Achievements

Interview with 2016 DES graduates, Ms Farzana Saini – DES Gold medallist and Mr Denny Handoko Bahar – DES Silver medallist

What were your main reasons for choosing DES instead of all the many other courses you could have taken?

Farzana:  I actually developed an interest in mathematics and science at a young age as the subjects were engaging and fun. Therefore, I knew that I wanted to study engineering. I was glad that DES was a multi-disciplinary course which allowed me to study both mechanical and electrical engineering. I really enjoyed the fact that DES implemented a studio-based learning environment where I could learn engineering fundamentals through interactive activities and hands on learning. I love the fact that my course offers both Mechanical and Electrical Engineering modules. Not only was I able to appreciate the importance of these two engineering discipline, but I also realised the link between them and learned how to apply them in the creation and design of an innovative engineering product.

Denny:  I wanted to take a science/math related course because I enjoy studying these subjects. Engineering courses seems to provide me the best opportunity to study and apply these subjects in the real world. However, I wasn’t very sure which engineering field I want and hence I choose DES because it covers a broad range of field such as mechanical, electrical, electronics.

How was your transition from secondary school to your first year of studio-based learning?  Did you feel new freedom, anxiety, uncertainty, enthusiasm?

Farzana:  I was anxious as it was new to me and I did not know what to expect. Going from just sitting down and listening to our lecturers, I felt that DES allows me to learn independently through activities and related that to the main topic. I was able to adapt well and started to love the way we were taught.  

Denny:  It was challenging for me to adapt to the studio based learning environment as it requires us to be independent in our learning. After the first semester, I was able to do better in the course due to the supportive lecturers and classmates.

Did you enjoy the class atmosphere – especially having a lab assigned almost exclusively for your class?  What about the other students who chose the same new course as you?

Farzana:  Having an exclusive lab is beneficial as it provide us a place where we could study and do our projects outside of lesson time. It easily became a second home to us as we spent most of our time in the lab. With the mini workshop, we did not have to go to the workshop building to do our fabricating and cutting for our prototypes.

Denny:  Overall I enjoy the atmosphere a lot because we get a space of our own. It is like a VIP room. The small class size and assigned lab allowed me to learn better as the lecturers were able to better explain concepts.


Was the pace of learning good for you?  Was it too fast or slow?  Did you enjoy the freedom to study in your own way or did you wish for more lecturer guidance?

Farzana:  It was fine. I was able to keep up with pace of learning. If I were be lost in one of the lessons, I would re-read the lesson notes again or ask my friends and my lecturers to clarify any doubts.

Denny:  Initially it may seem a little fast but soon I got used to the pace. I enjoyed studying in a dedicated classroom in my own way.

A few students found the course too challenging but you managed to carry on.  What kept you going?

Farzana:  I believe that my desire for constant improvement has led me to strive for academic excellence. I am always certain that if I put in the right effort, commitment and, there will always be a reward in return. The burning passion of learning, enjoying my time in class and gaining knowledge about engineering also plays a big role in my performance.

Denny:  I took the challenge positively. If a course is challenging it probably means that there are many things to learn. The lecturers also provide free online resources that allows me to learn engineering concepts anytime and anywhere.

How did you manage, having electronic, design and mechanical study taught together?  Was it good to have the mix or do you think they would have been better if kept separate?

Farzana:  It is best to know the basic concepts first. It is fine to have them in one module, however, it should be taught on alternate days to ensure that students are able to understand the concepts in depth and have time to self-study and catch up after school.

Denny:  I think the key is to be able to adapt quickly and to imagine how these modules can be related with each other. Many times as a student we will not be able to see the connection between the different areas and that make us feel very frustrated because we don’t know the point of learning these. Therefore, the caring lecturers play an important role in nurturing us and guiding us towards understanding how these modules are related and applicable to the real world. The merit of having to learn multi-disciplinary modules allowed me to be more aware of the possible tools/knowledge towards solving a problem in the best possible way.

Many of the modules had more than one lecturer teaching at the same time.  Was this good for you?

Farzana:  Yes, it was helpful to have more than one lecturer teaching as we are able to approach either one for help.

