Hi my name is Cai and I’m 16 years old. I took on a 4 week paid internship recently with Discovering without Borders (DWB) Social Enterprise when Yen (the founder) came to meet me and explain what her company was doing to help teenage girls develop interest in STEM careers.
Assisting Yen in these workshops has been a great opportunity for me as I am harnessing my interest and skills in Science pathways. Even though these workshops are catered for younger children, I am surprised at how I am still able to learn new Science “things”! Last week at our STEM workshop on the theme of Dinosaurs – I was embarrassed that I actually did not know nearly enough about these ancient creatures while my younger ‘friends’ could rattle off the names of each carnivore and explain their characteristics!! I don’t remember ever being taught about the history of Dinosaurs when I was in primary or secondary school? This only shows that there is never an end to Science and I guess that’s what I love about STEM subjects! Science itself is limitless – hence assisting at these workshops has really opened up my eyes to the varied aspects of Science.
I have a passion to learn more about “Neuroscience” and am aware of the period of optimal brain function and capabilities that occur in the early stages of a child’s life. When the child is still young, their brain tends to have a greater capacity to absorb and learn new materials. With this being said, I think it is really clever of Yen to initiate such workshops for young children. Each time I assist in these workshops I see the children’s faces and their enthusiasm light up! Sadly today, I think some children may have decided that Science is a boring subject which they are required to take in school. Perhaps the reason for why they think Science is boring comes from not being given the opportunity to experiment with the different fields of Science that are interesting and relevant to them. When children understand and grasp that Science is more than just what’s written in text books and that it exists everywhere – they may discover their own passion being ignited for the world and mysteries of Science? In the DWB workshops, we do not want the children to simply gain knowledge but rather, venture into their creative state as like Albert Einstein expresses that knowledge has a limit – whereas creativity brings you to places that are yet to be discovered.
Aside from the STEM for kids workshops, DWB is a Social Enterprise aimed at giving people from disadvantaged backgrounds an opportunity to earn some casual paid employment while developing new skills which they may not have otherwise gained from anywhere else. For example, these workshops have provided jobs for single mothers whom may not have been able to get a job and is in need of some income in order to support themselves and their children (who are welcome to join in the sessions for free).
Working with Yen is truly an enjoyable experience. No doubt it can get overwhelming for me at times as I don’t really have much experience with young children – however compared to other part-time jobs I have worked in, working in DWB really gives me a sense of accomplishment at the end of each workshop. That is the best feeling anyone can have – when they can feel like they have made a small difference in people’s lives – especially young children…