For graduate students at KAUST, it’s not all about learning – sometimes they get to be teachers too. As part of its ongoing Young Learners’ Development Program for students in our host communities, this year KAUST Social Responsibility worked with the Red Sea Research Center, the Visual Computing Center and Coastal and Marine Resources Corelab to co-ordinate a series of science outreach events, including an intensive summer school series - itself a pilot program for a planned, annual Science Summer Camp. Preparing and delivering the varied workshops gave the students an opportunity to share their skills, knowledge and enthusiasm for discovery with pupils from local schools in Thuwal and Qadimah.
Graduate students, researchers and post-docs led workshops in Marine Ecology and Oceanography, introducing the intermediate and secondary pupils to research techniques and equipment used in the marine environment, as well as hands-on activities for the pupils to conduct experiments and generate their own results.
Jihad Al Jahdali, a Grade 12 student from Thuwal said “It was amazing. I was interested in the water types and we did experiments on shells and how they are impacted by acids. We learned about the relationship between coral and fish, growing stages and life expectancy. It was my first time using a microscope!”
Matt Tietbohl, a KAUST Marine Science PhD student, was impressed with the Thuwal pupils. He said “The quality of their questions was outstanding. The students not only engage but retain the information. It was good to see their interest go beyond, to see the curiosity.” Matt also noted the positive payback: “I love this program, it’s a fantastic initiative. We have the resources in marine science and the reward in the output is so much greater than the input. It is also good teaching experience, as making this accessible for all age groups can be challenging.”
The introduction of summer school was a particular success; well-attended, it neatly illustrated the quality and value of the workshops that the KAUST volunteers create – good enough to give up summer vacation for.
The extensive efforts required to generate these opportunities were underpinned by faculty who made facilities accessible, advised in direction and took part in elements of the project. Following a screening of Finding Nemo, Prof Michael Berumen, Director of the Red Sea Research Center, held a Question and Answer session with the visiting students, surprising them with the number of scientific accuracies in the film.
The YLDP encompasses key subject areas of science, math, technological literacy, English proficiency, soft skills, sports and music. KAUST has a fantastic resource of volunteers across a broad spectrum; Social Responsibility endeavors to create programs that capitalize on the intellectual property available at KAUST for the benefit of Thuwal and the Kingdom, while offering fulfilling volunteering opportunities. The support from the skill-based volunteers involved in this year’s science outreach project has been outstanding and Social Responsibility looks forward to coordinating further events. If you’re inspired to take part, have a workshop idea, or want to learn more about the work of Social Responsibility at KAUST, please get in touch – email email@example.com.
Part of the Young Learners' Development Program - read the Program Overview here.
October 14, 2018