During the start of the pandemic, I like most other students, started going about finding new hobbies and new events to keep myself occupied while being confined in my own room. Some people decided to join new clubs and societies, while some decide to pick up a new skill. I found an advertisement from the college regarding joining their Recruitment and Outreach Student Ambassador team. This stuck out for me as part of the job scope focused on working with students from ages 6-18 to capture their interest and help develop their passion for studying STEM. As I have previously tutored peers and students back when I was studying for my A-Levels, I always enjoyed finding different methods to break down complex topics into fun and engaging ways to help people understand them better. Therefore, I decided to sign up for this opportunity as I believe this is a field that I would like to develop myself further in during my University years.
However, the pandemic struck and even though I got to work in various events such as tutoring students, fun weekend workshops, and helping answer queries about what it’s like studying engineering in open day events, I was bumped out as everything was conducted through the screen and I lost the physical interactions that I was very much looking forward to. Fast forward to my final year, the amount of workload I had restricted me from taking up too many activities outside of my studies. As I have finally submitted my final dissertation, I am finally finding myself with spare time in my hands. Therefore, upon seeing a few opportunities offered, I finally got the chance to sign up for some in-person events!
By signing up for these events, I finally had the excuse to visit the newly built White City campus of Imperial College, as all of my undergraduate degree was taught in the South Kensington campus. I also got the chance to visit the Makerspace, where tools such as laser cutters, 3D printers, wood carving equipment, etc. were available for students to unleash their creativity in design. The project I signed up for is called the Proto-Maker challenge, and this involves a 6 sessions workshop where students learned different aspects of music production in various individual and team-building activities such as designing a paper flute and building a theremin. In the end, students were placed in teams to brainstorm their own design of a new musical instrument.
This was also my first time visiting various community schools in the UK. I was so impressed by the amount of support offered by all the teachers and the equipment available in all the schools. The students we interacted with mostly ranged from Year 8 to Year 9. Therefore, we had to brainstorm various methods to keep the engagement high while ensuring the students were enjoying what they were learning. This involves a lot of practical demonstrations and hands-on activities. It was so refreshing to see students racing each other to raise their hands to answer questions and not be afraid of giving any wrong answers. I distinctly remember the satisfied looks on each student’s faces when they finished building their theremins, going about the classroom and showing their products to their friends. This excitement was further enhanced when we told them that they could keep their own theremins. Their enthusiasm was so vibrant and overpowering that it radiated to me as well. As University work can be quite demanding, working with the students reminded me of the passion I have for STEM and inspired me to be creative and always try out new things! Even though my time at Imperial is coming to an end, I’m so excited to see the amazing things these bright minds can create in the future.