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First Arab Female Student Wins NASA Competition

posted on: Aug 5, 2016

Middle East Monitor


A Jordanian university student has won a NASA competition to become the first Arab female student to win the prestigious award which includes a six month training programme at the US agency.

Ayat Amer, a fourth year student at the Faculty of Computer Engineering in the Hashemite University, told the Huffington Post Arabic that she wanted to partake in the competition last year but did not have the financial ability to travel to the US or buy required tools to complete the project.

However, after winning a scholarship to study at Stanford University for one year, Ayat was able to propose her project under a NASA programme to choose 15 innovative ideas to develop.

Ayat’s proposed to explore planet Pluto with its frozen surface water was unlike the rest of the projects which focused on exploring the moon or Mars.
In June, Ayat received a response from NASA telling her that she was among the competition winners.

“The Stanford scholarship has helped me a lot to enter the United States and communicate directly with the US space agency,” she said.

Speaking of her experience living in America, Ayat said: “People in the street do not know I am Muslim because I do not wear the veil, but when they talk to me and know that I am an Arab some people change the way they deal with me.”

“I used to live with three girls but after the Orlando massacre they changed the way they treated me, but I explained to them how a person’s nationality does not determine whether he will be violent or not and that in every society there is good and bad.”

“Travel and self-development is very important for any human being. I hope that every young Arab tries to explore different communities and develop themselves.”