Featured Alumni

 

Many of our alumni have gone on to rewarding careers. We feature some of our alumni to share their career highlights which show how our Science Transformative Education has opened unlimited opportunities.

 

 

October 2016

 

The Faculty of Science’ Special Programme in Science (SPS) was first established in 1996 as a premier talent development programme for a select group of Science undergraduates with an intense passion and strong aptitude for science. It admits about 40 students each year, who undergo a comprehensive and integrated curriculum that provides rigorous training of mind and character. In the course of completing the programme requirements, these students are introduced to broad areas of contemporary scientific research through an interdisciplinary approach; this has been a key cornerstone and hallmark of SPS over the years. 

 

Today, SPS has produced many successful graduates who have progressed to Science-based and Science-oriented careers, here in Singapore and at many renowned universities and institutions around the world. 

 

As SPS celebrates its 20th Anniversary, we feature below, several of its alumni and what they feel about their SPS experiences in the context of their careers.

 

Dr Bernard Leong Chung Wei

SPS 1996
B.Sc., Physics, 1998
Head of Post Office Network & Digital Services
Singapore Post Ltd

 
Dr Bernard Leong is an experienced senior executive with extensive business and technology management background in the digital and retail space (consumer Internet, social media & mobile). His skill sets include building, managing and motivating teams with strong leadership to achieve positive outcomes. 
 
He is presently the Head of Post Office Network and Digital Services at Singapore Post Ltd., and has recently graduated from Global Solutions Program 2016 at Singularity University in the United States. With his extensive background as a startup entrepreneur, angel investor and a connector to the Asia Pacific entrepreneurial ecosystem, he is currently an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD Business School’s Singapore campus. His personal passions include founding and growing Analyse Asia, a weekly podcast on technology, business and media with notable industry players and thought leaders from all over Asia.
 
In recognition of his accomplishments and contributions, Bernard received NUS’ Outstanding Young Alumnus Award in 2007 and the Young Professional of the Year award from the Singapore Computer Society IT Leader Awards in 2010.
 
The SPS program has been a very instrumental part in my career development from my Ph.D days and subsequently to other areas of my career, be it a startup or in the corporate world. The business, technological and societal challenges in the 21st century require a multi-disciplinary approach and an open mind to meet and resolve challenges and problems; I strongly believe the mindset taught and promoted in SPS prepares its students for this brave new world.

 



 

GohHockLeong1

Goh Hock Leong 

SPS 1996
B.Sc. (1st Class Hons), Physics, 1998; M.Sc. 1999
Deputy Principal (Academic)
NUS High School of Mathematics and Science 

 

Making it to the Dean’s List in every semester of his undergraduate years, Goh Hock Leong was also among the first students to migrate to NUS’ modular system. When he was in his third year of studies, he heard about and signed up with the pioneer batch of students in the newly introduced Special Programme in Science (SPS). He credits his SPS experience for the excellent performance in his studies, graduating with first class honours in Physics, topping the class and receiving the Institute of Physics Silver medal and the Jurong Shipyard Book Prize. A year later, he also obtained a M.Sc. in the Accelerated Masters Programme at NUS. He continued his association with SPS when he was appointed as the first Alumnus-Head Mentor of the Programme.
 
Hock Leong’s passion for Science then led him to excel in his choice of career as an educator. With increasing recognition from superiors and peers alike, he took on more responsibilities, leading project teams, conceptualising and introducing new initiatives/programmes and representing the school or the ministry of Education on the boards of charity organisation. Some notable accomplishments are the spearheading of the inaugural Singapore International Science Challenge (SISC) in 2007, the inaugural Singapore International Mathematics Challenge (SIMC) just a year later, his appointment as delegation leader on a study tour of high schools and universities overseas that specialise in gifted education and his appointment to the Secretariat for the Temasek Education Foundation in 2011.
 
Hock Leong was a winner of the National Iron Science Teacher Competition in 2006, and received an honorary prize for his sci-fi work in the Science.06 Sci-Fi Creative Writing Competition.
 
I was in the first cohort when NUS introduced its modular system and admittedly benefited from the new curriculum. However what really touched me to this day are the lessons learnt in SPS. It was SPS that rekindled my passion in science; it allowed me to work on interdisciplinary research projects. The constant interaction and learning with faculty members and peers from other disciplines made me very comfortable and versatile with any scientific discipline. When I was approached to join NUS High School in 2007, I agreed largely because I wished to pay forward for what I received in SPS. I want to play my part to inspire future generations of students in science.
 

 

 



1850
Associate Professor Mahesh UTTAMCHANDANI
SPS 2000
B.Sc. (Hons), Microbiology, 2004; Ph.D., Biology 2007
Assistant Director (Human Systems), MINDEF and Adjunct Associate Professor, NUS
SPS presents NUS Science undergraduates, as it did me when I enrolled in 2000, an opportunity to venture beyond what science can explain about the world, and dwell on what science today cannot. As such, the programme conditions undergraduates for an intellectually demanding workplace, where innovation and producing out-of-the-box ideas requires a brand of boldness, clarity and unrestrained thinking, found especially in the SPS graduate.


1890
Andreas DEWANTO
SPS 2001
B.Sc. (Hons) Physics, 2005; M.Sc. Physics, 2008
Instructor, NUS Physics Department and Assistant Director, Special Programme in Science
I learned my teaching and supervision skills through my experiences in SPS mentorship. The responsibility and trust given to the student-mentors - in teaching, supervising, grading, and even helping to design SPS syllabus - gives the leadership and ownership of the programme to the mentors.


