Qatar Foundation Research, Development, and Innovation, in collaboration with the Ministry of Education and Higher Education recently held the Youth Science Forum poster competition to encourage high school students to explore their scientific creativity and teach them how to apply research methods to resolve identified challenges.
The five winners of the competition are now moving on to participate in the London International Youth Science Forum (LIYSF) taking place at the end of this month. The forum offers a 15-day Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) summer camp to students aged 16-21.
This year’s LIYSF will have the underlying theme “Science for humanity,” addressing the challenges the world faces that can be addressed through scientific development and discovery. The event is one of the longest-running STEM events of its kind and aims to empower youth from all backgrounds to pursue their STEM potential, enable globally relevant discussions, and equip them to take their place as citizens of the world.
Ahmed Ali, one of the winners who will participate in LIYSF, presented a poster on the nature of nuclear matter and its applications to precision medicine. In simple words, he explored the use of atom interactions within nuclei to treat cancer.
“I enjoy trying to reach the frontiers of what humans know and understand about the universe – there is a sense that I am seeing a small part of the world that few people get to see. I also find pleasure in learning the tools that could potentially allow me to contribute to this understanding,” Ali said.
Jana Hermoso and Philip Valerio, two grade 12 students at the Philippines School Doha chose a slightly different route for their winning project. Focusing their energy on sustainability and the environment, they decided to work on a project exploring the use of flour to create biodegradable spoons as an eco-friendly alternative to plastic. “As members of the animal kingdom, it is our duty to help preserve the world and peacefully coexist with the flora and fauna around us. That’s why we chose to do our poster on this project,” Valerio said.
Both Hermoso and Valerio have a deep love for science rooted in classic figures such as Marie Curie and Nikola Tesla. Hermoso also discovered her passion for the field through watching Youtube videos by Nile Red, who teaches science much more visually than conventionally.
Hermoso said she gained immense experience through her participation in the competition – particularly learning how to overcome the anxiety involved in working with tight deadlines, and the high levels of competition. She hopes that this will aid her in her future goals of pursuing pharmacology and genetics after high school.
The winners are all thrilled to be representing Qatar and their schools at the LIYSF, particularly to engage with other students and mentors who are equally passionate about science and research. “What I am most excited about is the Science Bazaar, which is an opportunity for me to present my research project to experts in the field, and the progress I’ve made since the Qatar Foundation competition,” Ali said. Two other winners – Ibrahim al-Hoori and Abdulrahman al-Shahri – from Qatar Leadership Academy, a school under Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education, will also be accompanying Ali, Valerio, and Hermoso at LIYSF.