2012 – Award Winners
Ang Yan Ee
The Lee Kuan Yew Award
Ang Yan Ee, Peirce Secondary School alumnus, was studying in a junior college when she came across videos produced by ACRES, an animal protection organisation, promoting vegetarianism. Touched, she became a vegan and her interest in nutrition was sparked. Upon further research, Yan Ee decided she wanted to further her studies in the field.
After finding out the pre- requisites to study Food Science & Technology at NUS, Yan Ee was dismayed to find she needed Chemistry and Biology - two subjects she was not studying. She also found out that polytechnic students with outstanding results could qualify. Despite her parents' misgivings, she decided to drop out of the junior college and enrol into TP's Applied Food Science & Nutrition course because it had the subject she was most interested in: nutrition. The outspoken girl also promised her parents, a taxi driver and a homemaker that she would do well.
In her second year at TP, Yan Ee joined two interest groups - Pacesetters and Dance, where
she was the group's secretary. "Pacesetters taught me much about VIP protocol while I've always been interested in dance. I took ballet lessons till I was 19!"
In the same year, she chose to major in food science and jumped at the chance to do her internship in China's Nanchang University.
Throughout, she found the time between her CCAs and school work to tutor weaker classmates in mathematics and statistics. She also participated in many community projects, including health checks for low income families. Yan Ee was part of the team that went
to Cambodia under a joint collaboration between TP and Temasek Foundation to teach Cambodians about nutrition as well as making fruit jam for sustainability.
Her final-year project garnered distinctions. Yan Ee developed low GI bread using chickpea flour as well as low GI scones. She tweaked both recipes countless times before she was satisfied with the outcome.
Today, Yan Ee graduates with a cGPA of 3.90 and has been accepted into NUS'
Food Science & Technology course. Eventually, she hopes to open her own bakery and incorporate the principles of nutrition she has learnt.
Of her polytechnic education, she has this to share: "Time management is really important. Every time I felt frazzled, I would remember my initial goal of studying in NUS, and I would be determined
to go on. My experience has taught me to be resilient even under stress."
Koh Ming Rong Dominic
The Lee Kuan Yew Award
"Without effort, there can be no useful result" - that's a truth that
Lee Kuan Yew Award winner Dominic Koh holds close to his heart. The younger of two children of a customer service agent and a senior accounts officer, Dominic graduates with 25 distinctions, 6 A's and a perfect cGPA of 4.0. Not surprisingly, he has consistently been top student of his Biomedical Informatics & Engineering cohort and in the Director's List since his first year.
Dominic had actually hoped to follow his auditor sister's footsteps and go to Nanyang Junior College after completing his O level examinations
at Compassvale Secondary School, but he fell short of the cut-off point by one. His mother urged him to take the polytechnic route instead and advised him to take
up a course that is future- oriented. Naturally interested in science, Dominic decided to do Biomedical Informatics & Engineering so that he could be exposed to two fields of study. He is quick to say that he owes his disciplined study habits to the training and values his mother instilled in him from young.
For his Major Project, "Video Visual Reinforcement Audiometry", Dominic and his team mates developed a clinical hearing test procedure for infants and children with developmental delay. The system has been successfully deployed for clinical use at NUHS and the Canossian School. The success of the project required a strong understanding of engineering and biology, as well as outstanding computing skills. Dominic exceeded the expectations of his supervisor, showing excellent leadership and motivational skills.
Described as having an unquenchable thirst to learn and acquire new skills, Dominic works well under pressure. He was attached to the Institute of Bioengineering & Nanotechnology (IBN) for a six-week internship where he impressed his supervisors with his knowledge, confidence and ability to work under minimal supervision.
Life in TP was not just about studies for Dominic. He served as treasurer and vice-president of the Bio-Engenes Interest Group where he led many projects and volunteered his time and services for many
events such as the Khmer H.O.P.E. Overseas Community Project in Cambodia and the nEbo W.I.S.H. Food Collection with L.I.F.E. In his capacity as Assistant Team Temasek Manager in the TP Sports Club, Dominic successfully organised events such as Team Temasek Day, iSupport and Sports Club Synergy Camp.
