by Skylar Ward

There is plenty that sets an SAS high school education apart from that of other international schools, and certainly, from that of other US high schools. One of the most notable is the Catalyst project, an in-depth personalized learning experience. The Catalyst project is a cultural as well as instructional self-study project where students work with a mentor on a self-directed learning experience. Each project is aimed at a specific and strategic, measurable, attainable, results-oriented, and time-bound goal. Students demonstrate their competency in the Catalyst project’s standards, centered around character, collaboration, communication, creativity, critical thinking, and cultural competence, also known as the school’s DSLOs, in addition to self-awareness and application.

The Catalyst project gives students the opportunity to pursue their own paths of exploration in an academic setting, while demonstrating their readiness for university learning to the fullest extent of their enthusiasm, autonomy, capacity, and complexity. A student may conduct university laboratory research into autoimmunity treatment, or establish their own cosmetics company. They might want to conduct an extended service-learning project, or perhaps spend a semester as an intern in a working art studio. There are no limits to what a student can do in Catalyst. Here's a glimpse into some of SAS Catalyst Impact Fellows and their work as part of the project. 

Anya Devgan 

Anya Devgan took AT Research and Catalyst through the 2017-18 school year. For her project, she studied the postpartum health of working mothers in Singapore. Devgan hoped to discover whether there was a relationship between a mother's postpartum depressive symptoms and her participation in confinement, a Chinese postpartum ritual that restricts mothers to the confines of their homes in an effort to regulate the imbalance of energy caused by pregnancy. Devgan enjoyed AT Research and Catalyst because it gave her the opportunity to learn more about herself and to discover a topic that she is truly passionate about—an experience that she seldom receives within a traditional classroom setting. Aside from this course, Devgan is also passionate about service, Model United Nations, dance, and female participation in the STEM field.



Bryanna Entwistle

Bryanna Entwistle took AT Research and Catalyst her junior year as part of the two-year AP Capstone program. She can say for a fact that enrolling in such was the best decision of her high school career. For her study, Entwistle analyzed the implications of living abroad on self-authorship—a domain of identity development—among third culture kids, specifically high schoolers preparing for transitions to collegiate environments. Entwistle found that a positive correlation does exist, for service provides the opportunities for self-contextualization, autonomous action, problem-solving, and decision making needed for one to move away from pattern following and towards acting as an individual. Entwistle's paper is currently being considered for publication in the Stanford Social Review. Outside of the Catalyst world, she is extremely passionate about service, dance, and writing. She also a self-proclaimed expert on Hamilton.

Ryan Jung 

Ryan Jung started with his Catalyst project in the spring of 2018, where he created an online portfolio for his web games and 3D architectural renderings. In the process, Jung was able to take on professional level work and meaningfully impact the SAS community by presenting his architectural design to Dr. Kimball and others. Jung's favorite part of Catalyst was communicating with his classmates and having the time to work on his own passions with the support and focus of a school environment. Catalyst created an opportunity for Ryan to deeply explore his many interests (such as game design, architecture, and computer science) and discover what mattered to him most. Ryan will be pursuing Catalyst again in the fall of 2018 and spring of 201, and is excited to investigate topics like biotechnology and machine learning.


Shivastu Kartik

Shivastu Kartik undertook his Catalyst project in the spring of 2018, and his project combined his passion for physics with his concern for the environment to design a device that harnesses the drag force acting on MRT trains, and generates an electric current. Kartik developed a detailed design, and worked with a Professor at the National University of Singapore, engineers at Japan Railways, the Delhi Metro and the physics faculty (Mr. Crawford) at SAS to refine his design. The journey of finding mentors, and integrating their inputs gave Kartik valuable exposure to the nuances and constraints of real-world applications, while also allowing him to delve freely into the subject he is passionate about in creative and unique ways. Outside of physics class, Kartik plays the guitar and loves to learn and speak French. He is also the president of the French Honour Society.

Jeniffer Park 

Jeniffer Park started with her Catalyst project in the spring of 2018. Her project focused on diving deeper into the nursing profession. Park knew she wanted a hands-on experience. After some research, Park found a three-day internship program at the Tan Tock Seng Hospital, which led to writing a reflection and compilation of mini-lessons on her experiences. In addition, Park bridged our school and the hospital by giving SAS students the opportunity to participate in the three-day program that she experienced. To expand her knowledge further and get more experience in the field, Park applied to be a healthcare assistant at Tan Tock Seng and spent her summer working in a neuro med- surg ward. Catalyst gave Jeniffer the ability to work on and take action to build her passion of becoming a nurse. It gave her the freedom to do what she's always wanted to do and explore, something that doesn't happen in a regular traditional classroom setting. Park cannot wait to expand and grow her catalyst project in the upcoming two semesters.

Skylar Ward

Skylar Ward took Catalyst in 2018 during the second semester of her junior year. Her project was to educate people about the endangerment of pangolins. This included giving talks to classrooms all around the school about what pangolins are, why they are endangered and what they could do to help. She then raised money to help them through a bake sale, online fundraising page, and she sold 3D-printed pangolins that she had made. Lastly, Ward put up a collaborative banner in the library to raise even more awareness in the high school. Ward loved catalyst because it gave her the opportunity to do something that she was passionate about during school hours. Since she's studying animal science in college, it was an amazing opportunity for her to use her time experiencing the field that she is going in to. Along with being a fellow, Ward is also involved with a lot of service activities, is a teaching assistant for a Catalyst class, and is the COO of HeroTech.


  • catalyst
  • catalyst project
  • high school
  • Impact Fellows
  • personalized learning



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