What the mind believes, the body can achieve. That was what participants of the recently held Rocket Science Workshop were inspired to believe in. In conjunction with the Science and Mathematics Month, SMK Raja Perempuan welcomed Dato’ Dr. Sheikh Muszaphar Shukor Al-Masrie, Malaysia’s only astronaut, to give a motivational talk to students of the school. Principal Cik Rusnani Sharuddins said that the event was aimed at increasing students’ intrinsic motivation and to inculcate interest in rocket science and aerospace engineering.
The students listened attentively to Dr. Sheikh who recounted his 11-day stint in space. “This experience has changed my perception of life,” he said, “I now look at the big picture and issues such as pollution, abuse, and poverty.” He hopes to be able to work among children in Africa.
Both students of Raja Perempuan and others participated actively in the question and answer session. Dr. Sheikh noted that it was a joy to see the students being inquisitive and certain of their career ambitions.
Despite his tight schedule, Dr. Sheikh spent 2 days in Ipoh. He advised the students to aim for the sky and to be proficient in English. Eric Joseph Pereira, 16, of SMK Teknik Brash was so inspired by the speaker that he is seriously considering mechanical engineering as his subject of choice. “I’ll take the challenge. Who knows? I might be the second astronaut,” he told Ipoh Echo.
In an effort to make science a niche area for the school, Cik Rusnani hopes that such a workshop will be an annual affair.