Launch of the STEM Magazine
A publication by the students, for the students
Exploring the role of recombinant antibodies in the fight against COVID-19, a Qatari fashion technology against vitamin D deficiency, the effectiveness of Car-T cell therapy in treating cancer, making the case for MENA-wide collaboration for space exploration, and the latest innovations in Qatar’s LNG industry are just some of the 23 stories that have come under discussion in the inaugural edition of the STEM News, a magazine aimed at improving the understanding and knowledge of school students in Qatar with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) and building their science communication skills.
Made possible through a collaboration between Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and Northwestern University in Qatar, the STEM News invited 7th and 8th graders from schools across Qatar to have the ownership of this magazine as all the articles have been written by students on STEM topics of their choice. In the run-up to publishing the magazine, students and teachers were invited to attend workshops to help create a network of facilitators in the schools who can conduct exercises and training for science news reporting and select the best stories for the magazine.
Over 80 children participated in these workshops and the best stories were selected from a pool of around 70 submissions. Moreover, the students were provided access to a network of local and international experts they could interview for their articles through QNRF and SIEMENS Energy, and the support of Gulf Times to spread their news stories to a national audience.
The STEM News is the latest addition to a series of impactful initiatives launched in Qatar to promote STEM education at the school level and provide our talented students with opportunities to improve their science communication skills. A STEM education while improves divergent thinking and builds cognitive skills in students, it also helps cultivate a student’s curiosity and flexibility. These skills are imperative to help our future generations address our complex real-world challenges. To ensure that our students have access to a world-class STEM education combining a theoretical understanding of scientific concepts and their application in hands-on learning experiences, QNRF has partnered with Texas A&M University at Qatar in the past to launch the STEM Hub – an innovative space to instill and develop STEM skills in school students in Qatar as a national priority.
Commenting on the success of the efforts underway in Qatar to help school students excel in STEM education, Dr. Aisha Al-Obaidly, Capacity Building Director at QNRF, said: “The combined efforts to promote STEM education among our students are bearing fruit as in the past editions of international competitions such as ITEX in Malaysia and the ISEF in the US, Qatari participants have been bagging the top positions and proving that Qatar is an upcoming destination for innovation and advancement in science and technology.
“The STEM Magazine provides an effective stepping stone for students who want in the future to participate in these competitions and go on to pursue rewarding careers in scientific research and education. I look forward to seeing these young journalists in action at the upcoming National Scientific Research Week and read the stories they cover.”
Similarly for Dr. Jairo Lugo-Ocando, professor at Northwestern University in Qatar and coordinator of the project, initiatives like the STEM Magazine, are in line with one of the four pillars of Qatar National Vision 2030, which is human development through education.
“This project helps achieve this by training school children in science journalism while engaging them with STEM subjects. Therefore addressing two of the key areas that the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) recommends addressing in future curriculum development,” he further remarked.
“For us, it has been a privilege to work with children and teachers in Qatar and we hope we will continue to do so in future editions while we expand in the number of participating schools” added Dr. Anto Mohsin, an associate professor at Northwestern University in Qatar and co-coordinator of the project.”
In the past three decades, the advancements in science and ICT, have created a huge demand for STEM jobs but the supply for it is still running short. To meet this growing demand and prepare a talented supply of ambitious professionals skilled in science and research, initiatives like the STEM Magazine are helping our students develop an awareness of our contemporary and future challenges and finding out ways to address them. To read the STEM Magazine, click here.