In the midst of our busy lifestyle, we at times have taken our environment for granted. As actor Leonardo DiCaprio puts it very simply to some children, ‘Mother Earth is hurting. And she needs a generation of thoughtful, caring and active kids like all of you to protect her for the future.’
Thus to do my bit for the environment, I took up the NEW Scholarship . This scholarship gave me the chance to do my part for the environment by contributing to environmental health sciences. At the age of 18, it was difficult to decide which organisation and scholarship I should invest my future in. I knew I had to plan for the long haul. The NEW Scholarship offered by the National Environment Agency (NEA) and PUB, the national water agency was the right scholarship. It gave me the opportunity to work in a sector that I have interest in and grow as a professional in the long term. This scholarship also gave me an option to develop my career in NEA or PUB. This flexibility was something I appreciated about the NEW Scholarship as well. My love for the environment thus prompted me to develop my career with NEA.
Being in NEA has given me the opportunity to develop my skill sets significantly. Although I consider myself to have much drive, astuteness and ‘helicopter’ critical thinking which are some of the qualities the organisation looks for in their scholars, these attributes have been thoroughly sharpened after joining the agency.
I am currently working in the Environmental Health Department within NEA , and it has been exciting as well as challenging experience for me. This has been especially so as we have been fighting dengue epidemic this year. I have had to deal with vector control operations, including finding the manpower and logistics to organise field officers, detailing and implementing regimes to control and reduce the vector population in Singapore. I face a steep learning curve and have to be on the ball all the time and it has truly been rewarding for me.
Having a job that has an impact on the public and the world we live in is something I’ve always wanted to do. I’m glad I chose this scholarship and went on to read Public Health, which led to a career in a field that I am proud of. For my graduate studies in Public Health, I chose to research on topics involving vector-borne diseases like dengue and malaria. These areas interest me and the knowledge and insights gained allows me to add value to my role in NEA.
Outside of work, there are a lot of things I enjoy and indulge in to relax – reading, singing, watching movies, sports and hanging out with friends. These together with the joy I derive from my job makes my life pretty exciting and fulfilling. Lastly, if I’m asked what makes one suitable for this scholarship, I would say: drive, foresight, a real interest in the environment and the heart to set it right.TAN JIA JIA
Attained: Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Imperial College London; Master of Philosophy in Public Health from University of Cambridge
Now: Executive, Environmental Health Department, NEA
From: Raffles JC