ASTRI team talks ‘STEM’ with 120+ high-school students from around the world

‘HKU Academy for the Talented’ is an enrichment and mentorship programme for secondary school students from Hong Kong and around the world run by The University of Hong Kong. The programme organised a Symposium on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education in Hong Kong from 28-30 July 2017, with over 120 students taking part. A part of the symposium involved spending an entire afternoon in ASTRI premises.

When inquisitive high school students ask questions like “How can Blockchain stop financial frauds”, or “Will sensors help cars to avoid road collisions”, it talks about a younger generation keen to learn about science and innovation. The world has been transformed by technological wonders – so it’s no wonder that the society’s future leaders are eager to learn about the disruptive power of technology. Mr Wong Ming-yam, ASTRI Chairman, encouraged the students to “embrace the wonders of technology and explore the unlimited potential of innovation” in their self and career development endeavours.

ASTRI’s technology professionals inspired the students to “become creators rather than mere consumers” and discussed the importance of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) education. By discussing some of ASTRI’s own innovation and also the overall global tech-trends, the session highlighted how technology continues to touch and shape every aspect of our lives.

According to a 2015 study conducted by the US Government’s Department of Commerce, STEM occupations are growing at 17%, while other fields are growing at 9.8%. STEM professionals play a very crucial role in the sustained growth and stability of economies, and are a critical component to helping people to have better, easier, longer lives. Through this session, ASTRI’s professionals emphasised that “STEM education enables critical thinking, provides platforms for innovation, and creates the next generation of leaders.

From “How can cars detect jaywalkers if they’re not carrying mobile phones” to “Can hackers sneak into antivirus company’s database” or “Should I study data science or computer engineering, if my ambition is to become a cybersecurity expert” – the questions were interesting and quite thoughtful. A student from Hong Kong’s St Paul’s Co-Educational College added that he will “take my science courses more seriously now and will definitely invest more efforts to have a future career in technological innovation.” Another student from the UK’s Sevenoaks School said that she will “follow the developments in Hong Kong and particularly in ASTRI after spending an intriguing afternoon here”.

Many of the visiting students were from outside Hong Kong, some in the city for the first time ever. They had a lot of queries about Hong Kong and the technology sphere of this region. Students from overseas were particularly interested about the global stature of Hong Kong – “What’s the secret behind Hong Kong’s international prominence? How does it leverage its international connectivity and its connection with China to attract so much global interest?” Their queries were answered by three of ASTRI’s Senior Engineers – all coming to serve here from outside Hong Kong. Edwin Monroy, Abu James and Nuwan Marasinghe – originally from Colombia, Nigeria, and Sri Lanka respectively – shared their experience in Hong Kong as expatriate professionals and how the city and its people embrace people, ideas and innovation from all over the world.

Innovation leads to new ideas, products and processes that sustain our economy. Touching upon that point, the session included presentations from Dr Vincent Lau, Mr Kolo Tsui and Mr Vincent Hou, from ASTRI’s Artificial Intelligence, FinTech and Next Generation Network teams respectively. Their demonstrations – including ‘out-of-the-box innovation in technological development’, ‘pressure-sensitive password protection for banking applications’, and ‘connected cars that use cellular-vehicle-to everything (C-V2X) technology’ drew exciting response from the students.

red carpet dresses

Mr Wong Ming-yam, Chairman of ASTRI speaks to the participants

Representative of HKU Academy for the Talented Programme presents a souvenir to Mr Wong

Enthusiastic students asking questions during the session

R&D experts coming from overseas share their experience in ASTRI

A student taking part in a live technology demonstration