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Ninth-grader Peson Suksabai removed his virtual reality headset in a daze, a smile still plastered on his face. “I saw a globe,” he announces to a friend, who snatches the headset over to try on himself.

Peson, who goes by the nickname “Fac,” is at the satellite engineering booth of Enjoy Science Careers, a hands-on science exhibition introducing ten STEM-related careers ranging from smart farming to nanomaterials research. At each booth, a large display of the skills and knowledge required for each career is accompanied by hands-on activities and demonstrations.

“Ever since I was a young kid, I’ve been interested in flying and space,” Fac says. “My mother liked to look at the stars in the galaxy, and there were many aircrafts in the sky. So when I reached lower secondary school, I started learning about aerospace, the Big Bang, and the origins of space.” His eyes widen.

As a student at the Poungkram School in the eastern province of Sa Kaeo, Fac was given a chance to enrich and deepen his knowledge about STEM through hands-on activities outside of the classroom when the Science Caravan set up a three-day exhibition in his region. “Today, I learned about careers, experiments, and theories of natural science. I feel very excited to be here and see many new things that I have not seen in class,” Fac says, gesturing to the monitor showing an animation of THEOS, Thailand’s first earth observation satellite launched into orbit in 2008.

Run by the National Science Museum (NSM) under the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST), the Science Caravan brings hands-on learning materials to provinces across Thailand, partnering with local universities to plant the exhibition on campus. For the week in Sa Kaeo, dozens of buses full of schoolchildren arrive every morning, who cross the field to enter a bustling gymnasium.

For the last two years, Chevron Enjoy Science has collaborated with the National Science Museum to augment the traveling exhibition with the Enjoy Science Careers, which presents real-world applications of STEM concepts and encourages students to pursue a career in various STEM-related fields.

The Enjoy Science Careers exhibition has already reached nearly 100,000 students this semester, and almost 450,000 students since the program’s inception in 2016. This semester alone, the exhibition has traveled to Ubon Ratchathani, Mukdahan, Roi Et, Uttaradit, Phijit, Chainat, Trat, Sa Kaeo, Krabi and Patthalung.

 

The careers highlighted this year are: (1) health, environment and safety specialist; (2) satellite engineer; (3) robotic and mechatronic engineer; (4) nano material researcher; (5) strength and conditioning coach; (6) railway systems engineer; (7) sound engineer; (8) investment analyst; (9) smart farmer; and (10) data scientist.

 

At the robotics and mechatronics booth, two girls shout the correct answer to a math problem. A smart robot with voice recognition capabilities blinks and then responds, “Cool!” and the girls erupt into gleeful chuckles. At the investment analyst booth, participants formulate a strategy to deduce a hidden pattern of colors, faces scrunched in quiet concentration.

 

Meanwhile, Fac is absorbed in the satellite engineering booth, eagerly nodding and asking questions to the science educator at the booth about how the THEOS satellite’s cameras can be used to pinpoint GPS coordinates for travel directions.

 

“I need to study science and math and be accepted into a university. Later, I need to work at NASA,” Fac muses. “I dream about building a space station on Mars.”

Date

October 25, 2018

Category

Beneficiaries