1891
Mark QUEK Swee Ming
SPS 2004
B.Sc. (Hons) Life Sciences, 2008
Co-Owner, FAMC Farming Ltd. and Pilot, Singapore Airlines
SPS has always provided many opportunities for both undergraduates and graduates to have a well-rounded education. Not just to have a strong foundation in knowledge obtained from books, but also to hone their mind-set and soft skills. The market of the future holds many exciting opportunities for today's undergraduates. These opportunities will give rise to challenges that must be overcome with resilience and multi-disciplinary approaches to thinking and decision-making - virtues which are the cornerstones of the SPS curriculum. I firmly believe the high levels of rigor and finesse that the programme inculcates in its students will position them comfortably in tomorrow's market. .


1896
JEON Ah Jung
SPS 2010
B.Sc. (Hons) Life Sciences, 2014
Ph.D. Student, NUS
SPS was a significant part of my undergraduate life and it was worth every second. Its curriculum is designed to sharpen students\' communication skills, analytical skills, and encourages peer learning. They are important skills across all fields, especially in scientific research. Even today, I learn something new every time I go back to SPS as a mentor. .


1892
NG Xin Zhao
SPS 2008
B.Sc. (Hons) Physics, 2012
Project Executive, Environment Protection, Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery
My career is very heavy on organizing events and education for the public. SPS has given me the confidence and rigorousness to investigate climate news to the sources (eg. technical and scientific papers); I use these to prepare my educational materials and to discern when climate denying science is junk science and the exact details in which may confuse the public. My SPS training also helped for me to communicate effectively from the science to the layperson level, determining which details are more important to include, whether the science is beyond them, so as to educate and highlight to the public the urgency of protecting our planet and its environments. .


1898
Ivan John CLEMENT
SPS 2009
B.Sc. (Hons) Computational Biology, 2013
Data Scientist (R&D and Real-World Evidence), Merck & Co. (MSD)
Being a data scientist in the pharmaceutical industry not only requires deep computational and programming skills, but also a thorough understanding of a scientific domain of knowledge and the critical rigor of iteratively questioning assumptions and interpretations. The training in SPS helped me greatly in this regard, as it provided me with the solid foundation of asking the right questions and using the right tools to interrogate data. Moreover, the SPS curriculum and culture also promoted focus on comprehending and communicating scientific ideas well - both in spoken and written form. These skills have been helpful for me not only in the academic domain, but also in industry setting.


1899
SOH Rong'En
SPS 2010
B.Sc. (Hons) Physics, 2014
Senior Consultant, IBM
There are a few skills highly prized in digital consulting: the ability to think critically; present your findings and yourself well, and collaborate effectively with others. Over and above its multi-disciplinary approach to learning and problem solving, SPS is a great place to hone these useful and lifelong skills!


1900
Tan Yi Han
SPS 2012
B.Sc. (Hons) Life Sciences, 2016
Research Assistant, NUS YLLSOM Department of Biochemistry
Critical thinking is a prized skill in my work as a researcher. The SPS programme fosters both scientific and mental rigour, which help with understanding and tackling complex questions in biology. I have benefited from the guidance of my mentors and the strong camaraderie within SPS community.


1903
Luo Weiwei
SPS 2005
B.Sc. (Hons) Computational Biology, 2009
Bioimaging Informatics Scientist, Merck & Co. (MSD)
When I enrolled in SPS in 2005, I could never imagine that the experience will have a profound influence even 11 years later: I met SPSians in my graduate school, during my postdoctoral training, and in my current company - and the friendships continue; the interactive learning and critical thinking lasted and expanded to many areas of my professional life; the interdisciplinary approaches benefit my research. Most importantly, SPS cultivated my passion in Science - it not only taught me the research skills but also provided me many opportunities to do scientific research. Thanks to SPS, I can call myself "Scientist" now.


1904
Dr Daphne Ng Hui Ping
SPS 2005
B.Sc. (Hons) Life Sciences, 2009, Ph.D. Microbiology, 2015
Research Fellow, NTU School of Civil and Environmental Engineering
Once upon a time, a young girl fell head over heels in love with some very small things (otherwise known as microorganisms) and decided that she would become a scientist to understand them better. When she came of age, she decided to pursue her obsession at one of the top universities in Asia. Peeking out among the countless flyers that she received was a nondescript yellow leaflet which stated simply that the Special Programme in Science (SPS) would be making ice-cream using liquid nitrogen at the Open House. The rest, as they say, is history. I have been a SPS student, junior mentor, student mentor and graduate mentor. Today, I can finally call myself a microbiologist. When I first joined SPS as an undergraduate, I was attracted by the opportunities offered by the programme to pursue research and develop research skills. Through its rigorous programme and focus on interdisciplinary research, SPS has indeed been instrumental in training me to be the scientist I am today. In fact, as a die-hard biologist, I credit SPS for making me appreciate the importance of Mathematics and Physics in research! Another unique feature of SPS is that the programme is largely led by its students. Being a mentor has allowed me to develop skills in communication and I am privileged to have been given the opportunity to guide the next generation of SPS students. Most importantly, I have also made many friends during my time at SPS, all of whom are passionate about science. So are you ready to live curious and be challenged? .