, worked for the Program Management Office. He said that even though everyone at the SC knows how big this undertaking is and how critical its success is to Qatar’s future, the day-to-day work was very strict and focused. “My mentor gave me accountability and responsibility to make the most out of my internship,” El-Turk said, “and that’s what I tried to do. It’s such a busy company with so much expertise within it, and it was such a blessing to be given time to learn there.”

Jowaher Al-Shiba, a Class of 2020 chemical engineering major, also spent her internship working with the Program Management Office, which oversees projects in other departments, keeping an eye on what’s going on to make sure everything is going according to plan. While there, she learned how to use a new software application, Program Management System, compiling information from other projects and configuring it in the system. Another area she worked in was risk management. On one project, she studied PMO’s risk dashboard and gave a final report on her findings, including recommendations.

“I was contributing to the actual projects leading to 2022,” Al-Shiba said with pride. “I really enjoyed working for the Supreme Committee and obtaining a better understanding of how large institutions operate. I didn’t know what to expect when I began my internship, and I was surprised by how much there was to learn and how much room there was for contribution from students from the different universities that were interning with me. I thought, ‘It’s just football in the end, it’ll be like all the other tournaments but on a bigger scale,’ but after learning about all the aspects involved in organizing the major event and the legacy that it will leave behind, I am proud to have contributed to what is sure to be a major event to Qatar.” 

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