When Quek Xian Yang graduated from Singapore Polytechnic (SP) with a Diploma in Chemical Engineering in 2003, he left with a deep impression of one of his lecturers from the School of Chemical and Life Sciences (CLS), Mr Koh Chuan Aik.
Fast forward six years: Xian Yang is graduating from Nanyang Technological University (NTU) with a First Class Honours Degree in Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. He's one of the top scholars in the university and a University Scholars Award winner.
And he still hasn't forgotten Mr Koh. As a matter of fact, Xian Yang's chosen Mr Koh as his most inspirational teacher in polytechnic.
This might not mean much for most graduates, but it means a lot to a University Scholars Award winner. You see, the Award was initiated by NTU with the graduating class of Academic Year 2006/2007 to recognise the influence of inspirational teaching, and the enduring bonds that are forged between teachers and students. The Award is given to top NTU students, who are asked to acknowledge an NTU faculty member, and a teacher from his/her former junior college, polytechnic or equivalent institution who have inspired and contributed significantly to his/her education. The teachers and NTU faculty members will then be honoured at the NTU Convocation.
But that's not all. As Mr Koh has found out, NTU is also donating $5,000 in his name to fund a scholarship for a deserving SP student chosen by him, for his/her NTU studies.
"I was very surprised as I was not expecting any of this in the first place," said Mr Koh, a first-time recipient of the award, and one of only two lecturers from a polytechnic to be receiving such an honour this year. "However, I feel very encouraged about what I am doing—as a lecturer and a mentor to our students."
Certainly, the CLS lecturer has made quite a mark on Xian Yang, who is currently pursuing his PhD in Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands. Now, another student stands to benefit from the scholarship created of the bond between one inspirational teacher and one grateful student.