HER ambition is to inspire others in whatever she is doing. And, for that to happen, she has to create her own achievements.
However, Nurul Husna Mohd Yusoff, 21, had to go through some hurdles in her life, like dealing with depression when she was doing her A Levels, which she regarded as the lowest point in her life.
Although her passion was on creating innovative ideas, she chose to slow things down and focus on her studies.
“My passion in innovation started when I was selected to do a hands-on science project based on absorption and separation processes to remove a solute from a gas stream,” Nurul Husna said.
“The processes accomplish the removal by contacting the gas mixture with a liquid solvent that readily absorbs undesirable components from the gas stream, at the same time purifying it.
“Most of my projects are based on waste, such as shrimp shells, empty fruit bunch and other materials.”
However, she said she needed to be more confident and overcome her insecurities. In order for her to be accepted into the university of her choice, she needed to get good grades.
“Therefore, I surround myself with positive vibes so that I can be more creative in my innovation and excel in my studies,” said the Penangite.
Her recent international achievements in innovations not only made her family proud, but the country, too.
“The latest competition I joined was the World Scientist Award 2017 in South Korea, in which I won two awards — World Woman Scientist Grand Award and World Gifted Students Grand Award.”
She was selected as the winner due to her achievements academically and in innovation competitions.
“I was up against participants who were older than me and matured from other countries, such as Thailand, Singapore, South Korea, Morocco and others,” Nurul Husna said.
“I also won the Gold Award and Special Award at the Toronto International Society of Innovation & Advanced Skills last year.
“I joined these competitions because I want to know my project’s progress, whether they are in demand or not, and to gain more experience,” Nurul Husna said.
“To be honest, I did not expect to win these awards as most of the participants are lecturers, professors and researchers,” said Nurul Husna.
Nurul Husna went to Sekolah Menengah Sains Tun Syed Sheh Shahabuddin in Penang.
The youngest of five siblings, she strove to excel in her studies at boarding school. Her parents, Mohd Yusoff Abu Bakar and Jemilah Mat, are retirees.
After SPM, she did her A Levels at Kolej Yayasan UEM.
Now, she is doing a twinning programme in Chemical Engineering with Oil and Gas Technology at Heriot-Watt University Malaysia in Putrajaya. It is a four-year degree programme combined with a master’s programme. She plans to further her studies till PhD level.
“I am in the process of patenting my prototype and publishing an article related to my project, which is about the absorption process to tackle oil spills, especially in Malaysia.”
To participate in The 4th World Scientist Award, she had to submit an application form to explain her project, as well as attach what was related to the project and her involvement in the innovation field.
“I used disposable waste to absorb oil. It can also act as fertiliser after the absorption. For fibre materials, it is a multi-purpose product where it can act as absorption and make paper,” Nurul Husna explained.
“Since I have yet to patent my project, I needed to explain why and what my future prospect was for the competition.
“To patent a project, you need to know whether your project has a commercial value. This is the challenge for me as I need to improvise my project in order to patent it.”
As a student, Nurul Husna has the same daily routine as her peers.
Her classes would start from 9am till 4.30pm everyday. Then, she would go for a run, or play basketball or hockey.
“At night, I teach English, Additional Mathematics and Chemistry at a tuition centre, in Puchong. If I do not have tuition class, I will sleep for a while around two to three hours after Isyak prayers.
“Then, I will wake up to study and settle my work. Every day, I will revise what I have learnt that day.
“I will study until dawn and go to class the next day,” she said, adding that her routine since her school years had become a habit.
For Nurul Husna, the term leadership is close to her heart since school. She normally takes charge of a situation and comes out with the best solution for every problem.
“I am one of the ambassadors for Kalsom Movement, a non-governmental organisation that tackles education inequality in Malaysia.
“I was also one of the facilitators for Small Changes to help underprivileged students,” she said.
Nurul Husna said next month, she would be a volunteer for the World Urban Forum in Kuala Lumpur.
Her advice for others would be “to just go out and explore, and do not be afraid to take risks”, adding that failure is the key to success.
“You will not know your talent until you get out of your comfort zone. Do what you want to do, but prioritise what is most important.”
“Organise your schedule like how you want your life to be organised. When you experience difficulty, instead of giving up, use your obstacles to become a stronger person. You will do great afterwards.
“I look up to my second brother, Dr Mohd Azlan, who is my inspiration. He graduated with a doctorate degree at the age of 30. He challenged me to graduate earlier than him. I accepted his challenge, and hope to graduate at 26 or 27.
“My brother had gone through a lot in his life, but he is still standing strong. He advises and motivates me when I feel like giving up.” she added.