Posted on April 10, 2019

Eight Texas A&M University at Qatar students have been named Texas A&M University Undergraduate Research Scholars.

Muhammad Zaid Kamil, Safeer Hafeez, Arshad Ali, Aisha Hussain, Sofian Ghazali, Alaa Abdalla, AlReem Al-Dosari and Mohammed Hassan were accepted into the program at Texas A&M’s main campus in College Station, Texas (USA). As part of the program, they presented their research at the Undergraduate Research Symposium in College Station and submitted a thesis based on their work. These students will receive a distinction on their official transcripts and a medallion to wear at graduation. The students selected for the URS program that promotes scholarship and research showcased the range and impact of the undergraduate research in engineering taking place in Qatar.

One student, Al-Dosari, analyzed various properties of rocks from computerized images. Under petroleum engineering assistant professor Dr. Nayef Alyafei, she scanned and obtained images of rocks and then used image-processing software to test and measure a property such as fluid saturation, for example. Al-Dosari said, “It was hard and time consuming, but it’s worth it. I’ve enriched myself and gained a lot of knowledge on different topics—not just my research topic. I learned how to communicate better and how to explain my research based on the type of audience.” She said the biggest takeaway for her was the exposure.

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“As an undergraduate research scholar, the exposure to industry and to people all over the world at conferences who are interested in your research and want to speak to you to know more about it and collaborate with you and get you published is priceless. I would advise all students to seize the opportunity to take on research experiences,” she said.

Ghazali worked with chemical engineering associate professor Dr. Konstantinos Kakosimos to develop a mixed reality desalinization plant to help students understand how it works in a visual way. Ghazali said, “This was an opportunity for me to apply what I learned in classrooms and to make something tangible. I’m helping students learn better. I’m helping them develop cognitive abilities.” Ghazali said on the value of the symposium, “You get to explain to people who are in actual need of these technologies and we got really good feedback. They would say, ‘If I had this in my classroom, it would have been better!’”

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Another scholar, Abdalla, researched engineering education and the diversity of languages in Qatar under the advisement of instructional assistant professor Dr. Amy Hodges. Abdalla said she was curious to discover how students—most of whom do not speak English as a first language—use it in the classroom and then in the workplace. Abdalla said she found that “in time, people forget their languages and only write in English.” She said she decided to study the topic because most research in this area is done in the U.S. from an American point of view. The URS program allowed Abdalla to contribute to the scholarly output and formulate a conclusion on the topic.

“English is a very important skill to have in order to communicate with the rest of the world. However, people like me should not lose their native languages. We end up losing a part of our identity,” Abdalla said.