More than 300 Students Take Part in the Annual AUS FUNtastic FZX 2017


SHARJAH - Over 300 high school students and supervisors coming from 12 Sharakah partner schools participated in the annual American University of Sharjah (AUS) FUNtastic FZX; a day-long physics fair, held on campus on April 13, 2017.

According to the University, the event was part of a physics open day organized by the AUS Office of Enrollment Management in collaboration with the Department of Physics that welcomed prospective students from Sharakah schools and included interactive lectures, live displays, hands-on activities, competitions and demonstrations of physics principles and their wide applications.

FUNtastic FZX sought to bridge the gap between the university and high school students, to show that physics can be fascinating and to provide the fundamental understanding of how most things around us work.

Dr. Ali Alnaser, Head of the Department of Physics, welcomed the high school students to the annual open day celebrating physics and said, "Today, you will see different flavors of physics in terms of experiments and hands-on activities. As you know, AUS has approved establishing a physics major to be started next year and we hope to receive you in this program. We are proposing a curriculum that is very contemporary, based on recent advances in physics and students will be able to interact with faculty who demonstrate excellence in research. We also have an international network were students can get exposure to first class laboratories and meet well renowned physicists."

In his welcoming address, Dr. Leland Blank, Interim Provost and Chief Academic Officer, welcomed the high school students and said, "There is a real strong support at AUS for the sciences as they are integrated into the curriculum, projects, and research activities where our students and faculty learn together, not just in the classroom but in the laboratories, discovery sessions and seminars."
The judges evaluated the teams' projects according to the following criteria: clearly explaining the physics concepts behind the project and how they relate them to physics facts and laws learned at school; clearly explaining the goal of the project and the relevance of their project to practical applications; evaluating the team's poster in terms of design and information, reflecting their creativity and own thinking; and finally, explaining the role of the elements and the materials used and the procedures followed to construct their project.
Shady El Kassas, a supervisor from Sharjah American International School said, "At this event, students have exposure to practical physics. AUS is definitely increasing the interest of students towards the field of physics and is encouraging them to major in this field when they enroll in university."

Dina Manaa, a grade 12 student from Al Mawakeb School said, "This event is one of the annual competitions that I look forward to, where learning about physics has never been more interesting."

Schools participating in the event included: Al Najah Private School-Abu Dhabi, Rawafed Private School-Abu Dhabi, International Community School-Abu Dhabi, Nahda National Schools/Girls-Abu Dhabi, Madar School-Al Ain, Al Mawakeb School, Barsha-Dubai, Al Mawakeb School, Garhoud-Dubai, Dubai International School, Garhoud-Dubai, Sharjah American International School-Dubai, Al Shola Private School-Sharjah, Sharjah American International School-Sharjah, and Dawha School-Sharjah.

First place in the competition went to Al Najah Private School, with Al Shola Private School winning second place, and Al Mawakeb School and Sharjah American International School coming third.

The event was held as part of the Sharakah program under which AUS has signed Memorandums of Understanding with a number of secondary schools in the UAE whereby the university will offer workshops to teachers and students; offer patronage of selected research, cultural, social and sporting activities and events organized by the Sharakah partner school; award partial scholarships to deserving students selected from lists provided by the schools; and offer university preparation courses, including SAT and TOEFL preparation courses, as well as recruitment of outstanding students from varied sociocultural and economic backgrounds to AUS.