Texas A&M University at Qatar recently held a celebratory dinner and ceremony for eight employees of Qatar Petrochemical Company ( QAPCO ) that completed the University's five-month community education program, titled the OASIS Quest Program, which prepares professionals to pursue university degrees in the middle of their careers. The program targets adults who have been out of school for a number of years and are seeking to return to school and earn a university degree. The inaugural course consisted of classes to improve performance on university entrance exams, the ACT and IELTS, and prepare participants to succeed in university if accepted. The course did not, however, guarantee acceptance to Texas A&M at Qatar, as admissions are decided on a competitive basis.
Eight successful candidates were lauded at the ceremony for completing the program and separately earning acceptance into Texas A&M at Qatar's academic programs. The successful candidates included Abdul Wahab Alajii, Ahmad Mohammed Al Salem, Ali Abidulla Al Braidi, Hassan Al-Mohammadi, Jalal Ahmed Al Hebail, Jassem Altamimi, Khalifa Ali Ismail, Saleh Yaslam A. Kaladi and Yousef Al Ibrahim.
Human resources management from QAPCO attended the event to recognize the employees for their success.
Nasser Al Hajri, human resources and learning manager at QAPCO , expressed his pride in the achievements of the course participants, saying, "It is truly a great accomplishment that you have finished this Quest program. You have worked hard and shown true determination. On behalf of QAPCO management and staff, I would like to say how proud we are of you. I would also like to thank Texas A&M at Qatar and its Office of Academic Supplemental Instruction Services (OASIS) for providing all the necessary support and encouragement. This program has provided a real learning solution that will, I am sure, help many more QAPCO staff prepare themselves for the challenges of studying at the university level."
Representatives from Texas A&M at Qatar, including the OASIS Quest Program's director, coordinator and instructors, were also in attendance.
Dr. Cynthia Howman Wood, assistant dean for admissions and student affairs at the University, announced that all eight of the candidates had been accepted to attend Texas A&M at Qatar this fall.
After being out of school for up to 15 years, the program participants worked throughout the course to raise their skill levels, particularly in English and mathematics, to be competitive in the University's admissions process. They say the Quest program enabled them to develop their skills and confidence, preparing them to succeed in applying to university and pursuing a university-level degree.
Al Salem, one of the participants, said, "Before this program, I could write 20 or 30 words at most. Now I can write 300 words with no problem, and I feel confident about my writing."
Another participant, Al Hebail, added, "This class has been very useful for me. My math knowledge has been refreshed so that when I enter Texas A&M at Qatar, it will not be something unknown. I will have a strong background from this class."
Liticia Salter, director of the University's OASIS and course organizer, is excited to see the success of this program and positive impact it has had on the participants' educational opportunities.
"Up until now, the emphasis in Qatar has been on moving students of traditional ages - 18 to 21 years old - into higher education institutions," Salter said. "We are now beginning to realize some Qatari working professionals are recognizing the need for a degree in higher education in order to be promoted to senior management level. It is exciting to see companies encouraging their valuable employees to go back to school and earn college degrees so that they can progress in their careers."
A university degree is the only thing standing in the way of these professionals' promotion to higher positions at QAPCO , and Texas A&M at Qatar's OASIS Quest Program has opened the door for them to pursue this goal. As they begin classes at Texas A&M at Qatar in September, Al Salem, Al Hebail and their classmates will carry with them a strong foundation in the skills needed to succeed in a world-class engineering university.