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AVA – Shaping the Future of Food

AVA – Shaping the Future of Food

Kelvin Chen finds great meaning in helping to ensure a resilient supply of safe food for Singapore at AVA.

What sparked your interest in applying for the AVA Undergraduate Scholarship?
Ever since secondary school, I have been very passionate in biology, as I saw the usefulness and applicability to our daily lives, especially when it comes to our daily diet. Eventually, as I learned more about biology, I was able to appreciate other aspects of food, beyond just how nutrition and diet can affect our health. For example, I was intrigued by how microbiological factors can be beneficial to human health and be used to produce certain food products, but, at the same time, it can also cause food spoilage and even be detrimental to the human health. This sparked my interest in food science and made me determined to pursue a degree in biological sciences and a second major in food sciences with Nanyang Technological University.

In terms of career, I always knew that I wanted a meaningful and fulfilling role, as I personally believe this will keep me motivated and passionate in the long-term. I was very sure that I wanted to pursue a career with Agri-Food & Veterinary Authority (AVA) as it meant that I could utilise my knowledge in biology and food sciences, both of which I am extremely passionate about. Secondly, the nature of work in AVA is more application-based and less repetitive as the needs of the food industry are ever-changing. Personally, I find this nature of work more captivating as it constantly challenges me to deal with various problems, and to apply my knowledge in different scenarios to address challenges.

Lastly, I believe that a career with AVA will be very fulfilling as I can use my knowledge to help protect consumers and contribute towards ensuring that every Singaporean will have a steady and stable supply of food for many generations to come.

Share with us your internship experience with AVA.
I participated in two internships with AVA, which exposed me to a multitude of roles performed by AVA, from conducting food inspections to carrying out lab tests. During my first internship stint, I had the opportunity to observe the work done by AVA’s laboratories, which included investigating alleged adulterated food and detecting contaminants in food. Under the guidance of AVA scientists, I was able to hone my laboratory testing skills and see in action how specialist and reference services are provided to ensure Singapore’s food safety. In addition, the internship experience has also allowed me to better appreciate the scientific concepts taught at university and behind the tests conducted in the laboratories.

What do you look forward to in your career with AVA? What are your hopes for the future?
I am motivated to contribute and make a difference in safeguarding public health, and devise innovative solutions to enhance Singapore’s food security,
ensuring that we have not only sufficient, but also quality food.

Through my career with AVA, I look forward to gaining greater insights and a global perspective of the food industry. I look forward to learning other countries’ best practices and to devise our own innovative solutions to tackle food security challenges unique to Singapore.

What advice do you have for those considering a scholarship with AVA?

I believe that the key factor when considering a scholarship is that the mission of the organisation should resonate with the individual’s sense of fulfilment. If you find purpose in serving the general public and have a passion in tackling food-related challenges, do not hesitate to apply for the AVA scholarship. Most importantly, do not let the thought of interviews faze you or hold you back. It will seem less daunting if you enter the interview room with a “never lose, only learn” attitude and try your best! Good luck!

CHEN YIZHAN, KELVIN
AVA Undergraduate Scholarship
Age: 23
Now: B.Sc in Biological Sciences with 2nd major in Food Science and Technology, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
From: Anderson Junior College