21 January 2005
A-level Graduates are Co-Authors of Article Published in a Scientific Journal
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Two 18-year olds A-level graduates have more than their recent graduation to be happy about. Together with researchers from A*STAR's Bioinformatics Institute, Wong Ling Ling of Raffles Junior College and Sarah Ng of Anglo-Chinese Junior College have their works published in a scientific journal.

From November to December of 2003, they participated in the Student Attachment Programme to A*STAR Research Institutes, organized by the Youth Science Programme, A*STAR and the Ministry of Education. Altogether, a total of 127 students from 10 Junior Colleges were attached to A*STAR's Research Institutes. Ling Ling and Sarah were two of the 20 JC 1 students attached to Bioinformatics Institute.

Results of their research work done during their attachment period, have now been published in an online scientific journal called BMC Medical Informatics and Decision Making. Together with Ms Dong Peng, Ms Marie Loh and Dr Adrian Mondry, they are co-authors of the article, "Quantitative evaluation of recall and precision of CAT Crawler, a search engine specialized on retrieval of Critically Appraised Topics". (The article can be accessed at )

"That is an excellent outcome for such a brief assignment", said their mentor at Bioinformatics Institute, Dr. Adrian Mondry, who heads the Institute's Medical and Clinical Informatics Group. "Research Scientists benchmark their success by the number of publications they contribute to scientific journals. Most scientists start publishing only towards the end of their PhD course. What Ling Ling and Sarah have achieved here is quite extraordinary for people so young".

But he is not at all surprised. As a regular judge of the Singapore Science and Engineering Fair, Dr. Mondry said he is now used to seeing the excellent level of science education provided by Singapore's junior colleges. "These youngsters are incredibly motivated, and surprisingly well educated. If their share in the work-load is relevant, I do not see why they should be deprived of the glory of co-authorship." said Dr. Mondry, who is the article's senior author.

"Without the first positive tests conducted by Ling Ling and Sarah, I might not have decided to enlarge on this subject." As a committed team player with a passion for education, Dr. Mondry enjoyed hosting the JC interns. "Their questions helped my colleagues and me to a much higher degree of auto- critique. We have greatly profited from their assignment to our group."

As part of the A*STAR's ongoing outreach program to schools, four more JC students joined his team in November 2004, and he hopes their work will meet with similar success. "After all, the students sacrifice their holidays for this attachment. They should have something to show for it. Sarah and Ling Ling surely have."

Indeed, from their perspective, even without this bonus of co-authoring the paper, the students are very grateful that the Bioinformatics Institute opened its doors to them. They too are appreciative of the generosity and guidance of a researcher like Dr. Mondry, who quietly but actively supports science outreach. They will surely take away more than just the thrill of a science attachment resulting in a published paper.

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