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Interview with Gold Award Recipient in the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair - Nuur Hasanah

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Our very own Nuur Hasanah Bte Noor Azman (18S4) won the Gold Award in the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair (SSEF) 2020, which is the most prestigious science competition in the country where student winners typically represent Singapore in the International Science and Engineering Fair. Her project, titled “Blue on Blue: blue fluorescing aluminium molybdate for methylene blue sensing” is a project on making a hybrid compound to detect the chemical methylene blue, a type of medical drug. We got in touch with Hasanah to learn more about her remarkable achievement and her insights.

What made you decide to take part in the competition and focus on this project?

I wanted to do something new and step out of my comfort zone. When my mentors and I realised that the product we developed was better than other products in the market, we were elated. The method of developing the product is also relatively simple and straightforward, which is an added advantage.

What were some of the most significant challenges faced?

Learning to use new equipment in the laboratory and understanding the concepts behind the mechanisms of the sample were some challenges I faced. Since it was my first time experiencing all this, it was difficult at first to adjust and cope with learning how to use the various laboratory equipment. Moreover, the concepts behind the mechanisms are concepts beyond the school syllabus, so I had to make the extra effort to read up, understand and clarify the concepts with my mentors. I was also nervous that my project might not be as good as the other projects in the competition.

What is your biggest takeaway from taking part in this competition?

I learnt precious life skills and values throughout the research programme. I learnt the values of resilience and perseverance. Whenever my sample did not demonstrate the results that I had expected, I was disappointed but I did not give up. The following time, when I prepared the new sample, I would make sure not to make the same mistakes and to be extra careful. I learnt not to view my mistakes as failures but as opportunities to learn and be better.

What are some words of advice you would give your juniors who are interested in taking part in such competitions?

Do not be scared to try and experience new things. Do not underestimate yourself and always have confidence in yourself. You can do it!