Robotics team mentored by Texas A&M at Qatar finishes 19th at FIRST Global Challenge
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Robotics team mentored by Texas A&M at Qatar finishes 19th at FIRST Global Challenge

Team Qatar, the STEM-vengers, have finished in 19th place among 175 teams worldwide in the FIRST Global Challenge. 

The team is part of Texas A&M University at Qatar’s STEM Hub Robotics Club (SHRC), a joint initiative between the QF partner university and the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF).

The annual FIRST Global Challenge, an “Olympics”-style robotics event, is based on the 14 Grand Challenges of Engineering identified by the U.S. National Academy of Engineering. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the 2020 competition, “Connecting Communities,” consisted of three months filled with social media and technical challenges, talks by STEM professionals, and technical training sessions — all while connecting the FIRST Global Community around the world.

Mohammed Al Marri said, “I have participated in many STEM outreach programs at Texas A&M in Qatar. I aspire to become an engineer who solves various problems from renewable energy methods to global environmental challenges. FIRST Global Challenge 2020 was not only an opportunity for students to consolidate their learning, but a home to a diverse community of members to come together and take on problems of purpose. Team Qatar is keen on delivering results every day to benefit the world by whatever means necessary. I’m proud of my contribution to Team Qatar’s performance this year, and I’m most definitely excited about next year’s competition!”

QNRF Executive Director, Dr. Abdul Sattar Al Taie, said, “I would like to congratulate the team representing Qatar in the FIRST Global Challenge for being ranked in the top 20 among 175 teams from across the world.

"This achievement is a testimony of the success of our partnership with Texas A&M University at Qatar through the state-of-the-art STEM HUB facility, which has been providing training to students from schools across the country and nurturing them as Qatar’s future researchers and scientists. The team’s impressive performance at this high-level robotics competition will greatly motivate other students to pursue STEM education with passion, and through their knowledge, contribute to the development of Qatar.”

The team was mentored by Texas A&M at Qatar’s STEM program specialist Dr. Mohamed Gharib to promote creative applications of engineering and science toward innovative thinking and original design among Qatar’s youth. Gharib established the SHRC at Texas A&M at Qatar in 2019 in cooperation with QNRF to use robotics to enhance, supplement, and enrich science and math learning experiences for secondary students.

To put together a team of talented students from different schools in Qatar whose interests are in engineering in general and robotics in particular; and prepare them to participate in international competitions.

Team Qatar has shown a strong presence in the FIRST Global competitions since the first participating in 2018 when Qatar achieved the bronze medal in Mexico. In 2019, Gharib won the Outstanding Mentor Award, which is given to mentors committed to their students and inspired them to keep going, despite any challenges.

Gharib said, “I am so proud of these students who dedicated their time and effort with passion and creativity for three months. They always have the determination to introduce innovative ideas, and with their talent and teamwork in different areas, they developed impressive solutions for the 25 challenges in the current competition.

"STEM education in Qatar is rapidly developing and directly influences the students’ knowledge and skills. As a result, Qatar teams have shown a strong presence in the latest competitions by FIRST Global. The support of Texas A&M at Qatar and Qatar National Research Fund was invaluable.”

Read more at The Peninsula.

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