Aspiring to serve underprivileged communities in Hong Kong, two outstanding undergraduates from City University of Hong Kong (CityU) stood out among participants from other local universities to win the HSBC Overseas Scholarship 2021/22.
This year only five university students in Hong Kong received this scholarship and CityU students accounted for half the total funding of awards. Each student was granted HK$300,000 to support their studies on the joint bachelor's degree programmes at Columbia University, US.
Intelligent systems for underprivileged students
One of the awardees, Harvey Ng Ming-hin, is a Year 3 student studying for the Bachelor of Science in Computer Science. Since childhood, he has understood that underprivileged students often have limited access to learning resources under a traditional education system. Thus, he has been inspired to improve the local education environment with smart technology.
AI and data science taught in his classes introduced him to new learning perspectives and interests, Harvey said. With the robotics knowledge he learnt during his internship at the Innovation and Technology Bureau, he used “Intelligence Tutoring System" as the topic for his final-year project. He would like to make use of intelligent systems to collect data and then analyse the learning difficulties of individual students so as to provide teachers with tailor-made solutions and improve learning efficiency.
This innovative idea secured Harvey the scholarship that will support his studies at Columbia University where he will complete the remaining two years of the joint degree programme. "I am very grateful to CityU for providing me with this precious learning opportunity. I can go to the US and look into their technological development, as well as enhance my own subject knowledge, in order to put ideas into practice and contribute to society", he said.
Personal experience inspiring help for less privileged
Another winner, Chloe Chow Nga-yau, is a Year 2 student studying for the Bachelor of Social Sciences in Public Policy and Politics. Having benefited from financial aid when she was younger, Chloe aspires to be a "policy maker" by applying what she learnt to improve people's livelihoods from the policy level.
The Public Policy and Politics programme at CityU offers courses such as Urban Policy and International Relations, which set a concrete foundation for her and raised her concerns for Hong Kong society and international issues, Chloe said. During her 6-month internship at a policy research institution, she was given the opportunity to participate in different community research projects, including interviews with tenants of subdivided flats so that she could understand their problems.
"The visits were unforgettable. In addition to meeting residents in person, I also got to understand that we should not solely rely on government policy on income redistribution for solving poverty in Hong Kong. More importantly, more vocational training for low-income earners should be provided for improving skills and abilities so that people can sustain themselves over long run", she added.
Chloe said studying in the US with the scholarship was a precious opportunity and that she looked forward to meeting people from all walks of life, sharing their thoughts and views, broadening her horizons and laying a better foundation for becoming a "policy maker" in the future.