Interview with an International Student

Interview with Polish Scholar Natalia Sikora

Natalia Sikora, a Polish Scholar who has recently joined the Lower Sixth is a Young Member of The Junior Academy and Young Member of the New York Academy of sciences.

The Junior Academy is part of The New York Academy of Sciences is an international collaboration of more than 100 partners in over 50 countries and regions. The mission is to increase the number and diversity of students pursuing STEM careers. The Junior Academy program focuses on solving some of the world’s toughest problems through innovation challenges. Throughout the year, new challenges are issued on Launchpad to all Junior Academy members, Members are encouraged to work together in small teams to develop solutions over a 10-week period.

So we decided to ask Natalia some questions about this amazing opportunity…

Why did you choose to apply?

I was looking for projects that have international extent, projects which will demand interdisciplinary knowledge, collaborating with people, basically working with them to achieve exceptional goals and somehow contribute to smaller and bigger communities. Projects which will prove that we - young STEM members have the ability to, all together, influence today’s world by healing emerging problems. To prove that youth can do it!

I was looking forward to sharing the knowledge I gained during immense numbers of lectures, courses and workshops I participated in previously. I wanted to talk about my ideas, experiments, passions and scientific dreams. I am in love with this project as it enables us to take advantage of the fact, that we are an international society. All of us had been taught in different ways, all of us have disparate experiences, various projects and activities done.

Furthermore, it enables us to use everything what we have - our experience, knowledge, resources respectively available in our home countries - and makes us desire to gain superior achievements. All together it creates a unique synergy effect which empowers us to solve global issues together because together we can attain everything! The Junior Academy is a serious challenge and phenomenal opportunity to test ourselves as future scientists, doctors and engineers.

What challenges will you be taking part in?

Each year we face different challenges. This year we had the possibility to choose between Climate Change, Biodiversity and the one I have chosen - Nutrition, Agriculture and Food System, where we mainly focus on micronutrients. (Natalia doesn’t start her first challenge until October time so I will have to ask her about it at a later stage and hopefully we can get an update on how it’s going for her!)

On the 10th September we began boot camps – introductory periods that precede challenges - to meet fellow members and potential mentors, learn how to design and develop innovative solutions, and hear from experts in related fields. Furthermore, we gained access to best-in-class learning resources to develop relevant skills in areas such as research methods, design thinking, and data analysis.

It looks like and sounds like an amazing opportunity and I can’t wait to hear more about it and updates along her way.