By Nasa Maria Entaban

YVONNE Choo Shuen Lann has an unusual role model for someone her age. The 19-year-old aspiring scientist from Selangor looks up to Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie.

She also has a rather unique hobby – scouring the web for “chemistry videos”.

This unusual pastime is one of the many factors that got her to take part in, and ultimately win, the video category of the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry’s (IUPAC) Polymer Division Competition. The theme was “A World Without Polymers”.

Yvonne’s video explains what polymers are, and their uses, in a manner that is easy to understand. Told in layman’s terms and explained with colourful and eye-catching props and graphics, the video turned out tops among entries from all over Asia. Because of this, Yvonne was invited to speak and present her video at an awards ceremony at San Juan, Puerto Rico, earlier this month.

When she was there, she attended symposiums on Alternative Energy Sources at the 43rd IUPAC World Chemistry Congress.

“I love going through videos about science, especially chemistry, because there’s a lot we can learn from educational videos that aren’t in our textbooks,” says Yvonne, who is also a trained ballerina.

“Chemistry is interesting to me because I like conducting experiments and watching different reactions that happen when you add this or that to an experiment,” she adds.

She pieced her award-winning video together from scratch – she composed, sang (yes, she sang) and recorded the accompanying song and built all the props from raw material.

Yvonne runs an educational blog ( for Form Four and Form Five students, where she shares notes and tips on science and mathematics, as well as interesting videos. She wants students to realise that science can be interesting … and it is!

She will soon begin pursuing a degree in Pure Chemistry at Universiti Sains Malaysia in Penang, the first step towards fulfilling her ambition of becoming a scientist.

“When I have learned enough, I hope to use my knowledge to help solve some environmental problems. I want to use science to help solve some of the world’s problems,” she says.
To watch Yvonne’s award-winning video, head to 


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