Dominic has truly had a very well-rounded education in TP. He achieved his academic goals while balancing his leadership and service contributions.
Dominic has been offered places in NUS to do Life Sciences and at NTU to do Biological Sciences. He hopes to be a medical pathologist in the future. Now, we all know that whatever he puts his mind to, Dominic Koh achieves!
The Lee Kuan Yew Award
Teh Kaiwen's story is what fairy tales are made of - a happy start, disappointment, a second chance and a happy ending. The eldest child of a taxi driver and housewife, the Dunman Secondary School alumnus did not do well enough to go to a junior college, and decided to enrol into TP's Info-Communications course, thinking it was an IT course.
It was not long before he found out that it was more of an engineering course. He did badly and was finally removed from the course. He tried to move to the School of Informatics & IT at TP, but was advised to enlist for NS before trying again. During NS, he had time to think seriously about what he wanted to do in life. Upon its completion, he tried to enrol into an IT course at
TP and SP. Both polytechnics rejected him. He was then working at Sakae Sushi and was about to take on a permanent job there when he received a call from TP offering him a place in the Cyber & Digital Security course.
Finally studying what he wanted, Kaiwen excelled in his studies from the get go. He was on the Director's List in
his first two years and today graduates as course gold medallist with 12 distinctions and 14 A's, and a cGPA of 3.94.
Kaiwen's technical prowess and analytical skills literally made headlines with his major project titled "Facebook Forensic Tool Kit". He worked independently on this application for the Criminal Investigation Department, marrying his technical and forensics expertise to his knowledge of digital media
to create a cloud forensic application. His efforts reaped success when he was awarded the Tan Kah Kee Young Inventor's Award 2012 for its innovation and creativity.
Perhaps the biggest highlight of Kaiwen's polytechnic life was being selected to do his internship at Interpol in France. He was attached to the Information Security Outreach Department and was involved in laying the foundations and planning for a Digital Forensics Repository that would be
used by member countries to aid their investigation procedures. Kaiwen impressed his supervisors with his professionalism, technical proficiency and intellectual competence, ability to pick up
new skill sets and enthusiasm.
At TP, Kaiwen also achieved the Red Hat Certified System Administrator certification, and then trained his juniors in Python Scripting Workshops during the vacation.
As President of the TP-ISACA Student Group, Kaiwen organised events such as Diploma Day, ISACA Day
and the industry-recognised seminar, All 'Bout Security. He also organised school-wide workshops and took part in competitions, many of which he won.
Kaiwen hopes to be an entrepreneur one day but for now, he will pursue a degree programme at a local university. Truly, a fairy tale ending!
Christina Lee Wei Ting
Tay Eng Soon Award
Cooling off after a soccer game in Dover ITE,
Christina Lee looked across at NUS and asked her friends if they would ever go there one day. "No", they chorused, unless you are talking about going there for lunch!" That conversation spurred gutsy Christina to find out what she needed to do to get to NUS. Today, this O-level 28 pointer has secured a place in NUS to do Computer Engineering.
The elder of two children, Christina did well in Unity Secondary School. Family and relatives, especially her mother who owns a forwarding business, placed high hopes on her. She was expected to do well for the O-levels but just before the examinations, Christina became disillusioned and gave up. "I slept through my O-level papers", she admits. She was so sure that there would be somewhere she could go to whatever her results. Alas! No polytechnic accepted her and she begged her mother not to send her to ITE.
Her mother had to literally drag her to ITE on the first day to make sure she went
to class. That did not stop Christina from skipping classes subsequently, and she was either sleeping somewhere or playing soccer. Still, she managed to pass her Electronic Engineering course and got a place at another polytechnic. Unfortunately, Christina did not make the most of that opportunity and fared badly.
Every week, her parents received letters to say that Christina had not been attending classes. She continued to defy her mother's pleas until she received a letter from TP informing her about its October intake for Engineering. She decided to apply, promising herself that if she was accepted, she would study very hard and have no more regrets. Christina got her wish and kept her promise!
