An engineer with a kind heart, PUB Scholar Liu YiXin shares his experiences as a global citizen in an ever-connected world.
Imagine a day when you turn your taps and nothing flows out. Frightening thoughts, eh? Water is and will always be an issue that is crucial to Singapore’s survival. When I graduated from junior college, I was unsure of what I wanted to do but felt that it would be meaningful to help ensure our nation’s water security. With a keen interest in water sufficiency and accessibility, I was spurred to take up the PUB scholarship.
Why Carnegie Mellon University?
I chose to study Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University and was energised at the thoughts of walking through these hallowed halls and sitting in the lecture theatres where the first search engine was created and where the emoticon was invented.
I enjoyed the in-depth curriculum, which featured applications of knowledge through interesting activities such as building robots and learning about sensor systems. More than simply providing me with the opportunity to study overseas, PUB gave me the freedom to pursue the education of my choice. They were supportive of the courses that I wanted to take and readily agreed when I expressed my interest in pursuing a second major in Engineering and Public Policy. This gave me an opportunity to gain a broader based education, to learn to analyse situations from a macro view and from different stakeholders’ perspectives. I even had the opportunity to present research findings to government officials in Washington DC where I worked on a community project to improve relations between governmental agencies and the public in the United States. I would never have fathomed that a foreigner (in my case, a Singaporean) could make a difference in the lives of the locals. This got me thinking about the concept of a being a global citizen in our ever-connected world.
Nonetheless, an overseas education is more than studying in a renowned institution abroad. It is also about character building, being open to new and different people, environment, situations and activities. Make full use of the chance to get out of your own comfort zones and you will be surprised by how much you will grow and learn. At Carnegie Mellon, I even had the chance to hear *Randy Pausch’s famous ‘The Last Lecture’. Experiences like these help keep me constantly engaged and motivated during my studies.
While living in a foreign country can be difficult at times, the challenges of assimilating into a different culture and the need for self-sufficiency have helped me become more self-confident and independent. PUB has been very supportive throughout, and I very much appreciate the care and advice offered by my mentors and peers at PUB.
Taking up PUB, the national water agency’s scholarship has given me a head start in my career. I returned to Singapore during my first summer break to embark on an internship with PUB and I got to know many colleagues from various departments within the organisation through my involvement with events such as the Singapore International Water Week.
PUB has also been supportive of my summer internship with Black and Veatch (B&V), a leading global engineering, consulting and construction company based in Kansas City, USA. The experience has given me a useful understanding of the industry as a whole, especially the role between consultants, contractors and clients. I had the opportunity to be exposed to different facets of the water industry, interact with numerous renowned international water experts, and hone my project management skills. Since there is already a working relationship between PUB and B&V, this internship has further provided me with a deeper knowledge of how PUB works and prepared me to help forge a more effective working relationship between the two organisations in future. Professionally, I was able to apply the engineering design skills I had acquired during my summer internships, working on projects which involved drafting specifications and using various technology platforms to optimise work processes. I was very impressed with the level of professionalism and enthusiasm of the people with whom I worked with. Their willingness to share their experience and knowledge helped me gain new insights and perspectives of the industry and prepared me for my career ahead.
Golden Advice To You
These are just some snapshots of the humbling and enriching experiences that have enabled me to grow personally and professionally. Reflecting upon my journey, I am grateful to PUB for giving me the freedom to explore and grow, while providing guidance for my career. I identified myself with PUB’s mission then and still do today. A scholarship is not merely a passport to an overseas education. Accepting a scholarship is really the act of making a career choice. If you share a similar passion for environmental sustainability and want to play a part in making Singapore a better place to live in, do not hesitate to take the first step by applying for the NEW Scholarship. The opportunity to create a better future lies in your hands.
PUB Undergraduate Scholarship Precursor of the National Environment & Water (NEW) Scholarship
Now: MSc in Engineering Management Systems at Columbia University, USA
Attained: BSc in Electrical & Computer Engineering with additional major in Engineering & Public Policy, Carnegie Mellon University, USA
From: National Junior College