If you have desire, you can do. If you apply anything with passion, consistency and dedication, success is sure.
Krishna Situala has recently returned from Laguna, Philippines, after being felicitated with the best team award in the Asia-Pacific Regional Finale of Can Satellite Competition.
Though a very curious person from childhood, Sitaula couldnâ€™t do anything significant in science until class 8 as he attended a village community school. His journey into science started to take a shape after he joined Pashupati English Secondary School in Surunga, Jhapa. When Mr. Shantosh Lama, his science teacher at the school gave him the assignment to build a periscope, he found the work very interesting. Sitaula, in collaboration with a friend, made a periscope that worked in a fantastic way. After that, he was regularly assigned to many other small projects, that made him more interested in Science.
While in class 9, he made a water rocket. That year itself, he made a question-answer detector machine, and a toy car having a reverse-forward system. He had made the car using very basic materials like a battery, springs, and refills from ball-pens. He was successful in making all these only on the basis of science theories he had studied in books in school.
He had to spend around three thousand rupees from his own pocket to make the question-answer detector machine. But, his school later gave him the same amount as a prize, as they loved his idea. â€œMany people had also told me to bring that machine into production, as it was a very interesting tool to teach Kindergarten children. The machine could be used to make children learn in an entertaining way,â€ Sitaula shared.
After making these, he got a platform from Cambridge Institute of Technology to exhibit and showcase his talents amidst various seminars in 6 different places in the east including Ilam, Damak, Ithari, Damak, and Birtamode.
After he completed SLC, he came to Kathmandu for higher education and joined Liverpool International College. Sitaula became the Vice-Chairperson of Science and Technology Club in the college while in class 11. Currently studying in 12thÂ grade, he is chairing the club.
Sitaula along with his 4 friends from Liverpool International College formed a team and applied for the Can Satellite Competition organized by NepalÂ Scientific Activities and Research Centre (NESARC) in Kathmandu. After an extensive 2-months long work, they were able to build a robot that functioned as per the requirement of the competition.
â€œAt first, most of the people were ignoring us. It was only Dr. Bhagwan Subedi, Head of Department of Physics at the college, who urged and motivated us to move forward. But, after we started to work and brought some results, other people too came to support us,â€ he shared.
The team was then chosen to represent Nepal in Asia-Pacific Regional Finale of the competition, held in Laguna, Philippines this November 10-14, where many other countries across the Asia Pacific region had participated with their representative teams.
For the competition, they made a satellite based on Arduino platform, an open source platform. The satellite could measure temperature, altitude, latitude, longitude, percentage of CO2 in the atmosphere and humidity of the atmosphere.
Talking about making of satellites in Nepal, he says that itâ€™s very difficult to find necessary materials.
â€œIn the competition, the main core of the satellite had to be put inside of a can and flown using a drone. And, it was made to fall down using a parachute. We also had to do telemetry, taking various real-time data from the satellite through wireless communication, analyze and present it. The best performing team was declared the winner,â€ he explained about the competition.
Talking about the context of support for science in Nepal, he is of the thought that finance is the major issue to all the students. â€œAt a time when our parents find it hard to manage funds to pay school fees, how can we conduct scientific research?â€ he questions.
â€œGood grades make you just a professional, not a Scientist. And, the current science education system of Nepal makes you a professional, not scientist due to its focus on theory rather than on practical,â€ Sitaula says expressing his dissatisfaction about our college courses.
His parents have been very supportive in all his endeavors. â€œThey have a wish to see me doing something significant in science itself. Whatever experiments I carry out, my family fully supports me and asks to do whatever I think is good for me. They are really motivating,â€ he says.
Sitaula is also actively working with Kaicho Group, a circle of like-minded Nepali youths in Science and Technology aiming to make a Digital Nepal. The group started some 4 years ago, has network spread in various cities across the nation, and is working to develop the sector. â€œAnd, many of the group members are competing in various competitions and getting awarded. We have also been regularly conducting seminars in various schools. Above all, we have been doing all these things voluntarily,â€ he shares.
While conducting these seminars, and getting to come across various students in different schools, he finds Nepalese students to be very curious in science. â€œIn a recently held water-rocket launch programme, we found that school students are very eager to know about science. That time too, I felt that students not only need theoretical education , but practicals too,â€ Sitaula reflects the importance of practical science.
Talking about the context of Nepal being provided with a slot to put two satellites in the space by the International Telecommunication Union in 1984 but it not being able to put a single satellite in space yet, Sitaula is of the thought that it is not that Nepal canâ€™t do so. â€œIt can do that, and there are so many quality human resources in Nepal. Perhaps due to negligence, brain drain is prevalent here. But, I think Nepal can make its own satellite within 5-10 years. The most important thing is that we should build an environment for Nepali scientists. For that, the government should take charge and always be responsible,â€ he adds.
â€œAt Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), there are many Ph.D. holders, but most of them are from the old generation, and focus more on the theoretical part than on practical while preparing college curriculum. There are no researches done in Nepal for the development of Science. And, most of the youths and students are unaware of the opportunities and benefits that they can get from NAST for developing their career in science,â€ Sitaula further adds.
Talking about his future plans, Sitaula shares that he is willing to go to America for further studies after completing his 12th. â€œI will be studying mechanical engineering, as I want to explore myself further in that direction. And, after completing my education, I would return back as I want to do something in my nation itself”.
Sitaula opines that one should always be curious to be successful in Science. â€œIf you are too curious, you surely end up knowing about it. Though I am not that familiar with programming, I could work on the Arduino platform to make can satellites, as I was curious to know about it,â€ he adds. He is also of the thought that there should be good team coordination for a project to be successful. â€œIn our team, some were interested in programming, while others were interested in mechanics. My friends who were good in computer programming handled the programming and operating part of the Satellite, and telemetry, while rest handled the mechanical aspect of satellite, ultimately making the team as the best team in the competition.â€
Giving a message to the aspiring scientists, and youths from any other field, he says that one should have a desire to do whatever they want. â€œIf you have the desire, you can do. If you apply anything with passion, consistency and dedication, success is sure,â€ he says.
Presented By: Basanta Kumar Dhakal