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Guest Speakers

Hear from our guest speakers who will impart wonderful insights to our graduating cohort gained from their wealth of experience.

Miss Chew Kai Hwa is the Managing Director of Quantum Chemical Technologies (S) Pte Ltd.

In 1987, she started her career as an Application Chemist in Omega Medical and Scientific Pte Ltd. In 1992, she took on the role of Technical and Research & Development (R&D) Manager at Singapore Asahi Chemical & Solder Industries (SACSI) Pte Ltd. In 1997, she assumed the appointment of Managing Director of Quantum Chemical Technologies (S) Pte Ltd, an R&D arm of SACSI.

In 2018, Miss Chew was appointed the Chairman of a new startup AMAT (S) Pte Ltd, a collaboration between SACSI and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to develop copper inks for printed electronics applications.

Miss Chew leads a team of chemists, metallurgists, materials science and mechanical engineers in R&D initiatives to support innovative materials development for interconnects such as solders, specialty chemicals, solder powder, Agparticles and AgNanowires paste and ink. She also provides technological support and solutions to SACSI’s global customers and its group of companies in Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, Vietnam, Hong Kong and China.

Miss Chew brings more than 30 years of experience and research capabilities on industrial processes, she designs improvement/enhancement initiatives relevant to the electronics industry. She continues to work closely with various local and overseas multinational corporations on their process and design development requirements, and research institutions on joint R&D initiatives that are in line with changing technological trends.

She is the inventor of four international patents covering lead-free solders, process and applications. She is currently applying for a new patent on new emerging materials, AgNanowires.

Miss Chew holds a B.Sc. in Chemistry from the National University of Singapore.

Mr How Ti-Hwei is the Country President of AstraZeneca Singapore, a global, science-led pharmaceutical company focused on the discovery, development and commercialisation of life-changing prescription medicines.

Mr How has more than 20 years of commercial experience across the pharmaceutical and fast-growing consumer goods (FMCG) industries. He spent the last seven years in various general management roles. His career beyond Singapore also covered Thailand, the Philippines, Vietnam and Malaysia.

He serves as President of the Singapore Association of Pharmaceutical Industries, and the Chair of the European Chamber of Commerce Healthcare Committee.

He is also a member of the NUS Pharmacy Programme Advisory Board, and the Ngee Ann Polytechnic Life Sciences & Chemical Technology Advisory Committee.

Mr How holds a B.Sc. (Hons) in Pharmacy and a Master of Business Administration from the National University of Singapore. He completed his pre-registration Pharmacist training at the National University Hospital before venturing into the private sector.

Prof Ng Huck Hui was appointed Executive Director of A*STAR Graduate Academy (A*GA) on 1 April 2017. He oversees A*GA’s talent management and development strategy to nurture young STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) talent and a strong local pipeline of scientific talent.

He is concurrently the Executive Director (ED) of the Genome Institute of Singapore (GIS). He joined A*STAR as Group Leader, GIS in 2003, before assuming the appointment of Acting ED, GIS in January 2012 and ED, GIS in October 2012. Under his leadership, GIS has grown to be a home for over 250 researchers working on different aspects of human genomics (human genetics; infectious diseases; cancer therapeutics and stratified oncology; human disease models; translational genomics; and computational and systems biology).

Prior to joining A*STAR, Prof Ng was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard Medical School under the prestigious Damon Runyon-Walter Winchell Postdoctoral Fellowship. Prof Ng is renowned in the field of stem cells, having spent more than a decade in research to understand and uncover the intricacies of gene regulation and how they relate to cell biology.

He was the President of the Stem Cell Society Singapore, a major platform for educating the public on stem cell research. In 2016, he was elected as Associate Member of the European Molecular Biology Organisation, making him the only associate member based in Singapore.

Prof Ng holds adjunct positions at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine; NUS Faculty of Science; Nanyang Technological University School of Biological Sciences; and the Singapore Eye Research Institute. He also sits on the boards of Science Centre Singapore and NUS High School.

In recognition of his scientific contributions, Prof Ng has received numerous local and international honours and awards, including the Young Scientist Award (2004); Singapore Youth Award (2005); National Science Award (2007); Junior Chamber International Outstanding Young Persons Singapore Awards (2009); Singapore Youth Award (Commendation Medal) (2010); President’s Science Award (Team Award) (2011); and President’s Science Award (Team Award) (2018).

