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11 Palestinian Ambassadors of Science and Technology
For the Fourth Consecutive Year, and with Participation from Gaza Strip,
Al Nayzak Announces the Winners of Palestinian Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Program (S.T.E.P) 2016
Ramallah: Al Nayzak Organization for Supportive Education and Scientific Innovation, under the auspices of Palestinian Prime Minister Dr. Rami Hamdallah, and in partnership with the Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence, the Smithsonian Institute, the University of Maryland and NASA Agency, and with funding by the American Consulate General in Jerusalem, announced the winners of the Palestinian Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Program - S.T.E.P. 2016.
The grand ceremony  concluded a two-day exhibition at the Palestinian Red Crescent Society - Al Bireh, where 53 student participants showcased their innovative projects to crowds of visitors. The ceremony honoured 39 teachers whose projects excelled through the Science Teachers Excellence in Practice program, which was launched this year, targeting Palestinian Science, Technology, and Mathematics teachers from the West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza.
The winners were announced in an awards ceremony that was attended by His Excellency Dr. Allam Mousa, Minister of Communication and Information Technology and representative of Dr. Rami Hamdallah; His Excellency Dr. Sabri Saidam, minister of of Education and Higher Education; His Excellency Mr. Donald Blome, U.S. Consul General in Jerusalem; Eng. Adnan Samara, Advisor of Innovation & Excellence to the Palestinian President and chairman of The Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence; His Excellency Dr. Basri Saleh,  Deputy Minister- Ministry of Education and Higher Education; Dr. Jawad Al Naji, Prime Minister Consultant for Arab Funds, Ms. Mahra Al-Jamal, Middle District Director for the Higher Council for Youth and Sports; Eng. Aref Husseini, Founder and Chair of Board of Al Nayzak Organization. Attendants also included numerous dignitaries, directors of education Directorates, members of the national judging committee, representatives of civil and national organization, school teachers and principals and students’ families. The ceremony was also attended by a group of students and teachers from Gaza.
In his speech during the awards ceremony, Eng. Aref Husseini expressed feelings of pride with participating students and their innovative project. Husseini further praised the achievements of teachers who participated in the Science Teacher Excellence in Practice program, and their entrepreneurial role in progressing the educational process in Palestine and their efforts in building future leaders and scientists.
His Excellency the U.S. Consul General to Jerusalem Mr. Donald Blome indicated his delight with attending the final ceremony of the Scientific and Technological Entrepreneurship Program, and Science Teachers Excellence in Practice Program, as well as the U.S. consulate pride with sponsoring the program for the fourth year in a row. Furthermore, he expressed his strong admiration for the variety of entrepreneurial projects which participated in the program, praising student and teacher abilities and distinguished skills. The Consul concluded by recognizing all those who contributed to the success of these innovative ideas and helping transform it into projects.
While Eng. Adnan Samara offered his gratitude to Al Nayzak, the U.S. Consulate general, and the Smithsonian Institute for their diligent work for the success of this program, the arrival of projects to this stage, and their qualifications to represent Palestine at NASA agency. He further indicated the significance of youth initiatives in science and technology in promoting Palestine in international platforms. He also asserted the active role played by the Higher Council for Innovation and Excellence in developing and promoting student innovative ideas which generate such positive results on the path of building the Palestinian state and its institutes, overcoming difficulties, and investing in opportunities that will achieve the people’s will.
On his part, His Excellency Dr. Sabri Seidam commended the role of students and teachers who are outlining a new miracle in Palestinian education, and asserted his pride with the Palestinian people whom are filled with limitless determination which achieves distinguished accomplishments and crowns hard work with knowledge and production.
His Excellency Dr. Allam Mousa expressed his pride, and that of Dr. Hamdallah, with the achievements of our students and teachers. He further praised the role of innovative teachers in supporting the journey of education and their consistent encouragement of students to excel and innovate. Dr. Mousa also conveyed his pride with Palestine and its innovative children in a variety of fields, praising them as the cornerstone of our future and its development.
In addition to the official STEP 2016 winners, 9 students were announced as the winners of the public vote for their outstanding excellence.
11 students were announced as the winners of STEP, and will be joining the Palestinian delegation to the United States this coming August for a specialized training program in science, space, engineering and physics at the National Air and Space Museum and NASA agency:
Winning the first place was student Alaa’ Abu Salameh from Mohammad Bn Rashed Al Maktoum School in Ramallah, for his project The Multi-use examination device, supervised by teacher Dania Samer. In the second place, student Omeyma Sbeih from Al-Khdeir Secondary School for girls from Beithlahem, for her project Life Elixir. In third place, student Jihad Mala’bi from Al-Ibrahimia School in Jerusalem, for his project Preventing Car Deterioration. In fourth place, student Marah Anabtawi from Anabta Secondary School in Tulkarem, for her project Speak to your Body Application, supervised by teacher Tahani Abu Riya. In fifth place, student Hanin Al-Dajani from Al-Eman Secondary School for girls in Jerusalem, for her project Fast Car Park, supervised by teacher Wisam Abu Hidwan. In sixth place, student Jamal Awad from the Arab Academy School in Jerusalem, for his project Electronic Elections, supervised by teacher Abdel Rahman Oweisat. In seventh place, student Amal Shawabka from Al-Fwar Primary School for Girls, for her project No to Vehicle Skidding, supervised by teacher Muna Rasras. In eighth place, student Masa Saboube from Anabta Secondary School for Girls in Anabta, for her project Your Health Alarm, supervised by teacher Tahani Abu-Raya. In ninth place, student Isra’ Al-Anati from Turkish Secondary School for girls in Ramallah, for her project The Sixth Sense, supervised by teacher Haifa Al-Mady. In tenth place, student Khalid Shihada from Al-Taqwa Secondary School for Boys in Gaza for his project Application for Building a Robot. In eleventh place, student Tala A’rnouth from Rosary Sisters School in Jerusalem for her project Emergency Assistance, supervised by teacher Noora Kamal.
The Palestinian Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Program (S.T.E.P.) 2016 was launched through a series of introductory workshops earlier in January 2015. After more than 9,000 students from 195 schools attended workshops, the number of applicants for the program reached 785 students with 785 projects from nine governorates. The application process was followed by a period of training and technical support, as well as several local competitions to select qualified participants for the national exhibition and competition. Out of 191 students who participated in local competitions, 53 innovative projects qualified to participate in the national exhibition and competition. The participating projects went through an assessment process based on international standards of evaluation for innovative scientific and technological projects.
The Science and Technology Entrepreneurship Program (S.T.E.P.) supports Palestinian students who have innovative project and research ideas in varied fields of applied science, engineering, and technology. Through the program, which targets students in ninth to eleventh grades, Al Nayzak’s scientific team train participating students to prepare and engage in a national competition and exhibition. The Science Teachers Excellence in Practice Program aims to incubate teacher’s innovative ideas, develop and document them to further enhance teaching methods in Palestinian schools.
This program is funded by the American Consulate General in Jerusalem, and is conducted in partnership with the Higher Council of Innovation and Excellence, and the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum-Washington D.C.