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IEEE Tech Maker Programme training Curtin students to be mentors

Miri – 16 January 2017 – A workshop aimed at training undergraduate students to become mentors for primary and secondary school students was recently organised by the IEEE (Institution of Electrical and Electronic Engineers) Curtin Sarawak Student Branch in collaboration with the University Life Department of the university, All Aboard Young Leader Centre (AAYLC) and DreamCatcher, a company that provides technical training to the electrical and electronic industry.

The four-day IEEE Tech Maker Programme Workshop was attended by over 20 undergraduate students of the university.

With the theme ‘Making Technology for a Better Community’, it was also aimed at equipping the students with the necessary technical skills to promoting Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) to secondary school students.

On the first and second days of the workshop, the students learned how to fabricate solar lamps and acquired knowledge and skills in soldering, measuring and debugging tools and electronics circuit construction.

Under the supervision of IEEE trainers, they fabricated the solar lamps using PVC and electrical boxes and tested the lamps under the sun for performance validation. In addition, the workshop trainers also demonstrated the effectiveness of solar projects in use at the campus, including the solar tree and solar-powered mobile device charging circuit for the use of students and staff at its food court.

Meanwhile, on the third day, the participants were taught various technical modules such as MBOT, Arduino, 3D printing, Tech Art, Mobile Apps and Scratch by Dr Chew Yen Seng of DreamCatcher. He, too, provided tips on mentoring secondary school students.

The final day of training involved the students building basic and innovative projects using knowledge and skills they had acquired from the workshop modules as well as project presentations.

This was followed by a motivational talk by University Life Department Manager Haslina Malek, who encouraged the participants to take part in visits to local schools during their summer break from January to March 2017.

Commenting on the workshop, Head of the IEEE Community Outreach Programme and second-year electrical power engineering student Carl-Mats Isaac Bayang said he not only learned valuable technical skills but also how to conduct a workshop under the supervision of the IEEE trainers.  

Head of IEEE Website Team and first-year computer systems and networking student Lancelot Chong Hwei Cai remarked that he was inspired by a video screened during the workshop where a grandmother was given a task to teach children about science and technology.

“I think the ‘grandmother effect’ is a good approach to mentoring school students. In the video, she continues to motivate them despite all sorts of obstacles. Like the grandmother, one has to have passion and the willingness to learn,” Chong said.

Advisor of IEEE Curtin Sarawak Student Branch Dr Garenth Lim King Hann said Curtin students are encouraged to equip themselves with new skills by learning outside the classroom, adding that technical skills can be taught but the spirit of serving the community is something one must genuinely believe in.

“Such workshops are a good platform to teach mentoring skills to our students and generate awareness of our community outreach programmes,” Dr Lim said.

The IEEE Curtin Sarawak Student Branch was established in 2008 and currently has about 120 members. To learn more about them, visit www.facebook.com/CurtinSarawak.IEEE or email ieee.curtinsarawak@gmail.com.

For more information on Curtin Malaysia, visit its website at www.curtin.edu.my.


Students testing their solar lamps under the sun.


Group photo of participants with their completed solar lamps.


Dr Chew facilitating workshop session.