NUS Merit Scholar, Erika starts her first year as a Biomedical Engineering student to start her potential career in this growing industry.
Why did you choose to pursue your course of study at NUS?
I chose to pursue Biomedical Engineering (BME) because of my interest in the healthcare sector and how it interweaves traditional engineering disciplines with biology and medicine. As someone who enjoys research, I was enticed by the various pathways NUS Biomedical Engineering had to offer, namely, engineering professional pathway, innovation and entrepreneurship and engineering research pathway. I believe NUS provides an excellent foundation for research and development, and the exposure students in the faculty would receive is extremely diverse. With the modules offered, I could tell there was strong emphasis on engineering fundamentals which I believe would provide me with very useful experiences and help me grow and broaden my scope in this field as well. Furthermore, biomedical engineering has been a rapidly growing field not only in Singapore, but even in other parts of the world. With various research hubs and startup companies being recently launched, I am certain that I want to contribute to, and most definitely be involved in the BME industry in the country.
Why did you accept the NUS Merit Scholarship?
The offer of the NUS Merit Scholarship actually came as a surprise for me. Because of how competitive and prestigious this scholarship is, I felt immensely humbled to be given an offer. I accepted it not only because of the multitude of opportunities one can avail (such as a guaranteed place for an overseas exchange), but also because I believe it can provide for me a platform for personal growth and development. Moreover, the community engagement projects available for NUS Scholars enticed me as well especially since community service is something I strongly believe in and enjoy doing – to be of service to the greater community and hopefully make a positive impact on their lives, be it big or small. Lastly, having a scholarship would lessen the financial burden on my parents and encourage financial independence on my end.
What was the selection process like?
The entire process was not as frightening as I thought it would be. To apply for the scholarship, one would require a referee to support your application, prepare a personal statement that would allow the panel to get to know you better – aspirations, beliefs, etc., as well as upload supporting documents that would support your scholarship application. Because the NUS Scholarships (comprising of two tiers – NUS Global Merit Scholarship and NUS Merit Scholarship) only required one common application, it made the process extremely straightforward. Subsequently, there will be an interview, if one is shortlisted. For myself, the interview turned out to be a pleasant one with an extremely friendly panel. It really was a session for the panel to get to know me on a more personal level, and understand why I chose to pursue biomedical engineering. They were very helpful in explaining to me what to expect, which definitely solidified my desire to study Biomedical Engineering. In preparing and applying for this scholarship, I definitely did learn more about myself and reflect on various experiences that have contributed to the person I am today. It made me realise how much more personal growth and development I am capable of.
Why do you think you were awarded the scholarship, and what are the qualities a scholar should possess?
I believe my passion in pursuing what I love was what really sets me apart from others. If I have a strong interest in a particular field or topic, I know that I will not hesitate to give my all and persevere through despite difficulties faced. To me, learning is a very key process of and is integral to achieving personal growth and development. With that, I have grown a liking towards challenges because I feel that they really push me to become a better version of myself and discover new things within myself.
To me, a scholar should possess an attitude of being ready to learn and ready to give back to the greater community. Putting academic credentials aside, one should work hard and approach every situation, be it good or bad, with an optimistic outlook. A scholar should also be proactive and responsible for his/her own learning, taking ownership of whatever mistakes made as well, and treating them as milestones and checkpoints, rather than weights that will drag him/her down.
What are the benefits of taking up the NUS Merit Scholarship?
The NUS Merit Scholarship has undoubtedly provided me with numerous benefits and opportunities, all of which I am very grateful for. As a scholar, I am guaranteed a placement in the Student Exchange Programme, which I believe is great exposure for us students because it provides an insight into cultures and knowledge in other parts of the world, broadening our scope as well. Furthermore, as an NUS Scholar, I am given the opportunity to participate in community engagement projects, to impact the lives of the greater community in a meaningful manner. Through this, I am privileged to meet new people and share lifelong experiences with one another; there is a platform for us to share our various perspectives on certain issues which I feel is extremely meaningful. This not only encourages us to learn from one another, but also helps us to grow as individuals whilst serving the community.
How has your NUS experience been, and what programmes and activities have you participated in so far?
My NUS experience has thus far been extremely fulfilling. Having participated in Engineering’s Rag and Flag, I have definitely met new friends of various backgrounds and shared numerous experiences together, both good and bad, all of which have indubitably made my summer experience an unforgettable one. Furthermore, as a member of Engin Club as Camp Project Director for 2020, I have been fortunate enough to work with other engineering students from the various faculties and hone my leadership skills whilst serving the school. A challenge no doubt, but it is only with these experiences that push me out of my comfort zone that I believe would help me grow as a person and better prepare myself for what’s to come in the future. I am also a part of NUS Dance Ensemble and was privileged to perform for their annual concert entitled ‘The Next Wave: Moments’ where we worked with guest choreographers for a 15-minute-long piece and performed in front of an audience. I was blessed to have been supported by my family and Engin Raggers. I truly look forward to my next 4 years in NUS!
MARIA ERIKA GLEN GOH GEK LENG
NUS Merit Scholarship
Now: National University of Singapore, Biomedical Engineering, Year 1
From: St. Joseph’s Institution