Denny:  Yes, it is good because there are more lecturers we can approach if we encounter challenges. And sometime different lecturers may provide us with different ways to see/solve an issue.

The various project groups in the two DES classes all contributed to a central theme.  Did this motivate you or add more stress?

Farzana:  The project was definitely one of the highlights of my poly life. Through the project modules that I went through, I learnt to work with others and also improve my management and interpersonal skills in addition to my engineering skills. By building prototypes to display my ideas and design, I learnt to integrate the mechanical and electrical engineering principles that were taught.

Denny:  Personally I feel that it is more interesting/motivating if both classes work on similar projects and compete on who can achieve the best result. It spurs us on and we can always learn new skills from each other.

You had a very successful internship with LTA, how did you feel at the start of the internship? Apprehensive? Excited? Well-prepared - or otherwise?  How long did it take for you to feel confident in what you were doing in the company?

Farzana:  I was excited and curious to know the working environment in LTA. Through the internship, I was able to gain valuable knowledge about the Transportation System in Singapore. I was exposed to the various types of testing and trainings that were conducted before the handing over of the train system to the operator and the operations behind it. I was also able to gain insight into how the different testing stages such as Factory Acceptance Test are being carried out. Through this internship, I was able to see that the lessons we have learnt in school being applied in the industry. I learnt that there is a lot of effort and thought being put into the process of constructing the rail system in order to provide an efficient and reliable transportation system. It provided me with an eye-opening learning experience, widen my knowledge about the engineering transportation industry and nurtured my interest and passion in engineering.

Denny:  My internship is with LTA. I feel quite nervous because this is the first time I’m working and also the project I have to do is nothing related with the course (web development). I feel quite comfortable by the 1st month. I was nervous as it is my first time working in a real company. While the project I was working on was not related to my modules, it allowed me to pick up new skills and knowledge in another area. The internship also gave me a feel of the industry and a greater idea of what my future career could be.

Is there any advice you would like to give to our current DES students? 

Farzana:  I would strongly advice my juniors to work hard and not give up even though things get tough. Be honest and give feedback to improve our course.  Treasure the time spent with your peers. Know how to manage your time well and plan early. Learn from the setbacks and be willing to learn.

Denny:  Make full use of every free minute you have to learn something new or something you want learn. It doesn’t have to be related to engineering or DES as long as you are interested in that area. The things that you learn based on your own curiosity is the one that will define you.


From left: Farzana, Loh Yew Chiong(Dir EEE), Denny, and Tan Hua Joo(DES Course Chair)

Interview with DES graduate, Mr BRYAN LIM WEN CHONG, awarded the LTA Scholarship

Congratulations on achieving the scholarship award by Land Transport Authority (LTA). We would like you to share your success story as our pioneer DES graduate.

The studio-based teaching you experienced was quite a new initiative in SP, designed to prepare you for self-directed learning and analysis, working in teams and make you ready to adapt quickly to the demands of industry. We are interested to hear how you felt during your three years in SP, especially compared to how your friends studying other courses felt, and sharing with us how the LTA scholarship will help you achieve your aspirations?

What were your main reasons for choosing DES instead of all the many other courses you could have taken?

DES was promoted as a multi-disciplinary course when it was first launched and I got to know about it through various media. I found that being multi-disciplined was essential in the current world and industries we live in. Understanding the importance of it, I decided to give DES a go. With DES adopting the studio-based approach, that further enticed me to enrol in this course as I felt that learning would be further enhanced with this “do and learn as you go” approach. Also knowing the demands of the industry for more system engineers and the affiliation with many renowned companies, gave me the confidence to put DES as my first choice.

How was your transition from secondary school to your first year of studio-based learning? Did you feel new freedom, anxiety, uncertainty, enthusiasm?

I was mentally prepared for the transition from secondary school to polytechnic but I did not know what to expect from the new course. At the start of DES curriculum, I was rather impressed at the way the modules were being taught. I would say myself to be a hands-on person and loved to take things apart. Because of that, I adapted easily to the studio-based learning. To me every day was a wonder to be.

