Posted on October 06, 2015

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

More than 20 Qatari high school students interested in studying in the United States participated in the programme. The camp forms 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), QF R&D has been active in promoting QF’s vision of cultivating life-long learning and interests in many areas including science and research in Qatar.

The students spent the first week of training in Doha where they were able to familiarise themselves with the American academic research experience. During this period, the students learned about the processes involved in applying to American universities and 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 opportunity to discuss the differences and similarities between Qatari and American culture.

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The students spent the last two weeks of the camp at UCI where they were able to hone their specific interests in science and engineering. It included daily seminars focused on topics ranging from fuel cell research, global climate change, neuroscience, robotics, social sciences and ocean engineering. They also had a chance to visit different laboratories, including Reeve Nerve Regeneration Lab, Reinkensmeyer Robotics Lab, as well as a special visit to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Practical tasks saw the students perform social experiments, and develop ocean and plotting data to monitor the changes in carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere over a specified period of time. In addition to their academic experiences, the students engaged in several cultural activities, including a tour of the Southern California region and a visit to the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles.

Hailed as a success, the programme comprehensively integrated the educational and social aspects of university life. “We promote a culture of research in all disciplines for students from a young age, and the students who participated in the science camp have expanded their awareness of research and calibration”, said Dr Dirar Khoury , Executive Director of Research Coordination & Special Projects of Qatar Foundation Research and Development, and Acting Executive Director, Education Training and Development at QF.