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Riffa Views International School and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) host a successful MISTI Program

By Ken Davis
Director of Marketing and Admissions
Published: 2023-02-02 06:51:26

Riffa Views International School (RVIS) proudly hosted MIT's International Science and Technology Initiative (MISTI) in its innovation center LEVEL 5. Co-sponsored with the U.S. Embassy, Manama, the workshop was the first of its kind in the GCC and laid a foundation for future collaborations among MIT, RVIS, the U.S. Embassy and the Kingdom of Bahrain.


The program was initiated and co-founded by three graduate MIT Bahraini students, Marwa Al Alawi (MIT Mechanical Engineering, PhD), Maryam Al Jomairi (Doctoral Candidate at Harvard and Fulbright alumna), and Latifa Al Khayat (Graduate student at MIT Architecture) as a way to enrich Bahrain's scientific and educational communities by promoting cultural and scientific exchange between Bahraini educational institutions, faculty and students with MIT, and formulate a multidisciplinary model of education and practice.


With the guidance of four MIT instructors, Kristan Hilby, Masarah Abdulhussein, Maxwell Yun, and Ngima Hyolmo, and the supervision of LEVEL 5's manager, Mr. Zahi Wehbe, twenty high school students from RVIS and three other private schools in Bahrain engaged in a wide-variety of engineering and innovative practices that allowed participants to develop essential field related skills including 3D digital modeling, rapid prototyping using specialized fabrication tools such as 3D printers and laser engravers. These skills were then applied to the field of robotics, where students programmed and built robots that were able to distinguish between colors, grasp objects, and launch projectiles.


The showcase was attended by Dr Sana Al-Haddad, Assistant Undersecretary for Strategies and Performance at the Ministry of Education, Mr. David Brownstein, the Deputy Chief of Mission at the U.S. Embassy, and Mr. Hasan Noor, the Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Nasser Vocational Training Center.


Kristan Hilby, a fourth year PhD student and one of four MIT instructors at the workshop reflected on the experience stating, “We introduced the students to a wide-variety of engineering and robotics tasks designed to challenge their thinking and problem solving skills. The determination and energy they brought to each project has deepened my passion for teaching.”


Throughout the event students also heard from Bahraini MIT alumni to understand their career path, learn about their experiences at MIT, and find inspiration in life lessons they have learned post-high school. The alumni included Ali Almossawi, currently a Senior Engineering Manager in Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning at Apple in San Francisco, and Dawood Rouben, a licensed architect who is currently a real estate developer in Austin, Texas.


Duaji Al Khalifa, a grade 12 student at RVIS stated, “This workshop has renewed my interest in engineering and hearing from the MIT Alumni and their successes helped me realize that a university of that caliber is within my reach. My time in the workshop has been a great experience and something I will always remember”.


David Dolev, the Associate Director of the MIT Global Teaching initiative, ended his trip to Bahrain stating, “Seeing the incredible work being done with students across the kingdom and the excitement and learning that is so clear- I know that this is just the first step of MIT and Bahrain engagement that will blossom in the years ahead.”


The MIT instructors will move their workshop to the American University of Bahrain, where they will run a similar workshop for university and government school students in Bahrain. They will also administer a two-day workshop for students via the Ministry of Youth Affairs.

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