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Hundreds of high school students from across the UAE attend AUS FUNtastic FZX 2019
Around 700 high school students from 35 Sharakah partner schools from across the country took part in the popular day-long physics fair entitled FUNtastic FZX 2019, held at American University of Sharjah (AUS) on Thursday, February 14. The event, which aimed to bridge the gap between the university and high school students, showed that physics can be fascinating and provides the students with the fundamental understanding of how most things around us work.
Sponsored by the UAE Space Agency and organized by the AUS Office of Enrollment Management in collaboration with the Department of Physics, the event was the fifth physics open day held by the university and the first science-based event to attract such a large number of high school students. The event comprised live displays, competitions, interactive lectures by physics professors, a teachers’ forum discussing conceptual issues in teaching physics, various hands-on activities, and demonstrations of physics principles and their wide applications.
More than 55 projects submitted by participating schools competed for top awards based on two categories: physics-relevance and space-relevance. JESS School Dubai won the top slot in the Space Projects, with Sharjah American International School in Dubai; Dubai Scholars Private School in Dubai; Al-Shola Private School for Girls in Sharjah; and International Community School in Abu Dhabi also being recognized. First place in the Physics Projects category went to Al Shola Private School for Girls in Sharjah, with Al Dawha School in Sharjah; International Community School in Abu Dhabi; and GEMS Wellington International School in Dubai also winning acclaim for their submissions. The successful teams won iPads, airpods as well as other prizes.
Dr. Björn Kjerfve, Chancellor of AUS, opened the event and welcomed the students to AUS: “We are happy to see so many of you here on campus. AUS is known throughout the region for its wonderful campus life and world class academics. There are tremendous opportunities open to students who pursue STEM subjects, physics included. If you combine that knowledge with a background in liberal arts, you will find yourself succeeding in whatever path you wish to pursue in the future.”
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Mahmoud Anabtawi, Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at AUS, emphasized the importance of holding this event.
“By bringing school students together and showcasing their different projects in a university setting, we are hoping to enrich their experience and encourage them to explore further in science in general and in physics in particular.”
Dr. Ali Alnaser, Head of the Department of Physics at the AUS College of Arts and Sciences, said:
“We are extremely pleased to welcome such a large number of students from our Sharakah partner and other schools to campus. This is the first physics open day that we have held after the launch of our bachelor’s degree in physics last semester. The UAE is making great strides in numerous areas pertaining to space sciences and we are delighted to have the support of the UAE Space Agency as the main sponsors of the event this year. It has always been our goal to raise awareness among high school students about the significance of sciences and how crucial they are to the overall development of a society and region.”
On behalf of the UAE Space Agency, His Excellency Dr. Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “We are delighted to sponsor FUNtastic FZX 2019 physics fair, which gives hundreds of Emirati students from across the UAE a chance to enhance their understanding of physics, a STEM subject of significant relevance to the space sector, along with encouraging scientific and technological collaboration between UAE students to develop innovative physics and space projects.”
“Our collaboration with reputable universities like the American University of Sharjah, is part of our mission as the UAE Space Agency to encourage young Emirati students to pursue STEM education and inspire them to get involved in the space sector, which aims to develop Emirati human capital in scientific and technological fields,” he added.
Funtastic FZX is held as part of the Sharakah program under which AUS has signed Memorandums of Understanding with a number of secondary schools in the UAE. According to the agreements, AUS offers workshops to teachers and students; it offers patronage of selected research, cultural, social and sporting activities and events organized by the Sharakah partner school; awards partial scholarships to deserving students selected from lists provided by the schools; and offers university preparation courses, including SAT and TOEFL preparation courses, as well as recruitment of outstanding students from varied sociocultural and economic backgrounds to AUS.
Over the years, AUS has earned renown for holding such open day events to encourage students as well as their teachers to become involved in the promotion and pursuance of STEM subjects. Its science graduates have gone on to achieve great success both in the academic world as well in corporate and governmental fields.
Schools participating in the event this year included: Philadelphia Private School-Dubai; Al Ain Junior School, Al Ain; Liwa International School, Al Ain; Gems Wellington International School, Dubai; Greenwood International School, Dubai; Sharjah American International School, Dubai; Al Shola Private School-Girls, Sharjah; Al Salam School, Dubai; Gems United School Dubai; JESS School Dubai; New Indian Model School, Dubai; Emirates National Schools, Abu Dhabi; Emirates National Schools, RAK; Emirates National Schools, Sharjah; St. Mary's Catholic School; Al Dhafra Private School; Primus Private School; Sharjah American International school, Sharjah; Abu Dhabi Polytechnic; Alitqan American School, Sharjah; GEMS Winchester School Dubai; Gems Westminster School RAK; Dubai Scholars Private School; Emirates National Schools Al Ain; Cambridge International School Dubai; Abu Dhabi Indian School Abu Dhabi; Al Zuhour School Sharjah; Al Dawha School Sharjah; Al Shola Private School-Boys, Sharjah; Dubai International School Al Garhoud; Gems Al Khaleej National School Dubai; English College; North London Collegiate School-Dubai; International Community School—Abu Dhabi.