Thursday, May 10, 2012

Better World NGO @ Civic Engagement Day - AUC

Society isn't free of errors that haunt us till this very moment. They range from social, environmental to economic reasons, and are rather not easy to address. This is where Civic Engagement comes in.

Better World's Booth
In short, it is the act of identifying a public problem and addressing it, and thus serving our society. the Civic Engagement Day at the American University in Cairo (AUC) is an event designed to provide awareness to the possibility of helping  the society through means that are not limited to donations. The event was organized by the Gerhart Youth Leadership Program and involved 19 participating NGOs, including the one I work at, Better World.

This is an organization that started on 2006 with the idea of closing the gap between skilled graduates and those unfortunate not to receive education. Founded and run by students of different nationalities, it focuses on four aspects:
  1. Delivering the required knowledge for today's job markets at minimal prices. (That cover the cost of the semester-long course)
  2. Analyzing today's social matters and formulating a solution.
  3. Researching environmental issues and also formulating a solution.
  4. Providing entrepreurial training and consultancy.
Banners to attract attention
We were there to aware students of our cause and recruit them, or even form partnerships with other participating NGOs. I came up with an idea of writing small banners with "Volunteering opportunities" and "Support for entrepreneurial ideas" (Pictured), which I believe attracted attention and helped contribute in the 35 contacts we obtained for recruiting! We all did a great job when talking to people and conducting interviews. I believe we were the most successful organization there as we were the last to leave and I think the most interacted with as well.

There was actually a session that introduced two things: A masters degree in Community Psychology and a beta website (http://www.ngotoolbox.org/) which gives NGOs the resources they need to better understand the local communities. Believe it or not, the big news for me here is not the latter, I'm actually hooked by the idea of community psychology. You have to think about it, imagine contributing to society with the help of engineering knowledge? In other words, wouldn't it be great if we initiated an NGO that builds cheaper electronics for education in rural areas? Wouldn't it be great if we made development easier to understand for everyone to learn and make use of? It's about REAL technological advancement in society.

Last but not least, I would love to thank my team for their hard work, deeply thank our director H. Amin; Better World has been the true starting point of my success, and what it's given me is priceless! I'd also like to thank the AUC for inviting us over. Let this be a true starting point for true engineering!

Allow me to add that the AUC campus is phenomenal!

AUC Library at night

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

MIC - A chance to think outside of the planet

Finally I managed to blog about this! On 9/4/2012, the IEEE MSA Student Branch hosted an introductory session about an international contest called MIC. The session was given by me and my friend and colleague, Murtaza. So, what is MIC?

Before we get to that, we must first define a nano-satellite. As most of you reading might have guessed, it's a smaller version of a normal satellite. But in reality, the definition goes beyond that; it's a satellite that is not only smaller, but impressively lighter (50 Kg or less) and much cheaper to build and deploy. The use of nano-satellites is becoming a new trend among space engineering firms around the globe due to their merits. It is worth mentioning that owing to their small size, their scope of functionality is limited and thus they are used for specific mission objectives.

Now back to our original talk, MIC is short for Mission Idea Contest and it is a global contest in which you propose an idea for a nano-satellite mission. If you are generally interested in space engineering and want to put your ideas in space, this is a chance for you to pitch your thoughts and compete against institutions and organizations worldwide, all for the sake of improving life and taking space engineering to a whole new level. There are many reasons why to take up the challenge:



  • Improving brain-storming and team-work skills.
  • Engaging in the field of space engineering.
  • Competing internationally with other universities and entities worldwide.
  • Free tickets to Japan for finalists.
  • Student award.
  • Possibility of presenting your ideas at the 4th Nano-Satellite Symposium in Japan.
  • It does not cost anything!
  • CV
  • Most importantly, contributing to your country with your knowledge and hard work.

The session had a great impact on those who attended; they learned about nano-satellites and became aware of an opportunity for space engineering. Feeling the urge to think outside of the planet? Check out www.spacemic.net for more information about the contest and submission. The deadline is 11/5/2012!

Me and Murtaza
I would like to thank Murtaza, my colleague and friend, for partnering with me during the session, S. Gafar for her enormous efforts in organizing this session, Professor Hennawey, our head of department, for giving us the permission to make the session, and those who attended not to see their friends speak, but to get a step closer to fulfilling their passion for engineering.

Me and Murtaza are available for help if needed ;)