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

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