Curtin Malaysia IEEE student branch organises Science Challenge to promote innovation in schools

Miri – 29 November 2022 – The Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE) Curtin University Malaysia Student Branch recently hosted an IEEE Science Challenge for secondary school students in Northern Sarawak. It was aimed at enhancing interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) among the students.

The competition was supported by Curtin Malaysia’s Domestic Student Recruitment Department, IEEE Region 10 Women in Engineering (IEEE-WIE), TEGAS Community Innovative Learning (TCIL) and the Miri District Education Office (PPD Miri).

It involved three stages that required the students to use their science knowledge to build a prototype, pitch their ideas in English during a school science fair, and for the selected finalists, compete in a Northern Sarawak Grand Finale.

In the first stage, the students were required to form teams of between three to five members to develop science projects using scientific knowledge and principles learnt in their school studies. Furthermore, their projects had to address problems encountered in their daily lives. The objective was to encourage creativity and innovation in the development of practicable solutions to real-life problems.

In the second stage, each participating school had to conduct a science fair where a minimum of six teams per school were judged on the merits of their science projects developed in the first stage. Besides being a platform for choosing their three top teams to compete in the Grand Finale, the school science fairs were designed to encourage peer-to-peer learning among the schools’ students and generate a greater interest in STEM subjects.

A total of 12 teams were shortlisted to compete in the Grand Finale held at the Harry Perkins Lecture Theatre Foyer at Curtin Malaysia. Competition between the teams was keen and all teams showed considerable creativity and innovativeness in their projects, in addition to obvious teamwork and meticulous preparation.

The judges comprised lecturers Jameson Malang and Hii Kiew Ling from Curtin Malaysia’s School of Pre-U and Continuing Education (SPACE); and Young Professionals Committee Chair for IEEE Region 10 and representative of IEEE-WIE Dr. Saaveethya Sivakumar, who is also a lecturer in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Curtin Malaysia.

Four awards were presented to the winning teams, namely the Outstanding Inventors Award, Most Innovative Award, Best Pitching Award and Most Popular Innovators Award.

Coming out on top, winning the Outstanding Inventors Award, was team ‘Foodimer’ from SMK Lutong. The team comprised Lee Tone, Annesia Chong Kwan Xin and Nur Athirah Binti Abdullah. The team also won the Best Pitching Award for their “Foodimer’ project.

The Most Innovative Award went to team ‘Riam Voyager’ from SMK Riam comprising Jessica Rinai Rumji, Fernendez Anak Ujang and Christian Orlando Bauer for their project titled ‘Bubble T-zer’.

Another team from SMK Riam, ‘Ngene-21’ comprising Cheryl Elvira Andy, Gabriellyn Norwie Anak Guri and Helga Hurin Anyei, was second runner-up for the Best Idea Award for their ‘Bario Tutu Soap’ project. They were also second runner-up winner of the Outstanding Inventors Award.

The first runner-up was team ‘Nunchi’ from Knewton Global Schools Miri consisting of students Isyha Ilantharini A/P Arun Ilanthirayan, Christie Xin Ai Low and Zamathole Akemi Sithole.

Team Nunchi also won the Most Popular Innovators Award for their project titled ‘Designing a Buoyant Algae Collector to Reduce the Effects of Eutrophication’.

Dr. Saaveethya said she was proud to see students of the IEEE Curtin University Malaysia Student Branch organising such a competition to promote STEM among secondary school students. She said there is a growing trend in girls pursuing engineering and she looks forward to seeing even more girls getting involved in tech development and pursuing lucrative careers in engineering.

IEEE Curtin University Malaysia Student Branch president Andrea Wong Saen Er thanked the teams and their schools for their participation, commenting that it was very exciting to see so many innovative projects being presented by the students based on their classroom learning and using common items used in daily life.

Meanwhile, Associate Professor Garenth Lim, advisor to the IEEE Curtin University Malaysia Student Branch, said, “IEEE has always promoted STEM learning and innovation in the community with impactful events such as the Young Innovators Challenge, STEM Playground and Science on Wheels. We believe that IEEE is the platform for young leaders to lead groups of volunteers to serve the community with a sustainable and impactful mindset.”

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Judging during the Grand Finale

Winner of Outstanding Inventors Award, ‘Foodimer’ from SMK Lutong

First runner-up for Outstanding Inventors Award, ‘Nunchi’ from Knewton Global Schools Miri

Second runner-up for Outstanding Inventors Award, ‘Ngene-21’ from SMK Riam

The finalists gathering for a group photo with IEEE student branch members

Promotion of Women in Engineering (WIE) among the female participants