Did you enjoy the class atmosphere – especially having a lab assigned almost exclusively for your class? What about the other students who chose the same new course as you?

I loved our studio! The open-concept of the studio made me open up to new friends and new ideas. Having the exclusive right to the studio made school really feel like home. We could be studying from 8 am to 5 pm daily and staying back till 10 pm to finish up our projects but it always felt like where I belong due to the familiarity. Because of this familiarity, studying never felt like a chore and ideas seemed to flow. I believed my friends felt the same way too! Its where most of our poly memories come from. From FOP to lessons to staying back late for projects, to celebrating birthdays, to installing a gaming console to having many meals in there secretly, the studio definitely feels like home.

Was the pace of learning good for you? Was it too fast or slow? Did you enjoy the freedom to study in your own way or did you wish for more lecturer guidance?

The pace of learning was rather good for me. There were fast and slow times but I managed to pull through it. The freedom of learning remove all limitations and expanded my learning horizons as I learned to not only rely on a certain pool of knowledge. The lecturers’ guidance allowed us to learn on more technical areas like math and electronics. However, the freedom to study in our own pace gave me the opportunity to research into other topics that I found interesting and because of that, I learned about the fundamentals of aerospace and many others.

A few students found the course too challenging but you managed to carry on. What kept you going?

Friends and Lecturers. The synergy between me and my classmates made learning a fun and enriching experience. Because of that, everyday seemed to be an enjoyable one and challenging times seemed so insignificant. For the lecturers, every one of them put so much effort and thought into our learning. If there were any hiccups in our learning, they would always be there to guide and encourage us. Their thoughts and care in teaching us are what made us today.

How did you manage, having electronic, design and mechanical study taught together? Was it good to have the mix or do you think they would have been better if kept separate?

The mixtures of studies actually made it easier for me. The array of disciplines helped me to not get bored of studying and made it more interesting. It also allowed me to understand how each field interacted with one another. I do encourage the multi-disciplinary approach.

Many of the modules had more than one lecturer teaching at the same time. Was this good for you?

There are negative and positive points to this. Firstly on the negative, the different believes and ideology of each lecturer would clash at times and bring confusion to us. This brought down their credibility and we would often at times rather rely on our own. For the positive, we could see different perspectives to certain topics and ideas and that widened our views to things.

The various project groups in the two DES classes all contributed to a central theme. Did this motivate you or add more stress?

Neutral. I managed to understand how big groups come together for a bigger project.

You had a very successful internship with LTA and now they have awarded a scholarship! How did you feel at the start of the internship? Apprehensive? Excited? Well-prepared - or otherwise?

Thank you! I was looking forward into the internship as I wanted to better understand the various job scopes for engineers. I believe that there’s only so much we can prepare for and therefore I simply went in with an open mind. Because of that I had many other opportunities come my way during my internship, from station visits to commissioning of the DTL stage 2.

How long did it take for you to feel confident in what you were doing in the company?

It took me around 2 weeks to adapt into LTA. The more knowledge I acquired as the days goes, the more confident I got. Knowledge is confidence.

Is there any advice you would like to give to our current DES students?

To the current DES students: Being in this new environment where you have to be proactive in your studies can be tough but do know that once this first hurdle is crossed, future hurdles will only seem so simple. Keep this in mind, that the most important thing in DES is to be OPEN minded. Study smart and also remember to have loads of fun! All the best in this exciting and enriching journey ahead!

Can you share with us how you overcame challenges and difficulties when first given a piece of work that you were unfamiliar with during your internship?

I would love to produce a new product/idea/concept that would impact the community and the LTA scholarship serves as a pedestal since the agency is at the forefront of Singapore’s transportation. The job rotations scheme for scholars would also mean that I will experience a variety of roles and learn much more.


Bryan Lim and his parent 

Interview with DES graduate, Ms Syndrey LIM WAN XING, awarded the SICK Product Center Asia Pte Ltd Scholarship

Hi Syndrey, Congratulations on achieving the scholarship award by SICK Product Center Pte Ltd. We would like you to share your success story as our pioneer DES graduate and could now inspire more women to become engineers.

