Having received an Early Decision to the University of Pennsylvania, an Ivy League institution, to study Mechanical Engineering, Nond Phokasub reflects on his fourteen-years of study at Bangkok Patana School. Appreciating the close-knit community on campus, Nond explained that this provided him with the safety to also make mistakes and try new things. One example he gave was of an experience in Year 9 in which he presented at the Key Stage 3 assembly as a Junior Delegate. “At the time, presenting in front of a 500-person crowd was seriously outside of my comfort zone, but in retrospect, this was my favourite memory at Bangkok Patana as it was a major stepping-stone for myself.” As such, when asked what advice he would give to his Year 3-self, Nond answered “to explore the world to its fullest and don’t be afraid to try new things.”
“My proudest achievement would be my Unplugged Robotics project (Unplugged Robotics by Nond) because it was a project that actually made a tangible impact through the use of my skills and knowledge. I did not expect this project would reach as far in supplementing the teaching of Computer Science and Coding to Primary students in over 100 rural Thai schools. Unexpectedly, it has also received positive feedback from teachers and students! This project helped me to realise that I have the ability to convert my passion of making and creating things into an opportunity to give back to my community. This was another example where the close-knit community at Bangkok Patana allowed me to flourish in new experiences and explore my passions to the fullest.”
Growing up, Nond loved to make things, particularly things built from simple scraps. “Everyone in my house knew that they had to ask me first before they could throw something away because it was very likely that what they considered ‘scraps’ would become part of my new inventions. From cartons to old magazines and newspapers, I would build my own inventions like a bow and arrow from an abandoned branch and recycled paper, bottle-made rockets, or even foosball made from cartons and chopsticks. I enjoyed making my own toys because it meant that I didn’t have to follow a manual and could let my imagination roam free.”
In his (I)GCSEs, Nond most enjoyed D+T as it enabled him to embark on a “journey of creating things where there is no limitation on [his] imagination and where the solution is not obvious until the end.” He then furthered his interest through the IB programme, particularly his Mathematics, Physics and Economics courses, which helped him to develop logical reasoning, economic optimization and interdisciplinary problem-solving – skills that he will further hone through his time at UPenn. Looking ahead along Nond’s pathway, he notes the value of his Robotics classes for his future career, in which he hopes to utilise robotics to engineer answers to global problems and to develop solutions to consumer issues that also consider the needs of the planet. Congratulations, Nond!
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