KUCHING – Swinburne’s STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) team has been awarded Highly Commended at the recent Vice Chancellor’s Award 2020 for their rural school project organised in Serian division.
The project ‘Embracing STEM: Shaping Future of Young Generations in Rural Community’ won the title under the Community Engagement Category. It was initiated as part of Swinburne’s 2025 Strategic Plan to deliver three key result areas namely Future Ready Learners, Research with Impact, and Innovative Enterprise.
The project was led by coordinator for Foundation Studies (Business, Design and Communication) Shella Georgina Beatrice, and assisted by academic staff from various disciplines including Dr Tan Vie Ming, Dr Yii Kwang Jing, Dr Irine Runnie Henry Ginjom, Dr Ling Chui Ching, Esther John Perry, as well as Head of School of Foundation Studies Su Sueh Ing.
The one-day STEM programme was held at Balu Tayung Langui Hall, Kampung Pichin, involving 14 primary schools around Mongkos and Tebedu areas in Serian. The activities such as the Egg Drop Challenge, Spaghetti Tower, Self-Inflated Balloon, and Maths Clickers Quiz were carefully tailored to the needs of the rural students and the learning materials were made easily accessible and affordable.
Following positive feedback from stakeholders, the team was also encouraged to extend their outreach initiative to more rural areas. According to Shella, with their motto ‘To embrace resilience and cultivate future-ready learners’, they hope to further inspire others to reach out to the community to create impact through science, technology and innovation. She added that the team members thanked the university and all stakeholders involved for their continued support.
Meanwhile, Su asserted that the team will continue to inculcate critical thinking skills and enhance interest in STEM among rural students via interactive educational workshops to enable them to become self-directed learners.
Last year, the STEM team won the Ministry of Education, Science and Technological Research Sarawak (MESTR) STEM Education Grant for Primary Schools. This year, they have also been awarded another education programme grant from the Ministry to include Arts in their upcoming STEM workshop involving approximately 150 students from 15 primary schools in Serian division.
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