An aspiring food technologist with a hunger to give back to society

18 Apr 2024

Nicholas Sim Jing Xiang remained undeterred from pursuing his passion despite academic setbacks. He took the challenging path of retaking his GCE ‘A’ Level examinations twice as a private candidate while fulfilling his National Service duties. Although he did not achieve the grades required for admission to local universities, Nicholas persevered and enrolled in Singapore Polytechnic’s (SP) Diploma in Food Science and Technology (DFST).

His journey into this field began during his junior college days when he embarked on an in-house research project at the Nanyang Technological University (NTU) titled “Nutrients for the Elderly”. Observing first hand the transformative effects of nutritious foods on the elderly and their prohibitive costs, he was inspired to champion the accessibility of these essential products. The Catholic High School alumnus’ efforts bore fruit through unwavering dedication and an innovative approach, culminating in the prestigious Best Poster Award at the International Researchers Club (IRC) Conference on Science, Engineering and Technology.

Excelling in his academic pursuits in SP, the Lee Kuan Yew Award recipient is also an SP Scholar, and he was placed on the Director’s Honour Roll for two consecutive years. Nicholas also savoured the SP culture and immersed himself in the Chemical and Life Sciences (CLS) Club, contributing to planning school events and engaging in community service initiatives. His involvement in the CLS Peer Tutoring Programme in 2022 allowed Nicholas to lend a helping hand to his peers who were not performing as well as he did.

His time in SP was enriched by hands-on experiences, including his Final Year Project with Symrise, a German chemicals company that is a major producer of flavours and fragrances, where he investigated the flavour performance of vanilla and strawberry flavourings in dairy and plant-based yoghurts. Nicholas is grateful for the practical exposure he received from SP, as it allowed him to understand the language of the machines in the food industry and gave him an upper hand in the working environment.

His internship experience with Tai Hua Food Industries further solidified his passion for the field. His outstanding performance led to an invitation to continue working part-time while awaiting university admission. Nicholas’ steadfast dedication, innovative mindset, and commitment to excellence set him on a path toward a promising career in the food industry.

Initially drawn towards research and development (R&D) in the food industry, Nicholas’ aspirations have evolved, fuelled by his entrepreneurial spirit and a deep-rooted commitment to serving the community. His transformative shift in focus stems from his volunteering experiences with TOUCH Meals-on-Wheels and Willing Hearts, where he witnessed firsthand the pressing issue of hunger and malnutrition faced by the elderly and vulnerable.

By leveraging his knowledge and expertise in food science and technology, Nicholas plans to pursue further studies in related fields, and aims to develop sustainable and cost-effective nourishing meal solutions for those in need. Driven by his insatiable appetite to start his own organisation, Nicholas is committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of those who need it most.

SP Sustainability Matters