What were your main reasons for choosing DES instead of all the many other courses you could have taken?

The main reason for choosing DES was due to the multi-disciplinary modules and the studio-based learning environment. The good mix of electronic engineering, mechanical engineering along with business and social science modules allowed me to better appreciate systems engineering.

How was your transition from secondary school to your first year of studio-based learning? Did you feel new freedom, anxiety, uncertainty, enthusiasm?

I felt that I adapted well to the transition from secondary school to the studio-based learning as both teaching styles are rather similar. However, the unique studio-based learning allowed me to engage better with my peers during discussions and brainstorming. Constructive comments on ideas can be gained through the discussions and it has also motivated me to become an independent learner as I would read up on related topics before discussions.

Did you enjoy the class atmosphere – especially having a lab assigned almost exclusively for your class? What about the other students who chose the same new course as you?

I definitely liked the class atmosphere as everyone always interacts with each other. The exclusive lab was a bonus as we have the freedom to access it anytime. I believe my other course mates feel the same way about these privileges.

Was the pace of learning good for you? Was it too fast or slow? Did you enjoy the freedom to study in your own way or did you wish for more lecturer guidance?

Initially, the learning pace was a little fast for me, but the friendly lecturers are always around to help. By approaching them for advice, I was able to cope better afterwards.

A few students found the course too challenging but you managed to carry on. What kept you going?

Like any other courses, there were definitely ups and downs. However, the lecturers helped nurture my passion in engineering. My friends also motivated me to carry on whenever I encountered challenges.

How did you manage, having electronic, design and mechanical study taught together? Was it good to have the mix or do you think they would have been better if kept separate?

As Engineering Systems is about various engineering disciplines integrating seamlessly in a project, it helps to have a deeper understanding of multiple engineering disciplines. The good mix of modules in the DES course really helped prepare me not just for my project but also for working in the industry when I graduate.

Many of the modules had more than one lecturer teaching at the same time. Was this good for you?

In my opinion, having different lecturers help offer different perspectives and solutions to overcoming some of the problems or challenges I faced in the course.

Your first year project carried on to the second year project with a similar theme. Was this good for you or would you have preferred a fresh project in the second year?

I would personally prefer carrying on with a similar theme as it will help build upon my skills and knowledge.

The various project groups in the two DES classes all contributed to a central theme. Did this motivate you or add more stress?

It motivated me as it simulated an actual working environment whereby different teams of engineers across various disciplines come together for a large engineering project.

You had a very successful internship with SICK Product Center Asia Pte Ltd and now they have awarded a scholarship! How did you feel at the start of the internship? Apprehensive? Excited? Well-prepared - or otherwise? How long did it take for you to feel confident in what you were doing in the company?

I felt excited and determined to give my all during the start of my internship. I would say it took me about a month or two to be confident and understand my scope of work.

My internship experience over the past six months in SICK was definitely a fruitful learning journey. Throughout the internship, I was able to learn from the seniors and colleagues in the company, which has opened my eyes to the industry and shaped my aspirations and perceptions of engineering. Before the internship, I never thought of staying in the engineering field after graduation.

During the internship, I followed my supervisor and joined the team as an assistant production engineering to work on various projects. We had to conduct in-depth research in order to identify the users’ needs and their behaviours. This allowed us to define the issues affecting them before we can offer solutions. Thanks to the authentic learning environment in the DES course, I was used to working in groups and rarely faced any difficulties in terms of communication with colleagues. The problem solving skills that I have gained through the course also helped me a lot as I was able to looks at problems from different perspectives and developed various innovative solutions. I also learnt to develop personal and social effectiveness through the internship.

My time at SICK has significantly contributed to both my personal and professional development. I have been offered a job and scholarship by SICK which has allowed me to apply the knowledge and system-thinking theory that I have learnt in my course to the industry.

Is there any advice you would like to give to our current DES students?

Do not get distracted by the privileges of the DES studio classroom and the freedom of poly life. Always strive to do your best and become an inspired learner. This way, you will be ready for work or further studies upon graduation.


Ms Syndrey Lim and her friend

 

Last updated: 26 May 2016