Prof Ng holds a Bachelors degree from NUS and a Ph.D. from the University of Edinburgh.

Professor Louis Chen is Emeritus Professor at the National University of Singapore (NUS). During his 43 years with NUS, he was Head of the Department of Mathematics (July 1996 to June 2000) and Head of the Department of Statistics and Applied Probability (July 2002 to June 2004). In July 2000, he became the founding Director of NUS’ Institute for Mathematical Sciences (IMS), which he built up into one of the finest in the world. He served as Director of the Institute for 12 ½ years.

For his achievements in his field of study, he was appointed Tan Chin Tuan Centennial Professor (July 2006 to December 2012). In January 2013, he was appointed Distinguished Professor. Internationally, Prof Chen was the first Asian to be elected President of the Bernoulli Society for Mathematical Statistics and Probability (August 1997 to July 1999). He received one of the highest honours when he became President of the Institute of Mathematical Statistics in August 2004, joining the ranks of the Institute's past presidents who are among the world's finest researchers in probability and statistics.

Prof Chen carried out research work in various areas of probability theory and statistics, namely Stein's method, martingale theory, Poincaré inequalities, and in biomolecular sequence analysis in computational biology. In his pioneering work on Poisson approximation in 1975, he developed a method of calculating the probabilities of occurrences of dependent rare events. This method, which is now known as the Chen-Stein or Stein-Chen method, has found wide-ranging applications in many fields, with lasting impact in science and technology. It has developed into one of the most important areas of discrete probability.

Prof Chen obtained his B.Sc. (Hons) in Mathematics from the then University of Singapore (now NUS) in 1964 and his M.Sc. and Ph.D. in Statistics from Stanford University in 1969 and 1971, respectively.

Valedictorians

Our valedictorians reflect on their academic journeys and their future paths.

“It is in uncharted territories that we experience the greatest growth.”


Melvin Tan Jun Keong
Statistics and Computer Science

Melvin Tan Jun Keong graduates with Honours (Highest Distinction) with a double degree in Statistics and Computer Science. He received the Sugar Industry of Singapore Book Prize awarded to the top two first-year Science students, and was placed on the Dean’s List for four semesters.

In pursuit of his interest in solving problems using data and technology, Melvin was a software developer with NUS Computing for Voluntary Welfare Organisations (CVWO), where he developed case management systems to improve VWOs’ workflow productivity. He also interned at GovTech (Government Technology Agency) as a data scientist, where he analysed transportation data to devise a model for facilitating business decisions that increase efficiency and improve convenience for passengers.

Melvin was actively involved in student life and co-curricular activities (CCA) during his stay at King Edward VII Hall, where he held multiple leadership positions such as Captain, KE Titans Cheerleading and CCA Head, KE Web Team. He also participated in overseas cheerleading activities with teams in Japan, Korea and Malaysia.

Melvin will be joining Indeed, an employment-related search engine, as a software developer, where he can continue contributing to the technology sector.

“As we strive towards greater heights, let us also remember how far we’ve come.”


Goh Zhang-He
Pharmacy

Goh Zhang-He graduates with Honours (Highest Distinction) in Pharmacy, where he was on the Dean’s List for three semesters. A recipient of the A*STAR1 Undergraduate Scholarship, he was placed on the A*STAR Chairman’s Honours List for two consecutive years.

Zhang-He is a strong science advocate with special interests in organic synthesis, toxicology and infectious diseases. He undertook multiple research projects within and beyond NUS, covering varied topics ranging from catalysis to tuberculosis. He also initiated a project to explore potential solutions for drug-induced liver injury, which was the capstone of his undergraduate education.

As the Academic Director of the NUS Pharmaceutical Society in 2016 and 2017, he led the organisation of seminars, symposia and industrial visits. Zhang-He also contributes to preLights, a science blog hosted by the Company of Biologists.

Zhang-He interned at Unity by Fairprice, where he educated consumers on the safe and effective use of medications. Following this attachment, Zhang-He moved to ASLAN Pharmaceuticals, an oncology-focused biotechnology company, where he developed procedures to reinforce patient safety in clinical trials.

In recognition of his achievements and leadership, the Faculty of Science appointed him the Class Ambassador of the graduating class of 2019.

Zhang-He currently works at A*STAR as a research officer, and will be starting on his Ph.D. in 2020.

