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More than 25 students from middle and high schools across Qatar brought their inner inventors to life through a weeklong engineering camp designed to encourage innovative solutions to real-world challenges in Qatar.

The initiative, Qatar Invents, was presented by Texas A&M University at Qatar (Tamuq) and sponsored by Occidental Petroleum of Qatar (Oxy Qatar). An intensive engineering invention and design experience, Qatar Invents engaged students in hands-on projects that pushed their innovation, creativity and communication skills, Tamuq said in a press statement. Students developed their own novel solutions to engineering challenges in energy, environment and healthcare, and then they built prototypes to demonstrate their inventions. The programme was designed to motivate students in science and engineering while teaching skills essential to becoming leaders in engineering and innovation. Participant Saud Abukishk said he learned a lot from the programme, such as communicating as a team and what engineers do. “I used to think that engineering and science were boring until I joined this programme and was taught that the world needs engineers. This has had a huge impact on me, teaching me about what engineers do, and inspired me to be a very successful scientist or engineer.” Abdallah El Zamli agreed and said, “The programme is quite helpful. I spent about a year searching for answers for questions concerning engineers and scientists, and I finally found the answer. The programme teaches students how to think out of the box and how to brain storm. In addition, the programme is a lot of fun.” Occidental has joined the branch campus’s strategic educational outreach efforts that aim to motivate young Qataris to choose educational pathways for careers in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM). The initiative supports both teachers and students through a broad portfolio of programmes and workshops. Andrew H Kershaw, president and general manager of Occidental Petroleum of Qata, said: “Oxy Qatar looks forward to working with the dean and with Texas A&M University at Qatar to advance the goals of STEM. The university’s expertise is an enormous resource in the campaign’s efforts to teach young people about STEM through practical and interactive sessions. “Learning to question, to ask why, how, what and to explore is crucial to establishing a solid understanding — and this partnership will help increase awareness about science, technology, math as well as engineering issues. Oxy Qatar is honoured to be a part of STEM at Texas A&M University at Qatar.” Some of the inventors have previously participated in Tamuq’s STEM programmes, including Afsha Shaikh. She said, “The programme has been impactful in the past few days. It has always been an enriching experience here in Texas A&M at Qatar. Being here has helped me narrow down my options of studies in university. Engineering it is!” Dr Cesar O Malave, dean of Tamuq, said outreach programmes such as Qatar Invents help young students understand the importance of engineering in Qatar. “Engineers have helped propel Qatar to be a world leader in energy,” Dr Malave said. “Qatar Invents, and programmes like it, show students how engineers can help solve problems people face every day. Engineers and inventors are needed in Qatar to meet the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030, and each of these student inventors participating in this camp has the potential to be a future innovation leader in Qatar. “I hope they have learned a lot and enjoyed their time with us, and hope they enrol in our engineering programmes and pursue careers in engineering.”