By Huang Xin and Zack Soh
NUS High’s Research Congress is an annual event that gives students the opportunity to showcase the results of their research projects. It allows students to hone their skills of presenting their findings to an audience and taking feedback from their peers. This year, we invited Mr Chua Kuan Seah, the Deputy Director of the Information Division of the DSO national laboratories as our Guest of Honour and keynote speaker. Mrs Lee Bee Yann our principal, dedicated her opening speech to inspiring our students and thanking their research mentors for the time and effort put into coaching our students. Mr Chua Kuan Seah then gave his keynote speech on the usage of technology in National Defense, peppered with highly technological and detailed explanations.
Research projects done by our students were graded based on execution, novelty, and the clarity of the presentation. Projects from other schools, as well as posters done by primary school students who were mentored by the school, were showcased alongside the NUS High posters.
It was also an opportunity for students to rehearse for the upcoming Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF). Some students had volunteered to present their projects to guests and the student body in the auditorium. “The opportunity to present before the school was an exhilarating opportunity but a terrifying experience,” said Elijah Yap, who presented on upward flow of water along the surface of an immersed spinning cone.
Displayed in the hall were the research posters, the culmination of the hard work our students have put in during the past year doing research. The fields of research that they partook in ranged from biology to humanities, all of them equally impressive. Our guests went around to hear about the students’ research, and even asked some challenging questions. But our students held their ground and answered the questions confidently.
One such project was Huang Feiyang’s project, which investigated how hepatitis B affects the RNA in liver cells, potentially leading to liver cancer. Feiyang and his teammates found this project especially challenging as their project involves non-coding RNA, which has not been thoroughly researched on. However, the lack of existing research also meant that this project has greater novelty than its counterparts, and is proof of the dedication our students have when it comes to research. Feiyang shared, “the time we completed the project is when it dawned on me how much fascinating details are still out there to be discovered.” On a playful note, he also added, “Biology is 99% perspiration and 1% praying that your cells will grow.”
We hope that the students took away something from this year’s Research Congress, be it an insight gleaned from others’ projects or some feedback about their own research, and will walk away with even more burning questions and a desire to answer them – the basis of any amazing discovery.