Qatar Academy Doha empowers future eco-leaders

      Published on Wednesday, 10 June , 2020      973 Views     
Qatar Academy Doha empowers future eco-leaders

  • Events

Today’s youth are tomorrow’s leaders, and the 18-year-old Leena Fatima Syed is just one example of a Qatar Foundation student who is dedicated to creating sustainable solutions to challenges specific to Qatar.

Leena, who has just graduated from Qatar Academy Doha (QAD) — part of Qatar Foundation’s Pre-University Education — entered an Environmental Research Contest organised by the Qur’anic Botanic Garden (QBG) last year with a project that aimed to help reduce water waste in Qatar.

The project looked at creating artificial water tables using the waste of different construction materials, such as crushed concreate, limestone, and road waste.

“The overconsumption of water poses an economic and environmental sustainability challenge for countries in the Middle East, due to its dry desert climate,” Leena explains. 

“I tested the different types of construction waste, and, through the testing, saw that gravel between different layers of soil can act as a barrier from allowing water to flow any further. And that using these materials could then help reduce water waste that might be caused from overwatering different turfs or parks — areas often overwatered because the soil is so loose.”

Following the research, which, through QBG was facilitated by Aspire Sports Turf — part of Aspire Zone Foundation — Leena went on to present her findings through two poster presentation sessions for the 2019 QBG competition, winning second place in her category.

And while the competition marked the end of the project, Leena continued to work on her research.

“Though the contest was over, my research was aimed at helping Qatar in its beautification and environmental awareness goals, and so I wanted to see these aims through. My mentors reached out to Ashghal, and — after several very productive meetings — a six-month plan was established for advanced material and practical turf analyses.”

Speaking about the QBG competition, Leena says:

“QBG was a particularly important experience because of how many doors were opened by leading my own research. Through the competition, I was directed to and began working closely with Aspire Sports Turf, which provided the background knowledge and expertise necessary for me to complete my research successfully. It also led me to Ashghal.”

Leena’s inspiration for the project came from a sustainability class at QAD. And from her family. “Caring for the environment is something my mom passed on to me. My mom would encourage me to always choose the eco-friendly option,” she says.

“But this project also helped me to recognise other issues that are going on in the world. Ultimately, it was a catalyst for me to realise that there is more to be done, and to recognise in my own life the things I am not doing, or the things I could be doing more of, to help with sustainability and protecting the Earth.”  

Speaking about her QAD experience, which has now come to end, Leena says:

“I tried to take advantage of all the opportunities the school offered, and have over the years participated in THIMUN, joined band, took part in academic contests, played sports — games, volleyball, badminton — and, of course, the QBG competition.

“I also travelled to Emory University in the United States, and Imperial College London for STEM conferences, which played big roles in deciding where I chose to go to college, and what I wanted to major in.”

Next year, Leena is planning to study at Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, enrolling in the six-year medical programme.

“I’m excited about college and the independence that it’ll bring,” she says. “It’s a big step that I’ve been looking forward to for years, and though I’m a little anxious about the workload, I’m eager to start a new chapter, meet new people, and study a subject that I love.”

Unfortunately, due to the current situation, Leena hasn’t been able to move forward with the project, but is still hoping to publish a paper in the future.

Category Events | 2020/06/10 latest update at 8:00 AM
Source : The Peninsula | Photocredit : Google
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