United By A Higher Calling
25 Jul 2018

From a record 1,300 applications this year, 84 defence scholarships were awarded to students from a diverse range of educational institutions and backgrounds at the Defence Scholarship Awards Ceremony on 20 July 2018.

Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen gave out 6 Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship (Engineering) – Defence and Security and 30 DSTA Scholarships. In addition, he awarded 9 SAF Scholarships, 16 SAF Merit Scholarships, 5 SAF Engineering Scholarships, 10 Defence Merit Scholarships, 7 SAF Medicine Scholarships and 1 SAF Local Dentistry Scholarship. The latter two scholarships were presented for the first time at the combined ceremony.

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Recipients of the PSC Scholarship (Engineering) – Defence and Security and DSTA Scholarship with the guests-of-honour, including Minister for Defence Dr Ng Eng Hen (front row, fifth from right) Senior Minister of State for Defence Mr Heng Chee How (front row, fifth from left), Public Service Commission Chairman Mr Eddie Teo (front row, fourth from right) and DSTA Chief Executive Mr Tan Peng Yam (front row, right).

Citing how the Fourth Industrial Revolution brings rapid technological breakthroughs in the areas of digitisation, Artificial Intelligence, robotics and autonomous vehicles, Dr Ng stressed that MINDEF and the SAF would “need the best engineering and science talents to harness such technological opportunities to ensure the SAF can maintain its fighting edge against potential aggressors.”

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As such, the defence community would continue to broaden its search to ensure that it invests in the right people to lead, protect and serve Singaporeans for future generations. This included facilitating support for students from poorer families or those living in one- to three-room HDB flats to apply for scholarships, Dr Ng added.

One example is DSTA Scholarship recipient Goh Hao Wei, 21, who comes from a single-income family. During National Service, he saw how the SAF used technology to improve its warfighting capabilities and enhance the soldiering experience, and realised he could apply his strength and interest in science and math to become a defence engineer. “I thought that this was an area that suited my abilities well and allowed me to play my part for defence,” said Hao Wei, who will be heading to the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign in the US to study electrical engineering.

To join him at DSTA after their studies is Adriel Tan, 19, who received the PSC (Engineering) Scholarship – Defence and Security. A budding developer that created his own Android apps while in school, he looks forward to applying his passion for computer engineering to develop hardware and software solutions for defence applications after completing his degree in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley.

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Hao Wei (left) and Adriel receiving their scholarship certificates from Dr Ng.