Undergraduate students of Qatar Foundation partner university Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) showcased their literary skills in the recently published anthology, 2015 Best Writing.
During the special event held at TAMUQ campus to launch the book, students explained why they grabbed the opportunity to write and read excerpts from their pieces, and, in the presence of peers, faculty and proud family members.
The range of work in 2015 Best Writing, the compilation of the university’s second anthology of student writing, is a 300-plus page demonstration of the creative talent that exists among the Aggie community, including writing skills and photography skills. It contains 60 pieces including prose, poetry, and personal recollections and experiences along with technical reports, proposals, analyses, and critical assessments.
Best Writing is the brainchild of Dr Mysti Rudd, Assistant Professor of English, Liberal Arts Program, and Director, Academic Success Center, TAMUQ, who also served as co-editor of the publication along with Dr Amy Hodges.
Appreciating the work of the students at the launch event, she said: “To write is to reveal ourselves, and it takes a lot of courage to share your words with the world. It takes talent and tenacity to get your work published, and I believe that these Aggie engineers have the ability to communicate clearly and effectively.”
A picture of a dhow taken by Najla Badr, Student, TAMUQ, was chosen to be the cover image for the book. “When I heard that the university was taking submissions for the cover image, I knew that this was the picture I wanted to submit,” said Badr. “To me, it is a representation of our heritage, our history, and the economic journey this region has had.”
She added: “My great grandfather used to be a professional dhow builder, and when he began to grow old, and his eyesight became weak, he started building small models of dhows as a hobby.
“When I graduated from high school in 2014, my uncle gifted me a model that my great grandfather had made. It was the most precious gift that I received that night. I was fascinated by its beauty, and I couldn’t resist grabbing my camera to photograph it.”
Sharouq Al Malki, Student, Electrical Engineering, TAMUQ, contributed two pieces to the book: one about her secret hobby, and the other on helping Qatari mothers and daughters understand each other.
Sharing her experience, she said: “For my piece, I spoke to a lot of mothers and daughters, including my mother. In my research, I tried to assess their individual characteristics, to understand why there was a communication or generation gap between them, and I hope my study has produced results that will help bridge that gap.
“I was very proud to have my family at the launch event. Their support, as well as the incredible support from the faculty at TAMUQ, has been very important for me. Pursuing a degree in engineering is stressful, and writing gives us a way to express ourselves, and de-stress.”
Saeed Binoora, Student, TAMUQ, contributed a satirical piece on war. Writing has always been a passion and he enjoyed the chance to express himself, saying: “This is a unique opportunity for us Aggies. Many people don’t realize how much writing engineers eventually have to do, and this is a great training ground.
“The kind of support and encouragement we get at TAMUQ is incomparable. From going through multiple drafts of the article, to motivating us to present it in a public domain, they were with us every step of the way.”
Dr Mark Weichold, Dean and CEO, TAMUQ, congratulated the students and staff involved in the production, and said: “Our faculty is dedicated to encouraging students to express themselves.
“We have extremely talented students, but without the faculty behind them, we would not have this anthology.
“A good engineer must have technical skills, but must also be able to think deeply about a problem and consider not only the technical solution, but also the economic and societal solution, and how an issue will affect people in different ways. Through writing comes introspection, and this leads to a deeper thought process.
“TAMUQ students are individuals with varied interests, and they are as expressive and creative as any other young adults throughout the world. We are very fortunate to have them as our students.”