1 Agency for Science, Technology and Research

“Remember the journey so far, to know where we stand and how we are to progress.”


Clive Aw Cenxin
Physics

Clive Aw Cenxin graduates with Honours (Distinction) in Physics. His thesis was an extensive synthesis, evaluation and critique of novel foundations issues in quantum theory. He presented his findings at ETH Zurich (Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich) during their Solstice of Foundations conference. He has submitted an article on the Arxiv to the Foundations in Physics journal.

Clive’s interests lie in theoretical physics, especially modern physics and quantum theory. He is also passionate about science communication and participated in mentorship programmes where he studied the philosophy and history of science.

Clive believes that science is not only practical but also holds great existential and philosophical value as it helps in understanding “man’s place in the universe” and appreciating the order and artistry in its laws, structures and symmetries.

He aspires to pursue further studies in the philosophy of science, while also contributing to science communication and education in Singapore.

“Dare to dream and don’t let anyone take that away from you.”


Dr Mervin Ang Chunyi
Chemistry

Dr Mervin Ang Chunyi graduates with a Ph.D. in Chemistry. He was a recipient of the NUS Research Scholarship which is awarded to outstanding graduate students for research. He completed his B.Sc. degree with First Class Honours at Imperial College London.

Dr Ang also received the Singapore National Institute of Chemistry Gold Medal for Most Outstanding Ph.D. Thesis in Chemistry. His Ph.D. focused on the development of doped polymer semiconductors in organic devices, which resulted in two publications in Nature and Nature Communications journals.

Concurrent with his laboratory work, Dr Ang led a team in a collaborative industrial project with Cambridge Display Technology (a leading developer of technologies based on polymer light emitting diodes), Sumitomo Chemicals. He was also involved in writing two patents filed in 2016. During his Ph.D., Dr Ang also pioneered several initiatives, such as density functional theory quantum chemical calculations and microwave-assisted polymerisation, both of which are integral tools in the group today.

Throughout his Ph.D. programme, he mentored Honours students and a Masters student in their research projects. Four of these students were inspired to continue with their Ph.D. studies in NUS.

Currently, Dr Ang works at the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology as a postdoctoral research associate in the development of nano-sensors in plants. He aspires to further his passion in science through research in the area of nanobionic engineering in plants.

“Seize new opportunities and trust that your capabilities will bring you to great heights.”


Gladi Thng Jinyan
Life Sciences

Gladi Thng Jinyan graduates with Honours (Highest Distinction) in Life Sciences, with a Minor in Public Health. She consistently excelled academically. She was placed on the Dean’s List for four semesters and was awarded the A*STAR Undergraduate Scholarship.

As part of her interest in the life sciences and public health, Gladi undertook internships under both disciplines. She completed an internship at the Singapore Institute of Clinical Sciences (Clinical Nutrition Research Centre), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), where she was involved in human nutrition research to understand the drivers of dietary energy intake.

Her stint at the Health Promotion Board provided valuable insights on the intricacies and challenges of public health work. These internships were instrumental in shaping her understanding of the interwoven nature of life sciences and public health.

Gladi was also actively involved in student life and co-curricular activities. Along with her role as an Orientation Group Leader in freshmen orientation projects and her participation in the Inter-Faculty Games, Gladi was also the Logistics Director for the NUS Open Day Student Village (2018). She also participated in the semester-long student exchange programme at University College Cork, Ireland, which expanded her intellectual and cultural horizons.

Motivated by her interest in research, Gladi plans to further her studies and hopes to contribute in the area of clinical sciences.

“The challenges and obstacles we encounter make us single-minded in achieving our dreams.”


He Menglan
Life Sciences (Second Major in Statistics)

He Menglan graduates with Honours (Highest Distinction) in Life Sciences with a second major in Statistics. She received the NUSS Medal for Outstanding Achievement, as well as the Outstanding Undergraduate Researcher Prize. She was also placed on the Dean’s List for three semesters.

During her years at NUS, she was actively involved in student activities and community service projects. She was a volunteer befriender at the National University Hospital, where she conducted home visits to terminally ill patients under the care of HCA hospices. She was also the Programme Head at NUS Community Service Club, where she planned and organised weekly activities for residents at the Bishan Home for the Intellectually Disabled.

During her stay in King Edward VII Hall, Menglan participated in activities like the Chinese Drama group, served as the Head of Public Relations and Ticketing, and acted in two productions. The hall’s performances gained positive recognition and received the Bronze Award for Student Achievement Award under the Arts and Culture category (2017 and 2018).

