JEDDAH — Manar Mazyad, a student of information systems management in Dar Al-Hekma University, won the first place in the STEAM Innovation Challenge that was organized by the Islamic Development Bank Group (IDB) in collaboration with King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) at bank’s headquarters in Jeddah recently.
Mazyad was on a three-member team that secured the first place in the event in which 30 teams participated.
The STEAM Challenge stands for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics; and the workshops were designed to support students create solutions for local, regional and global problems.
“Sustainability is an important practice in our university because it ensures that we protect our environment for the future generations. I am very proud of Manar for being part of the winning team in this competition.
This is the second STEAM challenge in Saudi Arabia where a Dar Al-Hekma University student was part of a winning team. It shows once again that Dar Al-Hekma University students are leaders within their peers,” said Dr. Suhair Hassan Al-Qurashi, president of the university.
A total of 120 students from seven universities in western Saudi Arabia participated in the competition. “As you can imagine, having KAUST students participate created a true challenge as they were advanced at both education and experience levels,” said Mazyad.
Students worked for two days to address issues related to three main fields: health, education, and food and water. There were also three sub-fields under each of the main ones.
The students from all universities were matched randomly to create 30 competing teams. “I was assigned with two other students to the health field — an electrical engineer from King Abdulaziz University and a student in applied science. We had to find a solution for air pollution in the Kingdom,” said Mazyad.
The team’s idea sprung from the popular belief that Saudi Arabia holds the fifth position in air pollution not because of man-made causes, but from natural ones like sand storms. Solving such an issue requires a long time to see the impact. Thus, the team decided to help people with respiratory diseases (25 percent of the population) by designing customized warning application, which gathers information to decide when to be warned of possible threats.
Mazyad’s team won the first place after she pitched the project and is now eligible for internship in the summer to develop their idea as well as present it in the IDB’s annual conference in May. — SG