Close to 100 participants rallied to develop STEM-based projects with community groups in Singapore to deliver impact for their beneficiaries
Science Centre Singapore today celebrates the culmination of the second Think Big, Youth Science Ambassador Programme, a key tenet of the Centre’s commitment to the Youth Science Movement. Organised annually in collaboration with the Tay Eng Soon Endowment managed by Temasek Foundation, and also with Amazon Web Services (AWS) from 2020, the initiative seeks to equip young Singaporeans with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills to create solutions to address some of the real-world challenges faced by social service organisations in catering to the needs of their beneficiaries.
Close to 100 youth across 15 schools participated in the two-month-long programme, from October to November 2020. The Youth Science Ambassadors, aged 13 to 15, were mentored through workshops in design thinking and science communication, and worked on community projects in collaboration with volunteer centre, Loving Heart, and social service agency, Association for Persons with Special Needs (APSN).
Working together with science educators from Science Centre Singapore and STEM Inc, the Ambassadors attended virtual community visits to understand the pain points of Loving Heart’s and APSN’s beneficiaries, and undertook masterclasses on problem-solving, solution-ideating, value proposition and prototyping. 19 projects emerged from the programme, including a personal device for seniors living alone to seek aid in the event of an accident via a micro:bit-powered bracelet, and a book-reading and tracking mobile application for special needs children with different proficiencies in grasping the written word.
In an award ceremony today, ten Ambassadors were recognised for their outstanding contributions in project prototyping and presentation, and received the Amazon Future Engineer Bursary Award, given out for the first time this year. Amazon Future Engineer is a comprehensive programme designed to inspire, educate and prepare children and young adults to pursue computer science.
Associate Professor Lim Tit Meng, Chief Executive, Science Centre Board, said, “The impact of STEM is at its greatest when we apply scientific knowledge for the betterment of lives, and there’s no better place to start than in our own neighbourhoods, with the people closest to us. It is a privilege to work with Temasek Foundation and AWS to provide support for our community partners and the individuals that they support, through new and innovative ideas developed by bright and brilliant young minds. Our mission at the Science Centre has always been to nurture generations of critical thinkers and tinkers, and we are proud that the Think Big, Youth Science Ambassador Programme is actively enabling our youth in Singapore to use STEM to make a real difference in their community.”
The programme builds on the success of the inaugural class of close to 100 Youth Science Ambassadors coming from 17 schools in 2019. The inaugural class contributed close to 5,000 hours of community service to engage with close to 17,000 of their peers and spread their passion in STEM for their education and career. The 2019 team from Damai Secondary School also won the Gold medal at the 4th International Invention Innovation Competition in Canada (iCAN). The only Singapore team to have won a medal at iCAN against close to 400 teams from 50 countries, they developed a personal assistant interactive prototype using augmented reality to give the elderly living with dementia timely prompts and reminders on their daily tasks, medicine intake, etc.
Ms Koh Lin-Net, Chief Executive, Temasek Foundation Nurtures, said, “Science is a powerful tool to transform the lives of individuals and communities, but it can be intimidating to many youths, especially those who lack access to or confidence in the subject matter. Through opportunities provided by this programme and others supported by Temasek Foundation, we hope our youths can not just excel in using science, but also spread the passion, and get energised to drive positive change around them.”
“At AWS, we are committed to helping children and young adults gain access to the resources and skills they need to build a great future,” said Tan Lee Chew, Managing Director for ASEAN, Worldwide Public Sector, Amazon Web Services. “Through our collaboration with Science Centre Singapore and Temasek Foundation, we are thrilled to empower the next generation to explore a future in technology. Congratulations to all the participants of the Youth Science Ambassadors Programme.”
Select projects by youth in the programme will be further developed by community partners and scaled up for implementation, with a view to empower their beneficiaries in the long term.
For more information on the Think Big, Youth Science Ambassador Programme, please visit: https://www.science.edu.sg/join-us/youth-science-ambassador-programme.