In her first year, when her mother received a letter from TP, she was afraid to open it lest it was about her daughter not attending classes. Interestingly, it brought news that Christina was on the Director's List! "It was only in TP that I found out I like studying!" laughs Christina. Despite having to travel from
Woodlands to Tampines every day, she enjoyed her three years here, especially the warm friendships with her lecturers and tutors who were always there to teach, clarify, listen or just chat with her. TP fast became her second home!
"How long you take to graduate doesn't matter; what matters is that you are doing what you want to do", says Christina who wants to work as a computer engineer specialising in embedded systems before eventually becoming a lecturer in the ITE or polytechnic.
Lim Wei Zhong
Tay Eng Soon Award
When Lim Wei Zhong went for his graduation
photo shoot, a painful reality hit him - "I have forgotten how to smile; I don't know how to relax." Such has been the hard life of this amazing young man who has bravely confronted every difficult challenge life has thrown at him.
Wei Zhong suffers from an enhanced physiological tremor which results in slurred speech, shaking in the hands, difficulty in writing and slow reaction times. His parents divorced when he was 10, and he was brought up by his noodle stall helper mother. Growing up a latchkey child, Wei Zhong learnt independence at this tender age. However, his frailties resulted in emotional and physical bullying which caused him to hate going to school. He endured names like "loser", "useless" and "rat" and suffered in silence, preferring not to burden his mother who was working so hard to give him a normal life despite their grim financial circumstances.
At Springfield Secondary School, his grades continued to drop and he was moved to the Normal Academic stream.
After his O level examinations, he went to ITE Tampines College. It was here that he made up his mind to change and succeed in everything he did. "After a while it became a habit, I just became scared of failing!", says the determined young man who was out to prove his bullies wrong. He emerged top of his course graduating with a Certificate with Merit for Higher
NITEC and earned the Top Achievement Award.
Wei Zhong went on to complete his NS where he was posted to the SAF Ammunition Command as a registry clerk before he started the Information Technology course at TP. Right from his first year, he not only worked hard and took on leadership roles; he was also unselfish
in teaching his classmates. He describes himself as a "controller without a stop button". Wei Zhong did his five-month internship at KPMG Singapore where he developed web-based modules and bank applications. His ability to pick up programming languages quickly and his technical skills resulted in a job offer with KPMG.
Wei Zhong graduates with a cGPA of 3.9 and is the course bronze medallist. He is looking forward to eventually doing
a computer science degree in NUS or NTU.
For an individual who has faced so many challenges in his young life, Lim Wei Zhong has proven that resolve, hard work and determination can overcome all odds. He looks forward to the day his mother can stop working and he can break the family's poverty cycle. He is undeniably a testimony to true grit and resilience.
Loser? Useless? Most certainly not!
Chiam Yong Sheng Kevin
Tay Eng Soon Award
Kevin Chiam, St Andrew's Secondary School alumnus, thrives on passion.
This was evident during his years at TP where he seized many opportunities to explore different design avenues in his projects. Hungry to learn, he did his overseas internship in Mumbai with Godrej & Boyce and experienced a multinational environment at the Sozosha Annual International Students' Workshop in Osaka. This passion led him to produce an exceptional final-year project, "Helix", done in collaboration with local company, Greenlots. For it, he wins the Philips Design Excellence Award. Kevin also graduates with a near-perfect cGPA of 3.95.
"I chose to come to TP because I am much more of a hands-on person," says the St. Andrews Secondary School alumnus on why he prefers a polytechnic education. "I feel a great sense of satisfaction when something I create makes someone happy or benefits people. After some research, I've come to realise that I like product design as it is versatile and applicable in every space."
As he progressed, one of the most important things
that Kevin learnt was the importance of quick sketches: "I always thought as designers, detailed drawings are essential. It turned out that those quick sketches are just as important to capture ideas on the fly!"
