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Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl

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Almost a month after our SSEF journey, our science research project – “Stool Recognition for Colorectal Cancer Detection through Deep Learning” was selected by the Ministry of Education (MOE) to represent Singapore in the Global Youth Science and Technology Bowl (GYSTB), held from 19-20 June 2021.

GYSTB is an international student science project competition in biology, chemistry, physics and engineering, organised by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups.

Although the competition was held virtually, our spirits were not dampened. Instead, we were very excited and looked forward to sharing our research project and exchanging views with other international participants as well as learning more about their projects!

This year, 145 teams from 26 different countries participated in GYSTB under the “Biology and Chemistry” and “Physics and Engineering” categories. With top teams from each country sharing their innovative science projects, the judging for GYSTB was much more challenging and intense than SSEF.

During the competition judging, we had to balance between keeping within the 5-min time limit (which was very short) and showcasing our critical findings in order to stand out from other projects. Besides that, the judging session was streamed live and could be viewed by the general public, which gave us additional pressure. Although the judging was stressful, we kept calm and gave it our best shot. It was a very enriching and unforgettable experience to present our project to the judges and we gained lots of invaluable insights from them!

Presenting our project to the panel of judges.jpgPresenting our project to the panel of judges!

After the judging, we participated in many of the fun fringe activities organised by the hosts. The Co-Solve event, a collaborative problem-solving segment that brings together participants from all over the world into teams to ideate solutions for modern problems, was one of the highlights. We had to work with our team-mates to brainstorm ideas to develop an entertainment app for the elderly. It was really interesting to hear diverse ideas from the other participants from South Africa, Macau, India and of course Hong Kong and we enjoyed interacting with them.

Meeting our teammates from other countries (India, Hong Kong) for Co-Solve!

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Our task was to innovate and brainstorm ideas for an elderly entertainment app

Another highlight was the project exchange session, where we had the opportunity to share our project with participants from Mexico, Ukraine and Ireland as well as to hear about their projects. They shared about the real-world problems they face in their countries and we were very impressed with their innovative solutions. It was very enjoyable to interact with like-minded individuals who are also passionate about STEM!

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A group photo with fellow participants from Mexico, Ireland and Ukraine!

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Us listening to the Ukraine participant’s project sharing on self-oscillations!

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The Ireland participant’s presentation on his rehab-observation system!

We also had fun watching the cultural performances and learning more about the different cultures shared by participants all over the world during the cultural exchange segment. The hosts had put in great effort to organise a Hong Kong trivia quiz and we learnt a lot about Hong Kong although we could not be there physically.

Finally, we reached the most exciting portion of GYSTB… The Awards Ceremony!

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As the winners of various awards were announced team by team, we could feel butterflies in our stomach and strained our ears to hear if our project code was called out. Therefore, you could imagine our surprise and happiness when the emcees announced that we had been awarded the “Grand Prize – Bronze Award”, ranking amongst the top 6 out of all teams in the Physics and Engineering Category. We were indeed very proud and honoured to receive this award!

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We were elated to have received the Grand Prize – Bronze Award for our category!
All in all, “passion and perseverance” would be the two main takeaways from our GYSTB experience. We were amazed and inspired by our fellow participants’ passion for STEM, “never-give-up” attitudes and the strong support from their schools and communities while working on their projects. These are indeed important ingredients to promote and provide a platform for youths to develop their creativity and scientific mindsets.

We are extremely grateful for this opportunity to experience this research journey and push ourselves to do even better in our project. We spent many months, days and nights on this project and we are happy to see that others see as much importance in our work as we do. Our achievements would not have been possible without the support of our mentors at the DSO National Laboratories, as well as our coordinators at MOE. Last but not least, we are extremely grateful to our teacher-mentor, Mr Shaun De Souza, who encouraged us to press on and believe in ourselves. Without his support and encouragement, we certainly would not have been able to get as far as we have.

We hope our sharing has inspired you to find your own passion in STEM research – to challenge yourself beyond your comfort zone. As we all know the saying goes: Be the change you want to see in the world.