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LAU student invents zucchini corer and competes on TV program

[photo]
Rania Bou Jaoudeh as she received the news that she was selected among twelve competitors who would develop their inventions while appearing on the MBC reality competition show ‘Stars of Science’.

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October 10, 2014—

“I was inspired to enter the reality talent show at the suggestion of my professor of ergonomics Dr. Ramy Harik,” says Bou Jaoudeh, a fourth year student in Industrial Engineering. “I really enjoyed the class and began to look around my kitchen, where my family and I spend a lot of time together, in search of a possible project.”

Following methods she had learned during the ergonomics course, Bou Jaoudeh studied the effects of the manual process of coring zucchinis on the body. “It has a very negative impact on the body, so I decided to go to the Beirut casting of ‘Stars of Science’ and propose an automated zucchini corer.”

The show’s panel of judges was impressed by her idea and Bou Jaoudeh found herself among twelve budding scientists invited to spend the spring in Doha where the show is filmed. “It was a wonderful experience, meeting and spending time with the other contestants from all over the Arab world. I learned about other cultures and approaches and I certainly learned a lot in the lab.”

In the first round, the twelve shortlisted contestants were split into three groups of four to develop the engineering aspects of their proposed inventions under the guidance of qualified mentors. Bou Joudeh was in the group working in the red lab, whose challenges and experiences you can watch daily on MBC4 starting this Sunday 12 October.

The six inventors whose work and product impress the judges most will move on to the design phase of the competition.  Whether or not Bou Joudeh made it through will be revealed in the prime series of the red lab, at 8 p.m. on Saturday 18 October.

All episodes aired ahead of the live finales, which begin on 9 November, were filmed in Doha in the Spring, which meant Bou Jaoudeh had to put her studies at LAU on hold for one semester. “I studied for some courses while in Doha, but had I not gone there I would be graduating this fall instead of next summer.”

The LAU student has no regrets. “The opportunity was wonderful, and as our dean [of the School of Engineering] Dr. Nasr told me, such opportunities must be grabbed when they appear before you.”

Bou Jaoudeh was inspired by fellow Lebanese scientists Hind Hobeika and Ziad Sankari, who won places in the top four in the second and third seasons of ‘Stars of Science’ respectively. Whether Bou Jaoudeh will follow in Hobeika’s and Sankari’s footsteps and stand on the winners’ podium this year remains to be seen, but the experience of being on the show is one she will never forget. “The judges were harsh but fair, and I could never have developed my product the way I did without the help and guidance of the mentors. It truly is an inspiring show that offers so many opportunities.”

Follow Rania Bou Jaoudeh as she develops her zucchini corer in the red lab daily at 4:30pm local time from Sunday 14 October on MBC4. Whether she is among the six who make it through to the design phase will be announced at 8 p.m. on Saturday 18 October.

Watch the moment when Rania Bou Jaoudeh received the news that she was selected among the twelve competitors to travel to Doha to develop her invention and appear on the reality competition show ‘Stars of Science’.


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