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The Best Of Both Worlds: A Brilliant Mind And A Beautiful Heart

When Tan Fong Xin was in secondary two, she witnessed the death of a school senior but was not able to render help. Though unfortunate, this traumatising event became a defining point in her life. She regretted not having enough medical knowledge at the tender age of 14, but swore to pursue and excel in the medical field.

With her stellar G.C.E ‘O’ Level results, the Xinmin Secondary School alumna could easily enrol in any of the top junior colleges in Singapore. However, Fong Xin’s heart was set on Singapore Polytechnic’s (SP) Diploma in Biomedical Science.

The SP Scholar was selected to intern at the prestigious Harvard Institute of Medicine – Newborn Medicine Lab where she was given an opportunity to shadow the renowned Dr Paul Lerou, the principal investigator of the lab. Through the attachment, which involved seeing newborns with medical conditions, she learnt that a medical career bears high responsibilities. Nevertheless, the satisfaction of the job can triumph over the long hours and the emotional distress. Her experience affirmed her decision to pursue medicine as a profession.

In addition to having a brilliant mind, Fong Xin has a phenomenally big heart too. Even before joining SP, she already developed a keen interest in serving the community. She volunteered at the Health Mapping Exercise organised by National Heart Foundation, where she provided medical assistance to the elderly living in rental flats. She also joined the SP Red Cross as she wanted to be equipped with basic first aid skills so she could help in emergency situations. Today, Fong Xin is a certified first aider.

At SP, she devoted a large amount of time to organise community service projects. She joined a community service trip to Chengdu, China and returned humbled by the experience. The trip marked her start in doing local community service with like-minded friends. She pioneered Project St Luke’s where they planned activities and served the elderly from St Luke’s Eldercare Centre. She was also involved in a year-long project at MINDS helping the beneficiaries there acquire social skills. For her deep involvement with community service, she was selected as a Youth Community Leader and received the SP Outstanding Contributions Award. Today she is in the pilot intake of Youth Corps Singapore that aims to ignite transformation through collaboration between youth, community service organisations and wider society.

Fong Xin hopes to be admitted into the Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine in National University of Singapore. She aspires to combine her love for medicine and community service to make a greater impact on society in the future.


  • Lee Kuan Yew Award
  • All Eights (Singapore) Gold Medal
  • Alfred Robert Edis Prize
  • Health Sciences Authority Award
  • OCBC Prize
  • Singapore Association for Medical Laboratory Sciences Award
  • The Diploma-plus Book Prize