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STEM Knowledges drives humanity to a sustainable future
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>
  • <p>“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”</p>

“STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance and best leverage the world we live in.”

Jun 2016

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) knowledge is empowering scientists and engineers to facilitate a better tomorrow. Aiming to bring the boldest and brightest young minds together at a global level—particularly in STEM-related fields— IVE Engineering Discipline joined hands with RMIT, Australia for a collaborative STEM project in early 2016. This collaboration not only benefits the students of both institutions, but also demonstrates the power of STEM in improving human lives in sustainable ways.

RMIT students Daniel Blitho, Josh Gurtler, Patrick Watts and IVE Engineering Discipline student Li Tung were lucky enough to work together on a joint research project exploring fluid dynamics in vehicles. Through examining Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) modelling against results from wind tunnel tests, they were able to produce vital data to help optimise solar vehicle design and maximise energy efficiency. Their STEM collaboration project was brought under the spotlight during the recent STEM Students Conversation ‘What’s Next’ Forum organised by the VTC and Worldidacs organisation at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre on 8 June 2016.

The Forum aimed to engage youth in STEM studies by inviting STEM students from all over the world to share ideas. Participants included students from RMIT, Australia; the University of the West of England, United Kingdom; Nanyang Polytechnic, Singapore; and the VTC, Hong Kong. All students are studying STEM-related subjects ranging from electrical, mechanical and civil engineering; to digital media; and medicinal chemistry.

What exactly is it that attracts students into the STEM field? Gurtler explained, “I always loved science and maths, but just doing that wasn’t enough, I actually wanted to apply my knowledge practically—which is why I chose engineering—actually making something with my hands.” One of the key advantages of STEM is that it provides a great conduit for students to get into practical work and to start influencing the world around them in a very tangible way. Watts revealed his motivation for entering into the field, “I think it’s an integral part of improving society, and not to discount any area of intellectual study, but STEM is really one of the most crucial fields to advance, and best leverage, the world we live in.”

Governments in countries around the world are actively encouraging students into STEM studies—to help feed the ever-growing demand for talent in this area. STEM graduates are ideally and uniquely positioned to apply their academic knowledge in practical projects that enhance the world in ways that may never have previously been considered. There is also an extremely high demand for female STEM students as organisations are keen to further diversify their talent pools. From the experience of the joint project, Li pointed out that more diverse STEM teams are very important, not just for the sake of diversity itself, but because there is firm evidence that including more female input into a project team can exponentially enhance productivity.

Graduates of STEM subjects can expect a vast array of career opportunities. Demand is high, especially in engineering as the world continues to go through a massive shift towards development of more energy-efficient and environmentally-friendly projects that better fulfil corporate social responsibilities. The large-scale ongoing infrastructure projects throughout Hong Kong are creating a huge demand for young engineering talents. The same is true overseas, and on similar opportunities in Australia. Blitho added, “Manufacturers in the Australian automotive sector, such as Ford, are recruiting a lot of engineers right now. Talent demand is especially high in heavy engineering—particularly for positions in process engineering.”

Not only do STEM studies benefit students in terms of career opportunities, they also benefit them in terms of their personal development. Nurturing young talent involves not only focusing on academic aspects, but also on the equally important task of equipping them with a set of versatile soft skills. Li pointed out just how much his STEM experiences had helped shape him, “Along the way, we faced many challenges, and had to ask ourselves many questions in order to weigh up the different options available and agree on the best course of action. This thought process has really helped develop my problem-solving skills.” Watts concurred, “The methods of thinking that are fostered across STEM subjects include critical thinking and logical reasoning. I soon learned that it is essential to know all the facts first and consider all the relevant variables before making any decisions. I have since adopted this approach, not just in work, but in every aspect of my life because it’s the safest way of doing things and often produces the best results. It’s definitely been fantastic for my whole-person development to be in STEM.”

The inter-institution collaboration between IVE and RMIT has encouraged students to leave the comfort zone of their fellow classmates and to engage with students from different cultures—something difficult to achieve in a local classroom. This valuable experience has provided an opportunity for them to hear opinions from others from diverse backgrounds—enabling them to better identify challenges and brainstorm solutions. Li summed up, “STEM is a global language and it’s always inspiring to get in touch with people in STEM from other parts of the world.”

While the ‘What’s Next’ Forum has already come to a perfect close, the two institutions continue to leverage their close ties through technical exchanges on solar powered vehicles. These joint efforts provide innovative and positive influences in transportation design and utilisation—helping drive a more sustainable future for everyone.

Engineering Discipline