Posted on January 21, 2020

About 20 students in grades 9-12 from high schools across Qatar brought their ideas to life through the weeklong Qatar Invents STEM enrichment program designed to encourage innovative solutions to real-world challenges in Qatar.

Organized and hosted by Texas A&M University at Qatar STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) experts, Qatar Invents let participants experience the fundamentals of the engineering design process by tackling a real-world problem over the course of one week. The intensive engineering invention and design experience engaged students in hands-on projects that pushed their innovation, creativity and communication skills. Students developed their own novel solutions to engineering challenges in agriculture, and then they built prototypes to demonstrate their inventions. The week concluded with the students presenting their inventions to a set of judges.

This year’s project theme was selected from Qatar’s grand challenges — food and water security. The program used engineering to improve agriculture in Qatar by asking students to design and build a hydroponics system to reuse water, thereby reducing the amount of water consumption in agriculture. Students were challenged to create solutions that were cost effective, easy to install and use, and must minimize both the amount of water used by reusing waste water as well as the amount of external power required.

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Student inventor Arya Kanade joined the program after a friend recommended it to her. “A friend told me that she had attended the program and had one of the best weeks of her life. I was skeptical but I can say that Qatar Invents gave me the experience of a lifetime. I made new friends and I learned a lot about the engineering world. My experience was incredible, and I learned complex concepts in a fun way. Initially, I didn’t know if I should pursue engineering as a career or not. But thanks to Qatar invents, I know what engineering is and I definitely want to pursue it.”

Fellow attendee Rohit Lal agreed. “My time in Qatar Invents has been an unforgettable experience. I walked into that room without any knowledge of engineering and walked out with so much more than just facts and notes: I walked out of that room with real experience and amazing people who I would never have met without this workshop. I left with a feeling of pride and excitement to learn more. Even though we weren't building for all five days, every second in that room was amazing. I loved this workshop and I would do this workshop again.”

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Qatar Invents was designed to motivate students in science and engineering while teaching skills essential to becoming leaders in engineering and innovation, said Dr. César Octavio Malavé, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar. “Teaching young future engineers about science and engineering through practical and interactive programs such as Qatar Invents help young students understand the importance of engineering in Qatar,” Malavé said. “Engineers are solving the problems each of us face every day in our lives. Each of these students who have participated in this program have the potential to be the engineers and inventors are that Qatar will need to meet the goals of its ambitious National Vision, and I hope they embrace this challenge to become future engineering leaders in Qatar.”

Another participant, Haneul Choi, encouraged other students to enroll in the program. “I am interested in computer coding and engineering as a future career path for me. The things I learned during the program were fun and the most interesting part was making a prototype out of our ideas. I hope others get the chance to participate in this program. The whole course is fun and it will definitely help you be a little more prepared when you enter college or get a job later.”