Looking back, Kevin feels his second year in TP was the toughest. He was given more projects and lecturers started pushing the cohort to their limits. Kevin threw all he had into his work, and this did not go unnoticed by his lecturers. His internship in Mumbai
also opened his eyes to many things he had not seen before.
"My office was next to a slum. I walked past it daily and realised I took so many things for granted - access to clean water and electricity, a roof over my head, clothes on my back. I picked up many life skills, something that will stay with me forever."
His final-year project saw him approaching Greenlots to design a wireless charging solution for electric vehicles, a market that is vastly untapped worldwide. Greenlots provided him with technical guidance and Kevin produced the first prototype, complete with
packaging. He feels that his internship stint in Godrej & Boyce prepared him well for this project with Greenlots.
Kevin hopes to study in Glasgow, Scotland, where the design scene is vibrant. He hopes to first build his career in product design and then teach one day.
Goh Jian En Zerah
Tay Eng Soon Award
These are the three words that Zerah aptly used to
describe himself. The driven young man has dived into uncharted waters and come out tops, with a perfect cGPA of 4.0. He has come a long way after dropping out of junior college at the end of his first year.
Realising that he wasn't ready for another year of junior college, Zerah decided to enrol into a polytechnic, still unsure what to choose. His mother had her misgivings but Zerah promised her that he would give his all to do well. With
his mother's blessings, Zerah came to TP to study Business.
"I struggled to adapt at first - I would daydream in junior college and getting my attitude back on track was a priority," recalls the young man. "My sister, a TP alumnus, assured me I would love it here. She was right!"
In his first year, Zerah focused on his studies. It was only when he felt stable where studies were concerned that he joined TP's Community Service Club. He enjoyed community service tremendously, and decided to mentor secondary
school students in Junyuan Secondary under the TP-BP Mentoring scheme, wanting to reach out to primary school students who needed help academically.
In his second year, Zerah chose to specialise in Logistics & Operations Management (LOM). It was unfamiliar terrain but he was determined to learn as much as he could. He also took on the role of president in the Logistics Interest Group, and organised many activities for the club. With this can-do attitude, his internship at Rotary Logistics Pte Ltd on Jurong Island proved to be a fulfilling one.
"I was posted to the warehouse department where I did physical receiving, picking, putting away, stock issues and stock taking. These tasks may seem mundane, but it taught me to work with older folks whose job experiences were so rich and I've learnt so much from them. The key is to listen, tap on their experience, add on and improve."
Zerah felt that his time in LOM gave him analytical skills. He credits his lecturers for making a difference in his learning. Where once he did not see
education as important, he now knows better.
The Montford Secondary School alumnus has been accepted into the Arts & Social Sciences Faculty at NUS as well as NTU's Linguistics & Multilingual Studies Faculty. Inspired by his time with the TP-BP Mentoring Club, he eventually wants to be a teacher.
His guiding principle? "Be bold. Stay humble and remain responsible - in life, you never know what you are going to get!"
Jennifer Wee Zhen Zhen
Lee Kong Chian Award
Jennifer Wee confesses to having become a computer games addict
from a very young age. From primary school, she would be stuck in front of the computer from 5.30pm to 11pm every day. As her O-levels neared, the youngest and only girl
in a family of three children realised the folly of her ways and with the guidance of her parents, teachers and friends, ended this addiction.
After her father was retrenched from his managerial job when she was seven, he became a private tutor and her mother took on two jobs as a security officer to supplement the family income. "I realised I shouldn't take anything for granted. My parents were working so hard for me and my brothers", says the soft-spoken CHIJ Katong Convent alumnus. Her hard work paid off and she obtained an O-level aggregate of 10 for her L1R5 subjects.
Gifted in maths, Jennifer considered doing accounting when her father motivated her to do a more people-oriented course. She read about TP's Psychology Studies course and was won over. She also took on a second specialisation in
Early Childhood as she enjoyed teaching. "From young, I found out that the best way to learn is to teach," said Jennifer
who would teach her friends maths and learn English from them. She also has been giving tuition since she was 16.
