Posted on September 27, 2017

Highlighting its academic research activities and projects, Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) hosted its annual Student Research Week to encourage students to explore research opportunities.

The week featured presentations of student research projects—completed and in progress as well as faculty discussions of their work across a variety of disciplines. NU-Q’s faculty works with their students on research projects in science and technology, media and news consumption, health communication, digital literacy, museum studies, and more. “Research is a core element of an NU-Q student’s academic experience,” said Everette E. Dennis, dean and CEO. “Our home campus in Evanston is one of the leading research universities in the world, and NU-Q is committed to continuing that tradition through scholarly studies that address important issues in the region.” Student Research Week at NU-Q includes a community meeting, hosted by student researchers who discuss their experiences working on different research projects.

Sarah Al-Ansari works with Professor Anto Mohsin on a research project funded by the Qatar National Research Fund through the Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP), which is exploring the engagement and understanding of science in Qatar. “Research opened new doors of opportunity for me to develop personally and professionally,” said Al-Ansari. “I was able to learn and hone new academic skills and will soon have the chance to present my work at international conferences, where I can network and discuss my project with leaders in the science research field.”

Sarhan Khan, along with two of his classmates, Basmah Azmi and Saif Al-Solaiti, works with NU-Q Professor Hasan Mahmud on a project also funded by UREP, which is investigating Qatar’s foreign aid policy and its donation patterns to countries in need.  “Getting into research meant really branching out of my comfort zone and exploring an entirely new territory,” said Khan. “For example, I was doing field reporting, investigating, and gathering data, which is something I hadn’t previously experienced but really found I had a passion for doing.”

Students at NU-Q also receive grants for independent research projects from Northwestern’s Office of Undergraduate Research. Zaki Hussain, Neha Rashid, and Ammar Younas received a Summer Undergraduate Research Grant from Northwestern to investigate bonded labor in Pakistan. As a result of the research, they created a short documentary and a feature article on the topic. “The grant we received allowed us to take full control of our project from start to finish,” said Rashid. “We were able to choose the media we wanted to use to get the story out, the news angle of our piece, and what sources we wanted to use. At the same time, we had research advisors to guide and support us at any time.”

Huda Barakat, discussed the opportunities she received through a grant from Northwestern – the Undergraduate Language Grant, which she used to enroll in an Italian language course in Rome. “Language research is very exciting and enriching in many ways. Not only do you learn a new language, but you also get to immerse yourself in an entirely new culture and meet people from all walks of life,” said Barakat. “It also doesn’t end when your six weeks abroad are over – I’m still working on my Italian and plan to turn my experience into a research project very soon.”

Throughout Research Week, NU-Q students meet with staff from the research office to learn more about grants and projects they can apply for. Professors take time throughout the week to discuss their research with students and to present opportunities for students to contribute.