KAUST Social Responsibility  

Thuwal High School students' science summer camp leads to three long-term research projects

Science Summer School 2018 poster cropped

Summer 2018 saw the launch of KAUST Social Responsibility’s Science Summer School.  Twelve Grade 11 and 12 YLDP students, were invited to attend the three week program, which ran alongside the annual RSRC Summer Program for Undergraduates.  

The YLDP students attended all the main lectures, with post-lecture sessions with Arabic-speaking university students to reinforce their understanding of the higher level learning.  The RSRC included the Thuwal students in many of the undergraduate activities, including a trip on the RV Thuwal, backstage talks at the Jeddah Aquarium and research visits to the fish market. 

Having identified research projects, the twelve students divided into three research groups, with Matt Tietbohl and Georgina Short, both Marine Science Masters students and PhD student Royale Hardenstine, guiding them in their chosen projects – Effects of Overfishing in the Red Sea, Benthic Organisms and Effects of Plastic Pollution on Red Sea Fish. 

The Thuwal students then presented their research proposals at the RSRC Workshop on The Future of The Red Sea Biodiversity – a fantastic opportunity to experience presenting publicly, to an international audience.  This presentation was followed up by a poster presentation evening on 28 November, where the students participated with Masters and PhD students, as part of the Red Sea Research Center Open Science Conference

These students are now conducting in depth research, preparing to present their findings in Spring 2019, sharing not just with KAUST, but with local stakeholders that will find real benefit in their conclusions – the fishing community and environmental managers of Thuwal.

Preparing Thuwal students to take part in the summer school is the result of two years’ investment in science awareness programs, working with faculty and graduate students to develop and implement a STEM program of In Kingdom activities to foster an interest in science and technology subjects.  The aim is that not only will these programs lead to long-term, sustainable and impactful benefits in our host community but to identify and inspire students that are potential KGSP candidates.  The dedication of the Red Search Research team to supporting the Thuwal students has been tremendous – thanks to Michael Berumen, Burt Jones, Susana Carvalho, Eva Martinez, Lina Eyouni, Royale Hardenstine, Ghaida Hadaidi, Georgina Short and Matt Tietbohl for their invaluable contribution.

Science is just one element of the YLDP with other subject areas of 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 sr@kaust.edu.sa.

UN Sustainable Development Goal #4  https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal11  UN Sustainable Development Goal #14  

Part of the Young Learners' Development Program - read the Program Overview here

November 29, 2018

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