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AVA – Feeding The Passion

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The quality and safety of our food supply is often taken for granted, said Tay Geng Yu.

Food has always been something very close to my heart. I can still recall my childhood days spent following my ­grandmother on marketing trips and peppering her with ­questions while she whipped up her mouth-watering ­delicacies, as well as the many hours watching television ­programmes and documentaries regarding food.

As I grew older, I started to experiment in the kitchen, trying my hand at inventing new recipes. Given my strong passion and thirst for knowledge for all things food-related, I decided to read Food Science and Technology at NUS. As the Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority (AVA) offered the course as one of its disciplines of study, I proceeded to apply for its scholarship. After a rigorous selection process, I was overjoyed to be accorded the privilege of being a scholarship recipient.

I decided to apply for the AVA Scholarship due to the ­prospect of a dynamic and vibrant future career in the ­statutory board. As so much of our food is imported, a core mission of the AVA is to maintain a safe and resilient food supply for Singapore, something that many often take for granted.

AVA adopts a multi-faceted approach against threats of food safety issues and supply shortages, which includes partnering local agri-establishments and horizon scanning for imminent dangers. The wide variety of operations allows me to apply my acquired knowledge whilst continuously learning new skills.  To me, knowing that my work directly ensures the safety, integrity and wholesomeness of what my loved ones are eating is a fulfilling career prospect.

AVA scholars are given a wide range of development ­opportunities, such as postings in the Ministry of National ­Development headquarters or temporary attachments to private companies. A career in AVA promises to be exciting, challenging, yet rewarding and rich in meaning, something that I eagerly look forward to.

Since being awarded the scholarship, I have experienced AVA’s commitment towards developing scholars. While the terms of the scholarship covered the cost of local study, I have had strong ­support and encouragement from AVA to participate in programmes abroad, so as to gain global exposure.

Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a six-week summer programme organised by NUS on food commodities in Costa Rica. The experience allowed me to expand my horizons and experience a whole new language, culture and way of life. I also learnt about various commercial crops, the  importance of international agri trade and numerous optimal agricultural practices. It was a highly enriching and fruitful experience, and I am thankful to AVA for such opportunities. Furthermore, AVA  constantly corresponds with its scholars to ensure their well being. I regularly receive updates on happenings and events within AVA, making me feel part of the AVA family even before formally commencing work!

AVA has intensified its staff capability-building and ­professional development programmes and is offering scholarships in a wide spectrum  of academic disciplines as AVA continues to place great emphasis on the expert standing of AVA in the local and global ­arena.   Apart  from  Food Science, our scholarship awards also ­include  Veterinary Science, Aquaculture and Agricultural ­Economics to meet the challenges of an ever-changing landscape of AVA’s core businesses. The specialised nature of these fields of studies in AVA’s operations means that individuals are required to possess high levels of interest and determination.

If you are clear about your career objectives, eager to ­contribute towards Singapore’s well being and passionate about an exciting and fulfilling job in animal management, food supply resilience or plant management, the AVA Scholarship is surely the one for you.

TAY GENG YU
AVA Scholar
Age: 22
Now: Pursuing Bachelor in Applied Science (Food Science & Technology) at NUS
From: Raffles Institution (JC)