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UCL Holds STEMfest 2019 “Engaging Young Minds to Solve Real World Problems”

Students from over 10 schools were given the chance to interact with leading academics and industry experts at UCL during STEMfest 2019 held on October 15. The student-led STEM Club of UCL, planned and organised such an event to engage young minds to solve real life problems. Intended for Year 12 students from Local and International Schools, the event introduced STEM fields to the students, with hands on activities, interactive demonstrations and STEM oriented competitions.
The event was graced by leading industry professionals who provided students with a new perspective on innovation and its crucial role in the advancement of STEM fields world-wide. Dr. Beshan Kulapala, the keynote speaker,engaged the audience with an overview of the manufacturing process of Vega – Sri Lanka’s first all-electric supercar. Dr. Kulapala is the director of Vega Innovations, a leading tech company, currently expanding the frontiers of the country’s technological landscape, manufacturing the first fully electronic supercar which has received a lot of attention and appreciation recently.
Other highlights of the event include a Quiz, Spaghetti bridge competition and an Airplane challenge.
These events were conducted by STEM Club committee advised by the UCL academic staff and, notably Dr. Dhanajay Kulkarni, Dean of Academic Affairsand Mr. Maduranga Pillai, Assistant Lecturer and Acting Program Coordinator for Monash College Diploma program.
There was plenty of opportunity for engagement and exchange between students and experts in the field. STEM club members fostered communication with the school children by acting as mentors, guiding them through challenges and providing helpful tips for the competitions.
The Airplane challenge competition, which allowed students to understand key aerodynamic concepts through the launch of a simple paperplane, was judged by Mr. Tilak Dissanayake, a specialist in aerodynamics, with 15 years of experience at the airline manufacturing giant Boeing.
The spaghetti bridge competition introduced basic civil engineering concepts, allowing students to have fun while constructing their own model bridge.
The quiz, with Ms. Asiri Perera, Lecturer and Program Coordinator for MUFY program as quizmaster engaged the audience with questions from a variety of STEM fields and encouraged ample scientific thinking.
The events were met with much enthusiasm from the participating students, while the teachers of the respectives chools participated in an interactive learning workshop, conducted by the Head of Department of English, Ms. Ayami Tennekoon.
The Airplane challenge was won by students from St. Benedict’s College, Colombo.
The Spaghetti Bridge competition was won by students from Gateway College, Colombo and the Quiz was won by students from Gateway College, Dehiwala.
Dr. Harsha Alles, Director of UCL and Chairman of Gateway Group and Mr. Gihan Silva, CEO of UCL presented the awards to the winners. Participants were awarded certificates of participation.

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