New engineering scholarship given out with defence awards

SAF Merit Scholarship recipient Muhammad Alfian Aman, 20. SAF Merit Scholarship recipient Billy Chia, 23. SAF Scholarship recipients Satesh Kumar Sukumar and Jason Rohan Cheong Zhi Jian. Past recipients of the prestigious award include Prime Minister
SAF Scholarship recipients Satesh Kumar Sukumar and Jason Rohan Cheong Zhi Jian. Past recipients of the prestigious award include Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
SAF Merit Scholarship recipient Muhammad Alfian Aman, 20. SAF Merit Scholarship recipient Billy Chia, 23. SAF Scholarship recipients Satesh Kumar Sukumar and Jason Rohan Cheong Zhi Jian. Past recipients of the prestigious award include Prime Minister
Ms Ong Ray Yi will be going to the University of Cambridge in Britain to pursue engineering.ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
SAF Merit Scholarship recipient Muhammad Alfian Aman, 20. SAF Merit Scholarship recipient Billy Chia, 23. SAF Scholarship recipients Satesh Kumar Sukumar and Jason Rohan Cheong Zhi Jian. Past recipients of the prestigious award include Prime Minister
SAF Merit Scholarship recipient Muhammad Alfian Aman, 20. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR
SAF Merit Scholarship recipient Muhammad Alfian Aman, 20. SAF Merit Scholarship recipient Billy Chia, 23. SAF Scholarship recipients Satesh Kumar Sukumar and Jason Rohan Cheong Zhi Jian. Past recipients of the prestigious award include Prime Minister
SAF Merit Scholarship recipient Billy Chia, 23. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

At the age of six, Ms Ong Ray Yi would accompany her engineer father to his workplace and ask how a circuit board works.

Now 19, Ms Ong is one of the first recipients of the new Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship (Engineering), introduced this year.

"I have always loved figuring out how stuff works. My father would bring home gadgets and ideas from work, so I grew up being exposed to the world of engineering and eventually found my passion there," said the former Raffles Institution student, whose father worked with tech giant Apple's research and development then, and now works with Dell.

Ms Ong will be going to the University of Cambridge in Britain to pursue engineering, and when she returns, she hopes to be able to create engineering solutions that contribute to Singapore's safety and security.

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She is among four who yesterday received the engineering scholarship to pursue careers in the defence and security sector. The scholarship ceremony was held at the Istana.

The Government is also granting the scholarship to those who want to work in the infrastructure and environment, and infocommunications technology and smart system sectors.

CURIOUS MIND

I have always loved figuring out how stuff works. My father would bring home gadgets and ideas from work, so I grew up being exposed to the world of engineering and eventually found my passion there.

'' MS ONG RAY YI, one of the first recipients of the new Public Service Commission Scholarship (Engineering), on how her father's work as an engineer helped her to develop an interest in the field. 

Speaking at the ceremony, Defence Minister Ng Eng Hen expressed the concern that by 2030, the number of national service recruits is expected to be reduced by one-third, creating a disruptive change to the manpower the Singapore Armed Forces (SAF) will have.

He added that managing this change "will require field commanders to work with engineers and scientists as one" and that is why the PSC Scholarship (Engineering) was awarded this year with other defence-related scholarships.

The PSC, Defence Science and Technology Agency, SAF and Ministry of Defence gave out a total of 63 scholarships.

Seven recipients were presented with the SAF Scholarship, formerly known as the SAF Overseas Scholarship, and six were presented with the Defence Merit Scholarship. Another 15 received the SAF Merit Scholarship.

The SAF Scholarship is widely recognised as only second in prestige to the President's Scholarship. Past recipients include Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong and Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean.

A recipient of the SAF Scholarship at yesterday's ceremony, naval officer Satesh Kumar Sukumar, said he joined the SAF because of his interest in a military career and the meaning he found in the work.

PUSHING LIMITS

In the SAF, at every level, you are leading men and women and pushing them to their limits to help them reach their potential. In that process, there's a lot of personal growth and development as you are pushed to your limits as well, and that was one of the reasons I looked into applying for this scholarship.

'' NAVAL OFFICER SATESH KUMAR SUKUMAR, a recipient of the SAF Scholarship at yesterday's ceremony , on a career in the military. He will be studying war studies and history at King's College London.

The 19-year-old, who will be studying war studies and history at King's College London, added: "In the SAF, at every level, you are leading men and women and pushing them to their limits to help them reach their potential.

"In that process, there's a lot of personal growth and development as you are pushed to your limits as well, and that was one of the reasons I looked into applying for this scholarship."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 25, 2017, with the headline 'New engineering scholarship given out with defence awards'. Print Edition | Subscribe