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Hands Across the Sea: Lessons Learned from the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Experience in the State of Qatar

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2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition


Salt Lake City, Utah

Publication Date

June 23, 2018

Start Date

June 23, 2018

End Date

July 27, 2018

Conference Session

ET Peripherals

Tagged Division

Engineering Technology

Tagged Topic


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Paper Authors


Nasser Alaraje Michigan Technological University

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Dr. Alaraje is a Professor and Program Chair of Electrical Engineering Technology in the School of Technology at Michigan Tech. Prior to his faculty appointment, he was employed by Lucent Technologies as a hardware design engineer, from 1997- 2002, and by vLogix as chief hardware design engineer, from 2002-2004. Dr. Alaraje’s research interests focus on processor architecture, System-on-Chip design methodology, Field-Programmable Logic Array (FPGA) architecture and design methodology, Engineering Technology Education, and hardware description language modeling. Dr. Alaraje is a 2013-2014 Fulbright scholarship recipient at Qatar University, where he taught courses on Embedded Systems. Additionally, Dr. Alaraje is a recipient of an NSF award for a digital logic design curriculum revision in collaboration with the College of Lake County in Illinois, and a NSF award in collaboration with the University of New Mexico, Drake State Technical College, and Chandler-Gilbert Community College. The award focused on expanding outreach activities to increase the awareness of potential college students about career opportunities in electronics technologies. Dr. Alaraje is a member of the American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE), a member of the ASEE Electrical and Computer Engineering Division, a member of the ASEE Engineering Technology Division, a senior member of the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE), and a member of the Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology Department Heads Association (ECETDHA).

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Mohammed Sayer Elaraj Alaqsa University

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Mohammed Sayer Elaraj is currently a faculty member at Alaqsa University, before joining Alaqsa University, he was the Dean of the University College of Science and Technology and the Director of Technical and Vocational Education at the Ministry of Higher Education. Dr. Elaraj’s research interests include advancing STEM education.

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Considering the impacts of ongoing globalization, it is important for researchers and educators to have dialogue and collaboration with counterparts around the world. This has been facilitated through a US Fulbright Scholar program Experience in State of Qatar. The US Fulbright Scholar program sends approximately 1,100 American scholars and professionals per year to approximately 125 countries, where they lecture and/or conduct research in a wide variety of academic and professional fields. It was established in 1946 under legislation introduced by the late Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas. The program's purpose is to build mutual understanding between people of the United States and the rest of the world. My experience as a US Fulbright Scholar Program at host institution involved teaching, outreach and exploring partnership with academic institutions in the host country, and education research. The teaching component involves development and delivery of a course on Embedded Systems design for engineering students. As a result, these graduating students were better prepared for the workforce with current skills needed by industry. The strategies were designed to bring the recent technologies in embedded systems used worldwide in industry to the classroom to allow instructors to teach theory with new and industry-relevant tools. An engineering education research phase explored the reasons, challenges and motivations for considering Engineering as career among Electrical engineering both male and female students, it will help us to better understand the experiences of female engineering students in the Electrical Engineering Department at The Host University. The purpose of this engineering education research project was to propose thoughts that may help balance the gender gap in STEM fields and increase the representation of female students, mainly in engineering majors in US, based on the lessons learned from The Host University Study.

Qatar is an ideal country to expand my international experience because, within the Middle East, Qatar is one of the most socially advanced and politically stable countries; therefore, it is an ideal hub for collaborative education and research activities in the region. Qatar has placed a great emphasis on education. Qatar is currently considered as a hub for science, engineering and technology education in the Middle East and gulf region, through the support of the Qatar Foundation. In addition, a number of leading US universities have branch campuses in Qatar Education City. With the establishment of the Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) in 2004, Qatar has the first (and only one in the region) science park that links academia with industry, facilitating and promoting technology-based industries. QSTP is considered an international hub for applied research, innovation, and entrepreneurship. The purpose of this paper is to discuss my experience as a US Fulbright Scholar that involved teaching, outreach, and research in engineering and engineering technology education. Additionally, I will discuss the planning phase, the experience and challenges of living in the host country. I will also discuss the differences and similarities of engineering and engineering technology education in the United States and State of Qatar. Finally, I will discuss the potential benefits and challenges to both professional and personal development from such an experience.

Alaraje, N., & Elaraj, M. S. (2018, June), Hands Across the Sea: Lessons Learned from the U.S. Fulbright Scholar Experience in the State of Qatar Paper presented at 2018 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition , Salt Lake City, Utah. 10.18260/1-2--30568

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