Solving problems worldwide

HAPPY RESULT: E Wen Wong said she was in "complete shock" to gain fifth place at the Future Problem Solving World Championships in the United States.

Burnside High student E Wen Wong continues to show her talents to the world, finishing fifth at the Future Problem Solving world championships in the United States.

When she saw her result at the championships in Wisconsin, she got a “complete shock”.

“It took me a while to comprehend,” she said.

E Wen previously competed in the competition in 2016, finishing sixth. She said this year’s competition was more challenging.

When E Wen returned from the championships last month, she started up a community problem-solving group at her school. She is training a group of year 9 students so they can qualify for the national competition next year. The year 11 student is familiar with international relations, recently attending a New Zealand Model United Nations event in Wellington.

The event involved four days of workshops, debates, guest speakers and a taste of life as a diplomat.

E Wen is in her second year as one of 10 UN youth high school ambassadors for the Canterbury region.

However, her talents aren’t just limited to competitions and conferences. Earlier this year she started designing a robot to detect plastic in beaches, rivers and the ocean.

She has received support from experts at NIWA, ThisDesign and Limitless who have shown interest in the project. The robot is called BIRD – which stands for Biomimicry Identification Robot Device – and is also shaped like a bird.

The plastic can be tagged and linked to a crowd-sourced clean-up app that guides rubbish collectors to dispose of it.

E Wen has been working on
the designs for her robot through the advocacy organisation she set
up at school, P.S Our Beaches, which is spreading awareness about the environment and climate change.

After school, she wants to attend university and study a combination of subjects she is passionate about, including meteorology, international law and environmental law.