A bridge to tomorrow: a glimpse into PSB Academy’s new STEM Campus

PSB Academy has done it again. The school’s new STEM campus officially opened its doors recently (May 2018) — hot on the heels of its city campus @Marina Square. That’s one way to put the Productivity in “PSB”, for sure!

PSB Academy’s accolades proudly grace the front entrance
PSB Academy’s accolades proudly grace the front entrance

The STEM campus is part of PSB Academy’s efforts to cultivate rising STEM talent (could you be who we speak of??) and during the Open House, Digital Senior got to take a peek at some cutting edge facilities that would help them do just that!

But first, some insights we’ve gleaned during the opening ceremony:

  STEM is, according to the event’s Guest of Honour Mr Patrick Tay (NTUC Assistant  Secretary-General), “one of the areas that has been identified as a growth area, where there’s demand both in jobs and skills”
 Specifically, 4 areas of engineering have been highlighted for their growth opportunities. These are 1) Energy and chemicals, 2) Biomedical, 3) Aerospace, and 4) Traditional positions Engineering.
 Some key in-demand skills of tomorrow, come 2020, are 1) Complex problem solving, 2) Creativity, as well as 3) Communication skills.

 

PSB Academy, in response to industry needs and opportunities, has been and will continue to launch industry relevant programmes to meet the needs of the future economy.

This is done through working with industry and education partners to launch courses such as the Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies in Nursing, which “aims to help Singapore establish a sustainable health system based on community healthcare”. (PSB Academy CEO Derrick Chang)

PSB Academy CEO Derrick Chang

With that, we move on to the campus itself and a tour of its crowning glory… the laboratories!

Labs with heart

Labs with heart

One of the science labs in PSB’s Jackson Square STEM campus

STEM students spend at least 30% of curriculum time in labs where they acquire necessary hands-on experience, so they have to be well-equipped. Knowing this, the various labs on campus have been designed in collaboration with industry partners and other academic institutions such as La Trobe University (Australia), to make sure students graduate industry ready.

This is a first for a private education institution here!

The first things you’d notice upon stepping into any lab here (or the whole campus, for that matter), are the bright cheery colours peppering the walls.

This, of course, isn’t just for decorative purposes. Instead, it is part of a concerted effort to make sure students have the best environments to study in.

In the words of Dr Martin Grünert (the Associate Dean of Teaching and Learning at PSB Academy), “Having the necessary equipment to perform an experiment can only be maximally capitalised upon if the learning environment itself is conducive to student learning and success”.

Science Lab

We see this ethos echoed in the Science Lab through overhead cameras, which deliver to us a live feed of a gel electrophoresis demonstration through screens attached to the walls. It’s an addition that Dr Grünert insisted on, which students are highly appreciative of.

“The labs are fantastic!” Mrs. Katherine Liew-Tan shares with us. “What’s really great are the screens, because observation is key for experiments.”

Katherine, currently a part-time student undertaking a Bachelor of Science (Pharmaceutical Science) with La Trobe University, likes the new lab so much that she “wants to spend the night in it”!

Before we leave the life sciences lab, Katherine also shares about how PSB Academy is doing good by providing mature students ways to pursue different pools of knowledge. A mature student herself, Katherine feels that this is important not just for career switchers, but also for improvement in skills and versatility.

Industry-relevant practical spaces

Industry-relevant practical spaces

The labs at PSB Academy’s STEM campus provide students with access to modern teaching and learning technologies.

The computer science and engineering labs, for example, are outfitted with Autodesk software and precision engineering equipment to train students in the designing and prototyping processes. Students, if they wish, can choose to use the labs, subject to bookings, after school to engage in their own projects or tinkering!

Think 3D printers and scanners, and you’re on the right track.

Students showcasing their projects. These robots, powered by the Arduino open-source electronic prototyping platform, are able to do combo moves!
Students showcasing their projects. These robots, powered by the Arduino open-source electronic prototyping platform, are able to do combo moves!

Speaking of tracks…

Sport Science Lab

We checked out the Sport Science Lab, too! Spacious, this is where Sports Science students get to learn how to use new VX Sports equipment and other industry-standard equipment like cycle ergometers and metabolic carts.

VX Sports, specialising in wearable athletic monitoring technology used by top sporting teams, signed an exclusive 3- year partnership with PSB Academy. Part of the partnership includes collaborating to train and secure internship opportunities for PSB Academy’s Sports Science students.

(PSB Academy constantly collaborates with industry players to push out practical and highly relevant programmes so that graduates can step out ready to take charge! Other industry partners, aside from VX Sports, include the EC-Council and Bloomberg.)

In the bright red lab, Mr Solomon Casoojee (partner at Sportsworkz Pte Ltd, the official company that distributes VX Sports’ equipment here), shows us the interface of the VX Sports Training Load Tool and explains how trainers use the metrics captured to adjust an athlete’s training schedule.

The interface of the VX Sports Training Load Tool.
The interface of the VX Sports Training Load Tool.

There’s lots of potential here, as speaking with Mr Casoojee reveals. He shares with us that there is demand but a lack of supply: a lot of sports teams want to use this new technology, but there aren’t enough experts in it to go around. This is a gap PSB Academy’s students will fill!

SimMan3G

We end our tour at a corner of the Sports Science lab, one where the SimMan3G affectionately known as Simon lies.

Highly advanced, this realistic patient simulator is able to display both neurological and physiological symptoms. Need Simon to have seizure symptoms complete with eyeballs rolled back? Simon’s on it.  He can even bleed if necessary.

Simon is just one of the many tools that PSB Academy has invested in for their nursing students, to train them to be ready for the myriads of patient situations they will be thrown into throughout their nursing careers.

Don’t worry, they haven’t forgotten the anatomical skeletons (aka Freddies) …
Don’t worry, they haven’t forgotten the anatomical skeletons (aka Freddies) …

If you’re interested to see more of this new campus and what we’ve mentioned above, here is a fly-through for your viewing pleasure:

Video Credits: Dr. MArtin Grünert

With such a campus, it’s clear that PSB Academy is dedicated to its mission to be a Future Academy. It is, for the school, “a physical representation of PSB Academy’s long-term dedication to the Science and Tech sectors that are so critical to Singapore’s success on the global stage” (Dr. Grünert)

We’re looking forward to seeing what PSB Academy students accomplish with the help of their new campus!

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