Under the Patronage of the President of Beirut Arab University, Prof. Amr El Adawi, the Faculty of Science organized its BAU 3rd Annual Science Fair on March 18, 2023 in Beirut Campus. It aims to promote an appreciation for scientific principles and methods in the youth of Lebanon, encourage and foster youth advancement in science and technology, recognize schools’ efforts in the development of scientific minds and promoting creativity, teamwork, and independent thinking among students. The fair opens door for all science enthusiasts from across Lebanon’s schools to present their projects, meet their peers with common interests, interact one-on-one with university professors and science experts and engage in scientific discourse to further explore their topics.
Over 230 high school students from 29 schools across Lebanon participated this year and competed with a total of 90 projects submitted in 6 different categories and were distributed as follows: 2 projects in Astronomy, 14 projects in Applied Physical and Chemical Sciences, 15 projects in Environmental sciences, 25 projects in Health & Life sciences, 21 in STEAM and 13 in Robotics. The projects were meticulously assessed by a curated panel of judges that visited the schools’ booths, listened to the students’ presentations, and evaluated them in Q&A session. The judging panel included external members: Dr. Ahmad Chaalan (Professor of Astrophysics, Lebanese University), Dr. Rabih Baalbaki (President of Education Technology – EdTech- Syndicate), Dr. Jihad Abboud (President of chemists’ association in Lebanon), Mr. Jamal Azzam (Ministry of Education), Dr. Nizar Hani (Director of Shouf Biosphere reserve), Dr. Rami Oweini (Director of research Lab, AUH), Mr. Sami Sleem (CEO of IDS company), Mr. Mostafa Soukarieh and Mr. Hasan Kamar (President and vice-president of the Association of Physics Teachers in Lebanon, respectively) along with internal BAU members from the Faculty of Health Sciences, Dr. Said Shamieh, from the Faculty of Engineering, Dr. Amira Zaylaa, and from the Faculty of Science: Prof. Mahmoud Khalil, Dr. Mohammad El-Dakdouki, Dr. Jamila Borjac, Dr. Dalia El badan, Dr. Rana Hajj, Dr. Bilal Nakhal, Dr. Khouloud Habanjar, Dr. Layal Abu Daher, Dr. Rabih Damaj, Dr. Julie Abu Daher, Dr. Wasila Kanawati, Dr. Nour Ghouch, Dr Noura Abou Zeinab and Mrs. Mariam Rabaa. The projects were assessed based on: Scientific Method, Innovation and Creativity, Technical Proficiency, Communication, Comprehension, Impact and Relevance. The Top 3 projects in each category were first selected, and top 4 overall projects were then awarded BAU scholarships in Science Majors. It is worth mentioning that BAU student clubs, namely BAU Astronomy Club, American Society for Mechanical Engineers (ASME) – BAU student section, and e-Health and Telemedicine club have also participated in this fair. Some of their projects included a prototype for detecting exoplanets and a Mars rover that replicated the features and functions of a real-life Mars rover. By their outreach to younger students through the science fair, they met their invaluable role in fostering a love of science and inspiring the next generation of scientists and explorers.
Following the judging session, the awarding ceremony started with welcoming remarks of the head of BAU-SF organizing committee, Dr. Ghada Khawaja, then followed by the inspiring words from the Dean of the Faculty of Science, Prof. Ramadan Awad, who emphasized on the variety and originality of the projects that were displayed in the fair. He stated, ‘it’s enormously uplifting to be in the presence of so many young talents and creative minds who present such a great hope for the future of Lebanon.”
Dr. Khawaja addressed the students and said, “we see the results of students drawing their inspiration from the current issues and challenges in Lebanon… while each project is distinct and unique, they are all united by a great spirit of innovation, a creative and questioning approach, and an original thinking that always defines the true scientist.” She continued, “may I take this opportunity here to pay tribute to your schools, teachers, and science coordinators. It’s their encouragement, guidance, and assistance, especially in difficult times like these, that enables you to bring together this great display of scientific wonder.” In her speech, she also acknowledged the tremendous cooperation and efforts of BAU staff body, administrators, BAU-SF organizing committee members and the amazing group of volunteers from the Faculty of Science who have been such a great support and have ensured that the fair is up to the mark. She also thanked the gold sponsor ElectroSlab for supporting the fair and the bronze sponsors, Pepscio and Aquafina for sponsoring the refreshments.
Then the top three projects per category were announced on stage in the presence of the Dean of the Faculty and the respective jury panel, followed by the Top 4 winning teams of BAU scholarships.
The Top winning teams of BAU scholarships:
o First place: Imperative Driving Course, project by Razan Daher & Khalil Khaskieh, Rafic Hariri High School
o Second place: Automatic Symptom Awareness and Response Aid (A.S.S.A.R.A), project by Lea Agha Kassab & Yara Itani, from Makassed Khalid Bin AL Walid – Al Horj School College
o Third place: Sunflower System, project by Nouh Sleiman, Fatima Zreik & Nermin Diab, from Al Jawad School
o Fourth Place: Earthquake proof buildings, project by Asmaa Refai, Sana Fayad, Elham Husayni, from Al Manhal School * the fourth position prize wasn't determined based on the grades, unlike the top three projects. it was bestowed upon the project for its innovative approach in addressing real-time problems.
Winners of the Top projects benefit from Scholarships in Science Majors: 70% Scholarships on tuition fees for Math, Physics and Chemistry Majors, 40 % Scholarships on tuition fees for Computer Science, Biology and Biochemistry majors. *Scholarships are renewable for each undergraduate year provided that the student maintains a minimum cumulative 85% average.
The finalists were awarded a Certificate of Distinction in recognition of their outstanding performance and were granted by the Student Activities Department a one-month free membership in one of BAU sports’ academies. Furthermore, the panel of judges were awarded certificates of appreciation in recognition of their time and efforts in this competition. Dr. Khawaja concluded the awarding ceremony, “Congratulations for all the participants, finalists, and winners! The outstanding quality of the projects presented at BAU 3rd Annual Science Fair, made indeed this competition much interesting!”