Third batch of aspiring female space explorers to join Space Centre Houston training

WAM Abu Dhabi, 10 Nov. 2012 (WAM) – After two highly successful editions, the region s only space exploration program is turning its attention to girls between the ages of 12 and 18 who aspire to be engineers, scientists, or even astronauts in the near future.

Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi, Director General of the Institute of Applied Technology (IAT), said “The program, which aids in developing talents and encourages the students between the ages of 12-18 to learn more about space and pursue it as a potential career in the future, offers a multitude of experiences that present a specialized peek into the world of space, along with the expert presentations and focused activities. This kind of program can have a massive impact on today s Emirati youth and, subsequently, the United Arab Emirates as a whole.” He told WAM that 25 female students will be selected through rigorous process to join Space Centre Houston’s Space Camp  Training which is the visitor centre of NASA Johnson Space Centre from 15 to 25 December 2012.

Ahmad Al Mulla, Director of the Department of Student Affairs at the Institute of Applied Technology, said “We recently had an awards ceremony to celebrate the 25 students from the 2nd batch who had attended the program in July of this year,” added He added “Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi awarded the 25 students, who had been carefully selected among 128 applicants, for their dedication and hard work. Seeing the success the program has brought our two previous batches, we were very encouraged to repeat the experience for our female students.” “We’ve always considered providing this experience to an all girls batch from the start. As part of the community, girls have as much to add to the future as boys do. It is important to provide them with a positive educational environment to enhance their learning experience. I am positive that we will have many eager students who are interested in taking part in this challenging experience,” said Hussain Al Ansari, CEO of Space Ed-Ventures.

Space Ed-Ventures is the GCC s pioneering youth program that can be tailor-made to run for up to 4 weeks, allowing students with an inclination towards science and engineering to hone their interest with focused educational space training at the world s most advanced techno-hub, NASA.

Over the summer, 25 students from the Institute of Applied Technologies (IAT) embarked on a life changing 7-day intensive aerospace engineering and youth space training program at Houston Space School that is the visitors center for NASA Johnson Space Centre. The shortlisted applicants were carefully handpicked from the 128 entries that came through in the last edition.

“We have had 2 successful trips so far. The students were given a chance to see a world far beyond their everyday lives. It is a life-changing experience and has helped students understand their interests much better. It gives them a much stronger sense of identity and better understanding of what they hope to become,” added Al Ansari.

For 15-year-old Suhail Abdulaziz, the week-long program has become the highlight of his academic career. “I have always had an interest in physics and engineering, but until the space camp, I didn t realize that there are actually many more areas (in these fields) that I could specialize in someday. I also learned what my strengths and weaknesses are through group work,” Suhail said. “The high point of the trip for me was working on robots and experiencing zero-gravity. This experience separates me from others my age. It is something that will follow me throughout my life, and has helped widen my options.” As with every edition, the selected students will have the opportunity to work on projects that simulate real-life scenarios, troubleshooting and creating solutions in groups. Some of their assignments will include designing a functioning rocket that will be tested and launched on site. They will also engineer robotic Mars rovers similar to the real one on the red planet, to collect samples from the terrain for analysis. The students will also undergo the same training procedures as actual astronauts, including the opportunity to meet returning space explorers with real-world experience either in the control room or on the shuttle. At the end of the week-long intensive, they will be expected to present their findings and solutions that will be peer-evaluated and overseen by the Space Centre Houston administration for presentation style and content knowledge. Capping the trip, Space Ed-ventures will take the cadets on a historical and cultural tour of Houston, including museums, boardwalks and iconic parks.

The specialty of this edition of the program is that it is open exclusively to female students who are eager to experience hands-on training. Taking cultural factors into account, Space Ed-ventures will facilitate chaperones interested in accompanying successful participants as part of a family package.

WAM/TF WAM 1208 2012/11/10 END WAM/TF

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