Survey: More Singapore students favour local tertiary institutions

By: Alythea Ho

Going local, not global, for scholarships and education seem to be on the priority list for Singapore students these days. In addition, students today are more likely to know which sector they want to work in, compared to their predecessors five years ago. They also prefer a career in Banking & Finance, while jobs in the Hotel & Hospitality industry have seen one of the biggest falls in student interest since 2009.

These are some of the findings from the 2013 BrightSparks Scholarship & Career Survey. According to the survey, interest in local tertiary scholarships has hit a five-year high, gathering the majority 22.4% votes from ‘A’ level, International Baccalaureate (IB) diploma graduates, and Polytechnic final year students.


Grooming Engineering Innovators

Left: Tracie Teo | Right: Tan Ying Yi

Attracted by the opportunity to be at the forefront of engineering innovation, two scholars share with us what life is like with one of Asia’s biggest defence and engineering groups with diversified businesses in the aerospace, electronics, land systems and marine sectors.

By Renee Seow

You may think that gymnastics and the Hollywood blockbuster Pearl Harbor have nothing in common, but for Tan Yingyi, both played a vital role in shaping her aeronautical ambitions.

“I’ve always loved the feeling of flying through the air so when I was a sprightly 6-year-old, I took up gymnastics. Then, after watching the aerial acrobatics in Pearl Harbor, that was when I decided I wanted to be a pilot,” the 25-year-old reminisces.

Unfortunately, due to height restrictions, Yingyi’s pilot ambition failed to take off. So, she did the next best thing – landing the ST Engineering Overseas Scholarship instead.

Besides giving her the opportunity to pursue her ambitions, the scholarship also gave Yingyi the flexibility to study in any field that she wanted. “It gave me the choice of choosing my course of study and university, as long it was related to what the company does,” she says.

Soaring High
To fuel her aviation aspirations, Yingyi majored in Mechanical Engineering at Cornell University before making the short hop over to Columbia University to get a Master’s degree in Engineering Management System.

Now, Yingyi is a Senior Project Engineer in the commercial business unit of the Engineering Development Centre at ST Aerospace, the aerospace arm of ST Engineering.

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Global Business Leaders

Left: Desmond Yeo | Right: Yeoh Mei Ling

Despite being a mere little red dot on the map, Singapore’s companies are making waves on the global scene. Helping them make a name for themselves overseas are the officers of IE Singapore. We speak to two of them and find out what exactly they do to contribute to Singapore’s economy.

By Eliza Hamizah

Shape the course of Singapore’s economy, create jobs for thousands of Singaporeans, and travel the globe to rub shoulders with some of the world’s top business and political leaders.

That, in a nutshell, is the world of International Enterprise (IE) Singapore. For those keen on such a life, the IE Singapore Undergraduate Scholarship provides its recipients with invaluable experiences.

Two IE Singapore scholars, Yeoh Mei Ling and Desmond Yeo, take some time off their busy schedules and tell us how the scholarship has led them on the adventure of their lives, where the world is their oyster.

Abundant Opportunities
Squeezing in a quick interview with us before he rushes to an important meeting with China government officials, 26-year-old Desmond reveals that he sought the scholarship as it would expose him to international business and allow him to meet and interact with top industry leaders.

Desmond Yeo: “IE Singapore gave me opportunities to study in New York, Shanghai and Tokyo. It was amazing.”

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Getting Work-Life Balance Down to a Science

Left: Jiang Sizun | Right: Tan Wui Siew

Contrary to the misconception that scientists spend long hours in their laboratories and hardly have time to pursue other interests, A*STAR scholars Dr Tan Wui Siew and Jiang Sizun demonstrate that it’s possible to be part of a world-class research organisation and still keep a good work-life balance.

By Renee Seow

When Dr Tan Wui Siew is not pushing the boundaries of materials science, the trim and tanned 28-year-old research scientist indulges in sports and occasionally travels to neighbouring countries to immerse in nature.

Her fellow compatriot, Jiang Sizun, is also a researcher, albeit in the field of structural biology and biochemistry. However, away from the microscope, the bespectacled 23-year-old enjoys running half marathons.

