To Nurture a Seed – Joel Yong, BFA Industrial Design 2025
I’m ending Week 3 now, and I feel like I’ve lived in Singapore for much longer! My time here has felt monumental in the ways I see the world, both professionally and personally. I am approximately half a world away from the States (which is where I’ve lived my whole life), and I feel so in awe to have been able to form deep relationships, discover and rediscover cultures, and relish an entirely new way of life in such a short amount of time.
I’m checking in to update you all on what I’ve been up to! There’s been a lot going on, but I will attempt to summarize everything into three main spheres that I’ve been involved in:
Firstly, I’ve had the pleasure of working alongside the National Ministry of Sustainability in expanding learning opportunities for students interested in the green sector of Singapore. While I can’t dive too much into the details, I’ve been exploring gamified learning techniques to engage students who are at the age to consider career paths, focusing on not only introducing them to green careers, but reinforcing the learning of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (to which Singapore is a key signatory), and offer students an interactive way to understand sustainable city planning. In order to ensure proper implementation, I’ve had to do my fair share of research into Singapore’s education system and align my proposal with their existing learning goals. The end deliverable will be a core learning curriculum that can be adopted by secondary (high school) and tertiary (junior college) schools across the country but for now, we’re still in the works on it!
Secondly, I’ve been exploring repurposing eggshells to develop a workshop curriculum to teach kids about circular design! I was already familiar with the basic principles of this biomaterial recipe thanks to some of the work I’ve done with my friends at Design For America (RISD/Brown), and I’ve had the opportunity to lead meetings and educate my fellow coworkers and supervisors on the science and design behind repurposed food waste. We’ve done some recipe experimentations with various form molds and have since been slowly integrating the science into planting programs that the organization offers. Just a few days ago, we partnered with a local youth community service organization to have children assemble their own planters and plant their own eggshell “power bombs” that will help nourish the soil!
Thirdly, I’ve had the chance to help develop some local programming with the National Singapore Sustainability Gallery. Local preschools come from all over the country every day, and I’ve had so much fun ideating and testing new ways to engage with young kids on topics of climate change. A small detail that I find absolutely adorable is the matching uniforms that the kids wear so that school staff knows which kids are a part of their school!
I feel incredibly lucky to be in Singapore and have things go relatively smoothly. I feel deeply nurtured especially by the people I’ve met here, and everything from the food to the green landscape, to even the daily routine of taking a crowded subway to work, have all been an extremely joyous experience for me. This country for reminding me of some of the sweetest things of life that we can experience – and this is a sweetness I hope to share with you all over the course of the summer, as well. Talk soon!
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