Students from over 50 Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation schools showcase innovative projects addressing agriculture and food safety, health and hygiene, environment conservation, renewal energy, and disaster management challenges at the Amazon Web Services Think Big Science Carnival
Picture an electric car with built-in self-charging capabilities to ensure the vehicle is self-sustaining, or a gadget that can send reminders on when leftovers in the refrigerator need to be consumed based on the colour, texture, and smell of the food. These examples are innovative ideas from young students aged 11 to 14, and are a few of the many interesting science projects developed by over 60 students from Navi Mumbai’s municipal schools for the finale of the AWS Think Big Science Carnival, 2022-23, held on March 24, 2023.
In its fourth year now, the science carnival is organised by AWS InCommunities as part of the AWS Think Big Spaces program, a comprehensive change initiative that focuses on providing students from underserved communities, the infrastructure and guidance required to excel at STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math) subjects early in life, leading the way to STEAM careers in the future. More than 2,000 students from 50 Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) schools attended the finale conducted at the CIDCO Exhibition Centre in Navi Mumbai.
Speaking at the finale, Aruna Yadav, Education Officer – Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation said, “It is wonderful to be here at the AWS Think Big Science Carnival which has been organized for the students of Navi Mumbai. Many of the children’s projects are unique and astonishing; their thinking is refreshingly different, and it is exciting to see this kind of talent. I have no doubt that these children can go on to become scientists and make India proud, and also develop solutions for the general public. I thank the AWS team for organizing this event and providing these children a platform that will take them a step closer to becoming scientists and innovators.”
Encouraging students to Think Big
The AWS Think Big Science Carnival provided a platform for students to look closely at problems that local communities face in the areas of agriculture and food safety, health and hygiene, environment conservation, renewal energy, and disaster management, in line with multiple Sustainable Development Goals laid down by the United Nations, and develop STEAM-based ideas. Over 270 students submitted their project ideas in the preliminary round of the science carnival, and were mentored by STEAM experts, including AWS employees. Students with the most innovative ideas in the preliminary stage were supported to build their prototypes, and the top 30 prototypes were presented in the finale event. Students subsequently use the prototypes and experience to compete in district, state, and national-level competitions.
Saji P.K., Director of Data Center Operations, Asia-Pacific Japan and China, AWS said, “Investing in STEAM education today is investing in a brighter and more innovative future for all. By engaging in science projects, students learn to ask questions, experiment with ideas, and analyse real-world scenarios, all of which are essential skills for success in the industry. AWS InCommunities strives to make a difference in the communities where AWS operates; we are excited by the passion and energy of these inquisitive students, and also humbled by the power of their ideas. We hope to see more students benefiting from an enriched learning experience through the AWS Think Big Spaces program.”
Making a difference in the community
AWS InCommunities aims to make a positive difference to communities, especially in regions where AWS builds and operates its global infrastructure. The initiatives under AWS InCommunities are focused on four pillars: STEAM Education, Access, and Equity; Local Tech Upskilling, Environmental Stewardship; Employee Engagement.
AWS InCommunities was established in India in 2018 with a focus on long-term community-focused programs, which were first implemented in Maharashtra’s Navi Mumbai district before extending into Telangana’s Rangareddy district in 2020. Since then, AWS InCommunities programs have focused on STEAM Education for schools and job-seeking adults, the development of sustainable villages through bolstering the local economy, essential infrastructure, market linkages, connectivity, and other basic amenities.
The other initiatives of AWS InCommunities in Mumbai include working with more than 380 women from Navi Mumbai on a women entrepreneurship program, and upskilling young college graduates on cloud computing skills. Additionally, the AWS InCommunities team has developed environment initiatives in the Karnala Birds Sanctuary like the construction of an underpass which provides a safe passage for wild animals, installation of informative boards related to tree and bird species, and installation of water purifiers in the forest to promote reuse of and reduce plastic waste.