Besides their similar active lifestyles, both Wui Siew and Sizun are also recipients of one of Singapore’s most reputed science scholarships, the National Science Scholarship under the Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR).

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A Beacon of Hope

Left: Lau Kin Mun | Right: Mumtaz Mohamed Yusoff

The OCBC Local Undergraduate Scholarship has been the gateway to dreams once thought unachievable, the light that illuminates the path to a brighter future. We talk to two OCBC scholars who tell us how the scholarship has enabled them to reach for the stars.

By Farhan Shah

“Happiness can be found; even in the darkest of times, if one only remembers to turn on the light,” Albus Dumbledore had said in the movie ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’. Our two protagonists in this story would understand this line better than most, having survived a difficult childhood to emerge stronger and wiser with the help of the OCBC Local Undergraduate Scholarship.

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The Art of Communication

Effective communication is said to be the pillar of everything we do. Miscommunication has more than often resulted in chaos and unnecessary panic. To ensure Singapore doesn’t suffer such a fate, MICA ensures that the Government conveys its key priorities to its people through a variety of communication channels.

By Eliza Hamizah

When I walked into Bey Mui Leng’s office, she was busy sending out an email to one of the divisions at the Ministry of Health (MOH). After a cheerful hello and a hasty apology, she promised to devote her full attention to us to share more about the Information Service (IS).

“There is so much to share that I wouldn’t do justice to the IS in just half an hour!” Mui Leng laughs.

Smiling, Mui Leng explained that she had been kept busy over the past two days as the Ministry had to conduct a technical briefing on tuberculosis (TB).

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Finding The Key To A Sustainable Future

Amid the growing controversy over the potential environmental damage, it is comforting to know that two PhD students holding Environmental & Water Technologies scholarships administered by the NRF and PUB (EWI) are doing their part to help create a sustainable future. Melvin Tang and Ng Jiawei share their ideas and knowledge with blazing enthusiasm.

By Mabel Tan

What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of environmentalists? Does an image of green crusaders with a penchant for preaching to anyone who is willing to listen come to mind?

Meet two students who are certainly not the tree-huggers or Armageddon prophets some people perceive them to be.

Both 26-year-old Melvin Tang and 29-year-old Ng Jiawei are pursuing their doctorate in civil and environmental engineering with the help of the Environmental & Water Technologies scholarship administered by the National Research Foundation and PUB’s Environment & Water Industry Programme Office.

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At The Forefront of Water Technologies

The environment and water industry has been identified as one of Singapore’s key growth areas. To strengthen the country’s research capability, a PhD scholarship offered by EWI of PUB, the national water agency, was set up to groom experts for this burgeoning sector. Meet two recipients who share how the scholarship has allowed them to pursue their research interests.

By Ruth Wong

Regarded as the most intelligent man in Egypt, the current director of the Library of Alexandria Ismail Serageldin had warned in 1995 that “if the wars of this century were fought over oil, the wars of the next century will be fought over water."

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Impossible Is Nothing

Helping entrepreneurs turn their ideas into profit-making ventures is an exciting endeavour, as Beatrice Wong from SPRING Singapore will tell you.
By Yvette Lim

The world of entrepreneurship is, at once, full of barriers and possibilities. Given that there's so much to learn and do, being in the department of New Business Support in SPRING Singapore is definitely an enriching experience. Beatrice Wong joined the organisation after graduating from the National University of Singapore (NUS), and has been with SPRING for close to three years now. Yet the Senior Manager with a degree in Geography still feels that the company has so much more to offer her.

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Getting A Rewarding Career With IRAS

IRAS strongly believes that its staff is critical to the success of the organisation. IRAS is therefore committed to hiring talented individuals and developing the potential of its people. Two IRAS scholars share their experiences.

by Md Sufyan Saad

A government body that deals with taxation policy and administration, the Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore (IRAS) is committed to actively shaping an individual’s future through its scholarship programme.

IRAS scholars can look forward to reaping the many benefits that come with the IRAS scholarship awards. All scholars will be assigned both a mentor and a buddy, with the former being a member of the Senior Management and the latter a returned scholar.

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