Carnegie Mellon University

C-MITES Goes Global


C-MITES Goes Global

Six Students Traveled From Qatar To Participate in C-MITES

Every summer Matt Anticole, an instructor in C-MITES, Carnegie Mellon’s Institute for Talented Elementary and Secondary Students, plays a game in his “Amusement Park Physics” Workshop in which the winner is the student who traveled the farthest to participate. This summer he said a student from Cleveland would’ve normally won if not for three fifth-graders who traveled 8,000 miles from Doha, Qatar.

C-MITESQThe three students in his workshop, Fayadh Kabir, Sahana Kanabar and Al Jazi Al-Thani, and three schoolmates from the Qatar Academy, a K-12 school in Education City, spent two weeks at Carnegie Mellon and Pittsburgh in early July participating in C-MITES workshops and the Athletic Department’s FITT Camp, where they enjoyed swimming tennis, hiking, racquetball, volleyball, golf and basketball.

With side trips to the Carnegie Science Center, the Carnegie museums, the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium, Kennywood Park and a Pirates baseball game, they got quite a workout, mentally, physically and culturally.

In the morning the gifted students from the Qatar Academy’s Talents in Ability, Aptitude, Achievement and Performance (TAP) program, took part in C-MITES workshops.

“I learned a lot about physics,” Kabir said. “We learned about circular motion and the three laws of Newton and how they explained the entire universe. It’s an enjoyable class.”

In addition to “Amusement Park Physics,” which included a field trip to Kennywood, some students enrolled in “Bridge Boom” and “Programming Using Alice.” 

In “Programming Using Alice,” Tanya Shibu and Taran Kanabar learned computer-programming skills by telling fun and creative stories using the 3-D Alice software. They also learned traditional computer program­ming concepts, such as loops, nesting, if/else statements and functions.

C-MITESKennywoodIn “Bridge Boom,” third-grader Mursi Surag learned about the bridges in Pittsburgh.

“I liked the building bridges part,” Surag said. “I made it out of K’Nex (toys) and called it ‘Fort Cable.’”

The students, who were funded by the Qatar Foundation, were accompanied on the trip to Pittsburgh by their parents and siblings, who were impressed with the workshops, fitness camp and Pittsburgh.

“The program has been excellent,” said Paula Brunning, mother of Sahana and Taran Kanabar. “From the first day they came home with lots of enthusiasm. Taran was extremely excited to show what he’s been doing. This is our first time to Pittsburgh and I’m really impressed,” she said.

“She’s enjoyed her stay and she enjoyed her lessons,” said Rooma Shibu, mother of Tanya Shibu. “It’s been good exposure for her to meet different kids. She found the Alice programming a bit challenging, but that’s the idea. She has to push herself.”

Khalid Surag, father of Mursi, said he hopes to have a C-MITES program in Doha, and Judy Hallinen said that could be a possibility.

“It’s something we’ll be exploring with the Qatar Academy and CMU-Q,” said Hallinen, director of the Leonard Gelfand Center for Service Learning and Outreach, which has served as host for the families.

In the meantime, students from Qatar would be welcome back next summer.

“We’re going to evaluate the comments from the families. It’s been a very positive experience. They say they would recommend the program to others. It there’s an opportunity to do this next year, we’d be happy to continue the partnership,” she said.

C-MITES, in its 19th year, offers challenging programs for academically gifted students who have completed grades 3 through 8. The enrichment curriculum complements what students have studied in school in mathematics, science and the humanities. Activities used in the courses have been recommended by the National Council of Teachers and Mathematics, the National Science Teachers Association and the National Council of Teachers of English. Nearly 5,000 students participate in C-MITES each year.

For more on C-MITES, visit

For more on the Gelfand Center, visit

Pictured in the top photo are the six students from Qatar. They are (l-r) Mursi Surag, Taran Kanabar, Fayadh Kabir, Sahana Kanabar, Al Jazi Al-Thani and Tanya Shibu.

Pictured in the bottom photo are Mursi Surag and his family riding the Logjammer at Kennywood Park.

Bruce Gerson