20 UAE Nationals Experience the Excitement of Cutting-Edge Research during Week-Long Ektashif Internship Program
A group of 20 UAE national undergraduate students learned cutting-edge research techniques as part of Masdar Institute’s Ektashif Spring 2017 internship program.
The one-week residential program that targets talented undergraduate students majoring in science, engineering or information technology, was organized from 1-6 April at Masdar Institute. The program serves as an avenue of discovery for renewable energy, sustainability, advanced materials, space technology and environment for local students. It also offers an opportunity to discuss current research being conducted by Masdar Institute faculty and graduate students.
Dr. Lamya Fawwaz, Vice President for Institutional Advancement and Public Affairs, Masdar Institute, said: “Engaging youth is vital to the UAE’s continued development and transformation into a knowledge economy. Masdar Institute has always been dedicated to empowering youth, not just through our academic programs and research, but also through our outreach programs, like Ektashif. The Ektashif program design is inspired by sectors of high importance to the UAE’s strategic goals, and as such the students are inspired by their experiences to become involved in sectors such as advanced materials, water, clean energy and even space. I am confident that the experience they have had during their time at Masdar Institute will encourage these promising young people to pursue further studies and consider careers in these strategic sectors.”
The program was organized by Dr. Ken Volk, Outreach Manager, Masdar Institute, and included expert-led workshops on relevant topics. Participants learned about waste conversion; satellite remote sensing; and 3D printing. They also learned about MYSAT-1, a miniature satellite that is being developed at Masdar Institute.
Dr. Prashanth Marpu, Assistant Professor, Water and Environmental Engineering, who led the session on MYSAT-1, said: “The students were enthusiastic to learn about the space systems and particularly enjoyed the satellite tracking exercise.”
The interns were introduced to the physics and chemistry of fuel-cells while learning how to assemble and perform preliminary performance testing on the cells through a session led by Dr. Saif Al Mheiri, Assistant Professor, Mechanical and Materials Engineering, with assistance from PhD students Ibrahim Mustafa and Musbaudeen Bamgbopa.
Another session, led by Dr. Mohammad Abu Zahra, Associate Professor, Chemical Engineering, taught the Ektashif participants how to develop, characterize and test porous solid materials for carbon dioxide adsorption. Dr. Abu Zahra said that the interns demonstrated diligence, intelligence, and excellent group working skills.
Dr. Isam Janajreh, Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering Program, led the session on waste-to-fuel. He complimented the Ektashif Spring 2017 interns, saying: “The participants were extremely inquisitive and wanted to know how advanced the UAE is in this field compared to the US or countries in Western Europe.”
The interns agreed it was an enriching and engaging experience. Amina Al Hammadi from the Higher College of Technology said: “I loved Masdar Institute’s environment. The labs exposed me to new topics and I found them very beneficial. I learned about waste-to-energy and direct methanol fuel cells in a very interesting way. I am passionate about knowledge and technology and would love to be a part of the advanced sustainable technology, as I am currently majoring in electronics engineering for my bachelor’s.”
UAE University student Sameera Abdulla Khamis Al Shehhi liked the satellite and 3D printing sessions, and found the faculty and students to be supportive, well-informed, and considerate.
Aaesha Alsadi, from the American University Ras Al Khaima, said she is now planning to join Masdar Institute for her Master’s degree.
Noaf Mohammed Nasser Mohammed Alblooki, from the University of Sharjah, also found the sessions on biofuels, 3D printing and satellite tracking appealing, while the others were fun and interesting. She said: “The hands-on experience at the labs was just great. I learned a lot from the practical work at the laboratory.”
19 April 2017