Girls come out on top in NXplorers UAE competition

On 4th March 2024, eight qualifying teams from across Abu Dhabi, Dubai and Sharjah gathered in the Shell offices at the World Trade Center for the final NXplorers competition.

The finale was the culmination of a six-month journey that started in September 2023 with 14 participating teams representing the dynamic makeup of the UAE.

Through the course of the competition, schools worked on innovative projects to solve food, water and energy related challenges in the environments around them. Their ideas showed compassion, intelligence and a unique approach to problem solving. At the final event, these students impressed the judges with their positive ideas, innovation, courage and storytelling.

The competition final was judged by a panel of four judges from Shell – Sameh Moawad, Global Economic Consultant – Corporate, Strategy and Deal Making; Dr Jerome Ellepola, Senior Flow Assurance Engineer - Engineering Europe Upstream; Rebecca Taylor, SLMT Change & PMO Manager – BIA, and Theodora Paschoudi, Senior Strategy Advisor – Energy Transition at Shell. This highly prestigious event was also attended by Ali Al Janabi,Country Chairman Shell Group of Companies Iraq & UAE.

It’s been a really rewarding experience for me to come here and see all these young people and see their passion. What stands out to me in all their presentations is the combination of passion and compassion, said Dr Jerome Ellepola.

Students used the tools from the Shell Nxplorers programmes to help them get started with their ideas and stay the course on their respective journeys. "This journey has been eye opening and being part of a committee committed to shaping the future of sustainability has been truly rewarding. We increasingly anticipate contributing to a sustainable future," expressed the team from American Girls School Dubai.

The UAE has taken great strides to create excitement and interest in STEM among young women, and hence, it comes as no surprise that the three winning teams at the NXplorers competition ended up being all female teams.

The winning school, Dubai National School, Al Barsha, called their idea ‘Power Play’. Their energy solution consisted of installing panels in playgrounds to store energy generated by kinetic force. They felt this would be especially helpful in providing electricity to refugee camps.

Team Aqua Vite, from the American Academy for Girls, took second place, and their solution was trapping humidity and turning it into water.

Mystic Minds, the team from American School of Creative Science came in third with their idea to create trucks that could filter water on the go, especially in areas where people suffer from water pollution. In many of these areas, girls don't go to school because they have to travel long distances to fetch water for their families.

Reflecting on the event, both students and facilitators found it profoundly inspiring, and agreed it showcased the potential for today's generation to empower positive change and significantly improve the future world.

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