She also took up various research projects under the Faculty’s Special Programme in Science (SPS); the Undergraduate Research Opportunities Programme in Science; a research attachment at Duke University when she was on a Student Exchange Programme; the International Genetically Engineered Machine competition where her team aimed to engineer an RNA base editor and reporter; and her Final Year Project. At SPS, she also served as a student mentor, where she guided five student research projects.

Menglan hopes to contribute to the field of healthcare. To realise her aspiration of becoming a clinician scientist bridging laboratory scientific research with bedside clinical practice, she will embark on the MD-Ph.D. programme at Duke-NUS Medical School this July.

“There are many challenges ahead, but none of them will be insurmountable.”


Ang Yan Sheng
Mathematics

Ang Yan Sheng graduates with Honours (Highest Distinction) in Mathematics. He received the Lim Soo Peng Book Prize and Tan Teck Chwee Book Prize awarded to the best NUS Science students in mathematics and pure mathematics, respectively. He was also a recipient of the Singapore Mathematical Society Medal and Prize, and was placed on the Dean’s List for four semesters.

He completed the Special Programme in Mathematics in his second semester, and placed first in the Asia-Pacific Simon Marais Mathematics Competition (2017, 2018) and the NTU Euler Mathematics Competition (2017).

Yan Sheng’s passion for mathematics extends beyond the classroom. He participated in overseas programmes such as the Modern Mathematics International Summer School for Students, which introduces top-level mathematical research topics for selected international students, and the Heidelberg Laureate Forum, which brings together Laureates of mathematics and next generation scientists.

He also attended the Fields Undergraduate Summer Research Programme in Toronto, which admits selected undergraduates from around the world to work on projects that enhance their mathematical research skills. His team worked on implementing some geometric operations on surface meshes using partial differential equations, with a view towards applications such as three-dimensional printing.

During his time in the University Scholars Programme (USP), Yan Sheng participated in various ground-up initiatives contributing to USP’s vibrant student life. These included being part of the Laissez Faire free market which encourages students and staff to showcase their talents and skills for meaningful conversation-building. He also gave a presentation at a USPolymath lightning talk session, and played for the USP Reversi team at the NUS Inter-Faculty Games.

Yan Sheng will continue his studies in the mathematics Ph.D. programme at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he plans to work in the areas of geometry and low-dimensional topology.

“The privilege of being conferred a degree in a field that I am passionate about brings with it the responsibility to make the world a better place.”


Nicole Lim Pei Pey
Environmental Studies

Nicole Lim Pei Pey graduates with Honours (Highest Distinction) in Environmental Studies (BES), specialising in Environmental Geography, where she was placed on the Dean’s List for Academic Year 2016/2017 Semester 2.

Nicole was actively involved in student life and community leadership. She was the Project Director for the BES Sustainable Futures Symposium (2016), an annual event organised with the BES community in partnership with the Rotary Club. She subsequently served as President of the BES Student Committee from 2017 to 2018.

To promote a culture of caring for the environment, Nicole pioneered various initiatives, such as Sustainability+, the first cross-faculty sustainability dialogue in NUS, as well as engagement with secondary school students through a coastal cleanup, green career dialogues, and many other activities.

During her stay at the College of Alice and Peter Tan (CAPT), she complemented her environmental education with community engagement and active citizenship. She was appointed the Vice-President of the Students’ Committee in her second year. In addition, she advocated for greener institutional practices within CAPT, such as the reduction of single-use plastic within the college.

Nicole also assisted in the Cooling Singapore project, a research initiative by the Future Cities Laboratory to investigate the urban heat island phenomenon in Singapore. Stemming from this, she published several books, policy recommendations and science communication videos.

Under the NUS Study Trips for Engagement and EnRichment (STEER) programme, Nicole travelled to Costa Rica and Panama, where she learnt about environmental management and emerging business opportunities in Central America. On another STEER programme to Myanmar, she explored the themes of democracy and sustainable development. She also participated in an overseas field course to Bohol on environmental and conservation challenges in the Philippines.

Nicole is currently working in the field of sustainability, where she creates partnerships and collaborations with businesses, civic society and the public sector through engagement platforms. In the future, she hopes to work at the nexus of rural-urban development, as she believes that environmental and community challenges emerge at this frontier.