Despite a heavier workload, Jennifer consistently remained one of the top students in the course, producing quality projects and assignments.
A recipient of the PAP Community Foundation Scholarship, Jennifer was on the Director's List in 2010 and 2011 and has bagged 25 distinctions. With a cGPA of 3.97, she also takes the gold medal for topping her course cohort.
"I don't like to keep homework, I always read for the next day, making concept maps with notes and questions...I just prepare ahead and get things done", says Jennifer on how she did so well. Yet, she insists that she was seldom stressed, as "stress is what you feel when you do something you don't like, but when you work hard for something you enjoy, I call it passion."
Jennifer was a TP-BP Mentor, served as a pioneer committee member in the Student Chapter of the World Organisation for Early Childhood Education and won the National Youth Achievement Gold Award. If this was not enough, this tenacious young lady with an insatiable appetite for learning, went for piano and karate lessons, taught herself H2 Maths and is active in church.
Extremely sensitive to the needs of those around her, Jennifer seldom loses her temper, is always calm and ready to help others. She is careful about spending money, is a dutiful daughter, faithful friend, natural leader and planner. She is, truly Gold!
Lim Ming Yeow Keith
CapitaLand Award for All-Round Excellence
Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement 2012
When his grandaunt suffered from
dementia, no family member knew how to take care of her. That was when Keith Lim's father encouraged him to take up a course which would help him understand neurological disorders and how the brain works. Bent on taking up the Psychology Studies course at TP, Keith, who hails from the Normal Academic stream at Montfort Secondary School, successfully applied for a place via the Direct Polytechnic Admissions exercise.
Keith admits that he was never very studious in primary school, only settling down to study one month before the PSLE. He only obtained 181 points, yet his stockbroker father never showed that he was upset. Instead, he patted Keith on the back and said: "Good job, son!" That was his wake up call.
Seeing how his father had not given up on him, Keith was determined to study hard, do better and bring his father some glory. True to his word, Keith emerged his school's top student in both the N-level and O-level exams!
At TP, Keith consistently maintained excellent academic results, especially in Psychology research subjects. He was on the Director's
List in 2010 and 2011 and graduates with 11 distinctions and a cGPA of 3.93. Even before graduating, Keith was already granted a place in NTU's Psychology programme and has been awarded the Nanyang Scholarship.
This humble young man with a big heart for community service also achieved much out of the classroom. An active member of TP's Community Service Club, he moved from being a main committee member to honorary secretary and then president of the Club over three years. Keith was instrumental in leading and co- ordinating many of the Club's projects including A Kind Act Makes 2 Hearts Smile with SMRT, a Kindness Movement in Qiao Nan Primary School, an Overseas Community Project in Vietnam, Project Cups of Love with Ben & Jerry's and poly-wide events such as Hair for Hope, A Gift of Tomorrow Bone Marrow Donor Recruitment Drive, Walk for Rice and Moonlit Autumn.
To hone his leadership skills, Keith also attended leadership programmes such as ASEAN Day, Ministerial Dialogue Sessions and TEDx Youth Day.
For his amazing achievements in and out of the classroom, Keith Lim received the CapitaLand Award for All-Round Excellence and he was later also awarded the Lee Hsien Loong Award for Outstanding All-Round Achievement 2012*
on 16 Aug 2012. He found his calling with the elderly during his three-month internship at NTUC Eldercare and one day hopes to be a psychologist at a voluntary welfare organisation.
A quiet leader and motivator, Keith is surely a diligent young man who walks the talk!*The LHL-OAA is awarded to post-secondary students who have done well academically and non-academically; particularly those who have made outstanding contributions to the community and demonstrated the spirit of Innovation and Enterprise. Only four students, one each from the junior colleges/centralised institute, ITE, polytechnics and universities, are awarded the LHL-OAA per year. Keith was selected from an impressive pool of nominees, many of whom had excellent records of contributions and achievements.
