23 recipients of PSC scholarship proceeding with studies this year

Those who pursue studies in subsequent years will be announced during those years

Ms Janika Oh (left) and Ms Sundaram Mohan Shakthi and  will be receiving the Public Service Commission Scholarship (Engineering) and the Singapore Police Force Scholarship respectively.
Ms Janika Oh (left) and Ms Sundaram Mohan Shakthi and will be receiving the Public Service Commission Scholarship (Engineering) and the Singapore Police Force Scholarship respectively.PHOTOS: COURTESY OF JANIKA OH AND SUNDARAM MOHAN SHAKTHI

When she was just 16 years old, Ms Sundaram Mohan Shakthi learnt that the Singapore Police Force (SPF) is not about "just catching and punishing criminals".

It also focuses on rehabilitating offenders and providing social support to their family members.

This was a calling which resonated with her.

One night, her family had to call the police because of her father. He had a history of being verbally abusive, and was raising a ruckus at home.

"A lot of officers came. Besides those who were dealing with my father and giving him a warning, there were other officers dedicated solely to catering to the rest of my family and making sure we were okay," said Ms Shakthi, now 19.

Her parents have since divorced.

"There was this one investigation officer who gave us her personal mobile number and said we could call her any time we needed help. We never did call her, but it was the gesture that made all the difference, because she went out of her way to offer help."

Ms Shakthi is one of 23 Public Service Commission (PSC) scholarship recipients who are proceeding with their studies this year.

She has been awarded the SPF Scholarship and will be reading psychology at Yale-NUS College in Singapore from next month.

The Public Service Division said that from now on, only PSC scholarship recipients who are pursuing their studies in the current year will be announced.

Those who have decided to proceed with their studies in subsequent years, such as male students doing their national service, will be included in the relevant years' reports.

Ms Shakthi said: "I felt that this focus of the SPF (on rehabilitation and social support) was very unique, and is something that I want to contribute to in the future."


She said she decided to read psychology because when she was studying at Raffles Girls' School, she had a few friends who were experiencing mental health issues such as anxiety and depression.

"I found myself very concerned for them. I would go home and research what they were going through, to try to better understand and help them.

"That's when I realised that providing emotional support to the people around me was something that was very important to me," added Ms Shakthi, who went on to study at Raffles Institution (RI).

Psychology was a good avenue for her to learn how to support others in times of distress, she said.

"There aren't usually many females who get (the SPF Scholarship)... It's a huge privilege and honour to be entrusted with a career in the uniformed service," she added.

Ms Shakthi's RI schoolmate Janika Oh, also 19, has been awarded the PSC Scholarship (Engineering).

Introduced in 2017, the PSC Scholarship (Engineering) aims to develop individuals for leadership positions in the engineering and technology areas of the public sector.

Ms Oh developed a "love for building things" as a child.

She also has a passion for music and has learnt to play instruments such as the piano, erhu, guzheng and drums.

She will be pursuing a degree in mechanical engineering at Carnegie Mellon University in the United States, with remote learning for the first semester starting next month.

She is also planning to apply for a second major in music from her second year.

Having read physics, economics, mathematics and music at RI, Ms Oh said: "Studying the sciences gives me the logic and thinking needed to solve problems efficiently. Studying the arts gives me an understanding of emotions and a creative outlook on problems.

"So through studying both, I was able to be a more holistic person, looking at things from a different perspective and thinking out of the box. That benefited me a lot."

Mr Chan Choon Yong, another recipient of the PSC Scholarship (Engineering), said he was interested in cyber security.

The 19-year-old from Tampines Meridian Junior College will be pursuing a double major in computer science and statistics at the National University of Singapore.

Mr Chan said he hoped to contribute new ideas and spearhead innovations in the area of cyber security.

He added: "I believe that my undergraduate degree... will provide abundant technical experience in these complex fields and many networking opportunities with local and foreign experts."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 23, 2020, with the headline '23 recipients of PSC scholarship proceeding with studies this year'. Subscribe