Leong Hei Kern

The Engineering Wunderkind

Leong Hei Kern visited SP several times during the Open House and Joint Admission Exercise period just to make sure that he liked the environment. He likened it to a relationship where you have to be sure of the person you love.

After receiving his G.C.E ‘O’ Level results, he chose the Diploma in Mechanical Engineering in SP as first choice because he knew it would provide him with the skillsets needed to become a product designer. In addition, the former student of Chung Cheng High School (Yishun) heard only good things about the institution from his father, an SP alumnus from the same discipline. His sister, under his influence, has just started her course at SP.

As a year one student in Singapore Polytechnic, Hei Kern had already proven his mettle by winning a local Design competition to go to the International Design Contest Robocon, an international robotics competition organised by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Tokyo Institute of Technology. He took part again the following year and his team was crowned the champion. These were just two amongst a string of awards that he clinched during his SP years!

Such is the tenacity of Hei Kern, who recognised from young that engineering is his forte. This SP Engineering Scholar is always curious with how different materials could be integrated to become an outstanding innovation that would change the way we live and work. For his intense passion in the course, he received numerous awards that included the A*STAR Science Award (Polytechnic) and the Land Transport Authority Award.

While most students are assigned to their internship companies, Hei Kern wrote in to the Singapore University of Technology and Design (SUTD) and asked to do research work with them. They took him in and he worked on a research project on land transport, one of his favourite topics. The experience left him with valuable knowledge on how research work is actually conducted and gave him ideas for future projects.

The holistic SP journey took Hei Kern to the United States for the Harvard United Nations Model Conference and to Inner Mongolia for a green project that involved planting 1,200 fir trees to help prevent desertification there. He was also the Vice-President of Enactus (formerly known as SIFE) and helped start a new urban farming initiative, Comcrop, in town. Under the SP Outstanding Talent programme, he attended a leadership camp in Indonesia to develop his leadership qualities.

After national service, Hei Kern, a Model Student Award recipient, will continue his studies at SUTD under the SUTD-MIT Global Leadership Programme Scholarship. He sees himself working for an industrial or product design house in 10 years’ time or even possibly running his own product design firm.


Lee Kuan Yew Award
ETLA Gold Medal
Shell Companies In Singapore Prize
Alfred Robert Edis Prize
OCBC Prize
The Institution of Engineers, Singapore Prize