Thursday, July 17, 2014

Student innovator reflects on the experimental process

This week, Sheikh Zayed Institute student innovator Shatha Al Wahhabi describes her experience with trial and error and what she has learned while here this summer.

“Throughout my training journey in the institute, I have learned that failure is inevitable, and only makes you stronger and tougher. At certain times, I am not able to get the desired results out of the experiment that I am working on. I do not give up and I repeat the experiment. After repeating the experiment, I get the desired results. I know that everyone must fail in order to see what their mistakes are and then correct them. In addition, I have learned how to work in teams and share ideas with others. In most cases, someone starts with a doubtful single thought, but other members in the team help to evolve the idea into something bigger and make it thrive. A little bit of creativity, imagination and innovation are always beneficial in such projects.  Last but not least, the institute taught me to seek knowledge as much as I can, and to be fully educated about the topics that interest me. I learned that reading articles and research papers about topics that you are interested in, and keeping yourself updated guides you through your project significantly. Knowledge is limitless and it keeps evolving day by day – especially in the domain that we are working in, which is research."

- Shatha Al Wahhabi, Senior, Khalifa University

As Winston Churchill said, “Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” In the Sheikh Zayed Institute, everyone is encouraged to create and immerse themselves in the entire innovation process – which can include some setbacks and unforeseen complications. What is most important is that everyone is given the room to learn along the way, adjust their plans, and then receive the support to continue to pursue the most promising ideas.

Shatha is currently in her second summer as a Student Innovator for the Sheikh Zayed Institute. She is a senior at Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research in the United Arab Emirates majoring in Biomedical Engineering.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

UAE Artists visited Children’s National

(L) Artists Zeinab and Khalid
The Meridian International Center and UAE Embassy opened Past Forward: Contemporary Art from the Emirates at the end of May. Shortly after the opening, two of the artists - Zeinab Al Hashemi and Khalid Mezaina - featured in the exhibit were gracious enough to visit patients here, along with a representative from the UAE Embassy and the exhibit's curator.

The artists were able to tour the Sheikh Zayed Institute, making stops in the lab, 3D printing room and bioengineering space. Dr. Marius Linguraru led the group and spoke about Down Syndrome facial recognition software, the power of the 3D models used before surgery and the importance of incorporating multiple disciplines in order to further innovation – doctors, engineers, scientists and maybe even artists.

Following their tour, the artists headed to the main atrium where they chatted with kids and helped them create their own artwork. They started with a short introduction to pattern making, and demonstrated by cutting patterns out of colored paper.

Three year old Dana was especially excited to join in on the art-making. First treated back in 2011 by the neurology team, she and her family were in town from Abu Dhabi for a follow up visit. Dana was all smiles and loved coloring (and tearing) all of the paper. Together, with the help of her mother and the artists, she created something beautiful.

Dana shares a laugh with artist Khalid Mezaina

Dana pictured with her mother (center) along with exhibit curator Noura, Embassy rep Dana, and artist Zeinab (L-R)
You have until July 13th to check out the exhibit located at the Meridian International Center White-Meyer House located on 1624 Crescent Place NW Washington, DC 20009. The exhibit is open to the public Wednesday – Sunday, 2pm to 5pm. For more information, contact: