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Posted On: 3 April 2011 09:23 am
Updated On: 12 November 2020 02:11 pm

Ex-astronaut offers students career tips

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Boeing held a lecture series for students in Qatar pursuing studies in fields related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics. Guest speaker Dr Bonnie J. Dunbar, a retired Nasa astronaut who holds doctorates in mechanical and biomedical engineering, told university students how her engineering education prepared her to fly on five space shuttle missions and for a successful career in the aerospace industry. A session was held at Qatar Aeronautical College, and Texas A&M University at Qatar hosted a session for students throughout Qatar Education City. Expanding the lecture circuit, Boeing also brought Dunbar to the Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Academy for Youth in Primary through senior schools. “It’s important to reach students at an early age to open their eyes to the possibilities technical careers offer and emphasise the importance of strong math and science skills in pursuing their dreams,” said Dunbar, who as executive director of Wings Over Washington – an affiliate of the Seattle-based Museum of Flight – is focused on bringing more youth into engineering. “It’s equally important to connect with students who are close to entering the workforce to provide continued encouragement, share practical experiences and engage in dialogue about the importance of balancing strong technical and leadership skills with real-world learning experiences.” Director general of Qatar Aeronautical College, Ali Ibrahim al-Malki, said the school’s students benefit from such interactions. “Our students are just beginning their career in aviation and are mastering the knowledge and skills of flight, engineering and related disciplines,” Al-Malki said. “Having a guest speaker like Dr Dunbar, who spent a combined 50 days in space, is an exciting reminder of why they are working so hard to become a part of this industry. Our female students especially found her message to be inspirational.” Boeing launched the guest lecture series in Qatar in January with inaugural speaker Don Winter, vice president of Flight and Systems Technologies, Boeing Research & Technology. Winter discussed globalisation trends in aerospace research and development and how Boeing is working to bring new, creative ideas to market. The series will continue throughout 2011 with other guest lecturers to be announced. “As a global leader in aerospace, Boeing recognises the importance of cultivating science, technology, engineering and mathematics education and developing interest in technical careers,” said Mike Delong, Boeing’s Doha office lead and regional vice president of business development for Boeing Defence, Space & Security. “Qatar is a valued partner to Boeing across our commercial and defence businesses, and we are furthering our relationship through mutually beneficial education programmes that also support the goals of Qatar National Vision 2030.” Boeing’s relationship with Qatar extends across its business units. Today, the Boeing 777 is the flagship aircraft of the Qatar Airways fleet with 24 airplanes in service and three more 777s ordered. The airline also has ordered 30 Boeing 787 Dreamliners. Additionally, Boeing supports the airline through its field services office, pilot training programmes, airline planning seminars and employee training programmes. Boeing delivered two C-17 Globemaster III airlifters, the world’s leading airlifter, to the Qatar Emiri Air Force in August and September 2009. The Air Force has used the C-17s to provide vital humanitarian aid around the world in the aftermath of natural disasters, including recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.