Taylor’s University Student Lauded for Solution in STEM Female Participation at HPAIR 2017, Australia

Second year student from the Taylor’s University American Degree Transfer Program, Le Peng Tee and his team won first place at the Harvard Project for Asian & International Relations (HPAIR) 2017, recently. The aforementioned is a student-run organisation of the Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences launched in 1991, is held semi-annually. Delegates benefit from gaining a broader exposure to global issues spanning in multiple arenas like political, social, cultural and business. As boundaries become less rigid, the conference seeks to capture the phenomenon and help attendees understand its impacts on the future of international relations.
 
His team’s pitch on ways to increase female participation rate in the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) industry in Australia and the United States of America (USA) won over the judges with compelling examples from Malaysia and South Korea. The event was held at Sydney Australia, with The University of Sydney as their higher education partner institution this year. Overall, this 5-day programme saw the highest number of participants seeing over 500 delegates from 50 countries since its establishment.
 
Le Peng Tee with his team as winners of the Harvard Project for Asian & International Relations (HPAIR) 2017 held in Sydney, Australia for their pitch in increasing female participation in STEM
 
Fondly known as Peng, he and his team were a part of the Impact Challenge – the key event for HPAIR 2017. “Peng has done a terrific job during HPAIR 2017 and we are proud to see how far he has come,” said Dr. Anindita Dasgupta, Head of School for the School of Liberal Arts & Sciences, Taylor’s University. “I am delighted that through the American Degree Program at Taylor’s University, he has developed integral communications skills and unleashed his passion for public speaking.”
 
Students are involved in real-world cases sponsored by four partnering firms, like Deloitte, Huawei and United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). For this, Peng was partnered with seven fellow students from Australia, India, the Philippines and Vietnam to come up with a 15-minute pitch their three-mission plan. The challenge was sponsored by The United States Studies Centre at the University of Sydney and judged by the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Program Director, Claire MacFarland, eventually awarding the first prize to his team.
 
For Peng, “It was a great honour to have been listed as a finalist and then winning the competition at HPAIR 2017 this year,” he said. “Our team had about five hours to plan a viable strategy the Australian government can adopt on female participation in STEM. We were also assigned a team during the competition, where it was the first time we met each other. We needed to exchange pleasantries and establish a dynamic we were all comfortable with to carry out our tasks.”
 
A group photo with Malaysian student-delegates at the Harvard Project for Asian & International Relations (HPAIR) 2017 held in Sydney, Australia
 
Peng’s team decided to practice collaborative leadership – a term coined by Jack Ma, and let ideas drive their discussions based on the case materials provided. “I believe it would have been easy to lose motivation,” observed Peng. “All of us had different perceptions to the competition, whether to win it or to enjoy the ride, as well as possessing different methods of working styles. However, it turned out well as we took some time to get to know each other and met in the middle for this competition.”
 
During the presentation, Peng said, “I have never felt more proud to be Malaysian than when I was highlighting our country’s successful efforts to raise female participation in STEM. Malaysian delegates present during the competition commended my stance, which made it even more meaningful.” As the event came to a close, Peng brings home many memories, renewed sense of confidence and will look to apply to U.S. Ivy Leagues for the second part of his degree in Liberal Arts, majoring in Philosophy, Political Science and Economics.