Divyashree d/o C. Balakrishnan
The Lee Kong Chian Award for All-Round Excellence
This track and field athlete knows only too well what
it takes to win a race. Witty and articulate, Divya came to TP from the Sports School.
At the Sports School, her rigorous schedule saw her pack an intensive regime of training, school and homework into each day. Her training saw her practise hard for her specialities, the 400m and 800m events.
Even though her timetable was packed to the brim daily, Divya has very fond memories of her years in the Sports School. Her time there shaped her positive thinking and ability to manage any given situation.
It also taught her to plan her time very well, a life lesson that would serve her well at TP where she chose to study Chemical Engineering.
Coming to TP via the Joint Polytechnic Special Admissions Exercise (JPSAE), Divya struggled to cope academically at first as she had not done physics in secondary school. She peppered her lecturers endlessly with questions
and would wake up early to study physics online before class started. Her classmates chipped in to help after warming up to her bubbly personality, something she is thankful for. Through sheer effort and determination, Divya today graduates with an impressive cGPA of 3.54.
During her years in TP, Divya continued her passion on the track. She raced in major competitions such as the POL-ITE Track & Field meet and the IVP Track & Field Championship. In 2011, she beat a national runner to finish first in the 400m individual event in the IVP Track & Field Championship.
Beyond sports and academics, Divya is also a passionate environmentalist - she has been known to lug home plastic bottles she collects from friends to the recycle bins at her home. She is also campaigning for a weekly Earth Hour in her household!
She attributes her training in track and field to "making me sharper in the classroom
and preparing me to be ready for anything in life". To her, studying "is like competitive training - I analyse strengths and weaknesses in everything and become this super competitive being, all out
Divya hopes to pursue her athletic career after graduation, and will be working with TP's athletics coach to further her track and field goals. In the immediate future, she is aiming to further her education at a local university.
Mitchelle Elaine Jauw Shian Fern
The Lee Kong Chian Award for All-Round Excellence
Mitchelle Jauw hails from Sabah, Malaysia and is
the elder of two daughters of a clerk and a housewife.
On a fateful day in 2005, Mitchelle's secondary school held an inter-class bowling tournament and her team won the bronze medal. That day marked the start of her bowling career. She was soon talent-spotted and became a member of the Sabah state team!
Convinced that Singapore is where she wanted to pursue her tertiary education, she was happy to receive the Kuok Foundation Berhad Educational Assistance Award given to needy Malaysian students studying in Singapore. On her first day in TP, Mitchelle's biggest shock was finding out that she was the only girl in her Mechatronics class!
Mitchelle graduates with 3 distinctions, 19 A's, 6 B's and a cGPA of 3.83 while attaining great successes in bowling. As vice-captain of TP's 10-Pin Women's Bowling team, Mitchelle led her team to win many medals at international, national and
polytechnic-level competitions. She also participated in TP events like the International Cultural Nite, TP Career Fair, CCA Recruitment Drive, 10-Pin Bowling Trails, TP Open House and Engineering Project Show.
"The thing I love most about bowling is the thrill and adrenaline rush I feel during competitions. Bowling is more a mental game than a physical one. I love the challenge of having to focus on every throw regardless of how distracting the surrounding is. Most of all, I love the times when I have
to be determined enough to give my best and complete a game even though my fingers are bleeding and my arms are sore", says this young lady who has been described as highly motivated, conscientious, determined and intelligent.
Academically, Mitchelle was also exemplary. For her Major Project which won a commendation award, her team built a fuel-cell-operated car called the Shell Eco Marathon which could achieve lower fuel consumption with longer distance travelled.
"The people I really owe my success to are my parents. I
don't come from a rich family but they've always made me rich with knowledge, care and love. They never made me give up my dreams and no matter how hard the situation gets, they always make sure my sister and I have food to eat and a bed to rest on, even if it means they have work longer hours or sacrifice more than they had", she says.
Since November, Mitchelle has been working with Seiko Instruments Singapore Pte Ltd as an engineering officer. The latest feather in her cap is that she has been offered a place to do Computer Engineering at NUS.