Engineering and entrepreneurial spirit in furniture design

May 15, 2023

Junior Engineering Academy participants from DISD produce innovative seating furniture for their school at Zayed University.

Sanding, milling, planing: at a furniture design workshop with the renowned Zayed University in Dubai, eleven student*innen of the DISD got to live out their engineering spirit. The project is part of the Junior Engineer Academy (JIA) of the German Telecom Foundation, a technology-oriented elective for German high schools. The JIA promotes young people with an interest in science and technology. The aim is to get young people interested in engineering as a career and to link schools with industry and science. More than 100 schools are supported nationwide. The DISD is one of the few German schools abroad that is supported within the framework of the JIA.

At DISD, the JIA is offered under the direction of Sara Karwounopoulos, teacher for physics and chemistry, for students of the 8th grade. In collaboration with DISD art teachers Dr. Barbara Mayrhofer-Diaw and Walaa Tawfik and Professor Thorsten Lomker of Zayed University, the young engineers developed a very special piece of seating furniture in a three-day workshop. In the university's technology lab, 3D models were first designed by computer. Sustainability and innovation were the focus of the design process. The designs were then realized using MDF boards and a laser cutter, sanding equipment and glue.

Project manager Ms. Karwounopoulos was enthusiastic about the entrepreneurial spirit of her student students: "All of them were extremely motivated to work on product manufacturing. The focus of this project was on the practical application of skills and abilities. The students were allowed to flex and sand themselves." Art teacher Dr. Mayrhofer-Diaw praised the strengthening of the interface between STEM and design: "It is our goal to continue to provide students with such valuable and hands-on experiences."

For the project participants, the practical experience in the well-equipped laboratory was more than just a welcome change from their daily school routine. "Professor Lomker taught us a lot, which we would not have learned in our school lessons," reported Araz from 8a.

The valuable new piece of furniture was donated to the DISD by the university. On the last day of the workshop, all participants were also allowed to make a small 3D laser object each and take it home as a souvenir.

The DISD would like to thank Professor Lomker and his assistant Oliver for the great cooperation and support and is already looking forward to further joint projects in the field of STEM (Mathematics Informatics Natural Sciences Technology).

The new piece of furniture now decorates our Bibliothopia.