International!

_.

4 pu#:J/ica+iofl ofl overseas equca+ioflal oppor+uf\i+;'es

As a curious chemical engineer, who is eag'er to seek new, exciting land interesting experiences, working at Notional Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is indeed a dreorn come true. It is ,he or_ganiz(;:rlion where the besi scientists ore, where radical ideas flourish and mature and where the store-of-crt technology develops. I was very fortunate to be selected om0ngst thousands cof college student applicants for Fall 2010.

One of the -first challenges I faced was communication. This, being my fifth internship os an NUS student, I

have been very accustomed to orientating myself and getting acquainted with the organi20lional culture. However, my previous internships were located in Singapore,. chronologicdlly at Ihe Ministry of Communrty, Yauth and Sports (MCYS), at the Agency of Science, Technology ond Research (A"STAR) Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE), at the Singopore Economic Development Board (EDBJ. and at Shell Eastern Petroleum. At NASA, my mentor remarked that I sounded British and thot I was not familiar with the Midwestern slang, similarly with other interns from the South and other parts of the United States. Thankfully, our colleagues were very understanding and accommodating, and this problem was rectified within a few weeks and I felt at home conversing with my peers and colleagues.

Stationed at the federal hub of science and techrlOlogy innGvotion with spedfic emphosis an aeronautics and oviotion, I hod many o~rtunities within the programme for a wide variety of lectures and tours. The!y ranged from a tour of the lOx 10 wind tulilnel and dero acoustics research fudlities, to the presentation om VenuslMors/Lunar space exploration and their rovers, and to the biomechanics raoorat0ryvisil at the Clevelond Clinic, a pcrtnership with the NASI>. Human Research Project. To get a better insight of

reseorch in 1he field of Chemieel Engineering, I initiated '*

conversations with the brpnch chiefs to leern more obout areas such as Fuel Cells, Solar MettS, Nanotechnology Sensors, ~Jnd asked tours of the respective research facilities.

My internship projed itselfwos very exci1ing -10 develop a green solution to meet our present-day energy challenge. My work was focused en using biofuel os an altemtrtive source of oviC!rlion fUel. I eni<':lyed the extraOtdinory work in the GreenLob, working on orid lond holopn-ytes (salt-tolerant pleAts) and their immense potential as biofuel for commercial jet engines - racen! breakthroughs 01 N,ASA. Glenn Research Cen!re's Gr-eenLab. These substances do not compete with human consumption needs -for freshwater; food crops and arable land -the bottlenecks faced by traditional sources of biofuels. AIthougn -the learning curve W'OS steep, I learnt and applied something new fiNery single day at work with guidance from my ever-energetic mentor and very helpful colleagues at work.

Whm drives me 10 wake up every maming and go to work in high spirits was my werk progress in pioneering the protocol for chemical onolysls of the halophyte crops in our GreenLob. The uncertainty of experimentation and the exhilaration that comes with successful (ond not-sosuccessful) results ore ihetore elements of research tkatl enjoy most. I learned thaI failure is part of loorning. A good cHempt at on experiment consists of relentless cHempts with proper problem definition, good observation and asking r~evant questions. These important skill sets have been imbibed in me, especially during the course of my time here at NASA.

I am very fortunate to have hod very friendly and helpful colleagues at work and I have benefitted tremendously through in-depth conversations with them in a variety of contexts and different disciplines. After all.

Nlltlon~l Unlv~tsttv of S·Pgilj)()(1!

fl1arc~ '10"

fop-notch research today is multi-disciplinary in nature, hence building good networks and contacts are also very important.

What I would soy to future interns in any

organization is: Firstly, toke the initiative to ask,

leorn, and experiment. Secondly, Dream Big. Thirdly, accept that failure is part of learning. Lastly, always find your niche and your area of contribution towards the pro jed, so thot by the end of the internship, you

will have achievement and made a si9nificont~ positive contribution to the team.

~

lastsumni)et Wjl5 eXtraordinarily fulfilling; for tnefirsqin:1e' ~ilice !,!f1~er'ng' ~IJ£ I feli!: like I full¥ ut-Jlized the threl! lang manins during our summer I;lteak. I WaS on t.h~EUSA internship ~f0!;lralJlme organised By the, Inte'rriationa,! Re:lat~or:ls ~fIi'$~i and rna na'leCl to seen re two conc"!'lTent: if\ternslilips in Bootah.lhe fif~t waiSiln a'iT\,rl'!,<eting firm, :rIiBWlIIiams Agen£}" aAc}'tl1e Qtifler in WGBH, a public media Row~rh:O:l:lse.

1M addltlen, having to liive aar'oaQ,a"lone made m6J~ain a gr.eat deal efini:'lependeFl@e.Of'e:ourse, it san b:e. int,imida~lng,.inC! daunting being alGne in·a big Gi1Y ,<lim;! ifiatw.as espeda,lIy why I ClPI?redate'd the' s.t:aff of Et::J"SA .. Not· only were tHey h'~lpful in hellPlng me secure my intemshipJ butthey, ne)p,~lj me settle into llJ.-y a<:comrt'l<;tqaJtion ,an,d apapt to the local culture in no tim'~.byp~.ann:ing adiviiieli,so that'nw time_'i11 eoston in~Qrpotated OQth WQi'k and pla~;

At:the.s.alil1e:~Ime, I wasirirerning:ahheCorp.9r~te .~~onsllHShrp l)~pi'lrtmel1iU ofWGBHI {a'Jlublic broadcastIng cornpa~y),wmf!.re l-analysed' tile TV'andradlo fafil\gs frorn Ac. Niels.¢!,ral'l~ §1E!l'lerate intci reports and Pleser:ita,tiQrfs for companies wli·Q .. are interested inadve.ttising. Whili= there;· I manage-cl to 'get,a' Gh~nce,to'Yi5 it irs 'magnificent studl 0 and it 'W~S

definitely an eye'll,pel'ling tour; .

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~lW Ganles' we,:'C~ .e;et!i'nl8.~'8~ to cost aroptl9-' $,l6 billion, tJie :Beljl:I)S' Games werie_BstilIl,!!>ll,ed W c:QSI!a. whopping ,$40 b1llion.

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;'df WM/-JI ,W<ilf1\'!;ed to be: 0.: civil eMf~ee;r, . "

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m ~

\__A h.>N1 iif""o. V~V~i~

If f,tllJ 'W.rst1 ftl WflftI ·ABRtJAfJ,

In Boston, aJ wipe range of internships are available for undergraduates, especially in the btomedkal, finance and the technology industries. 'However. there is stiff competition for these pos-itions because many students studying in the numerous universities in Boston and their surroundlnq areas apply for internships in order to improve career prospects. Robin urges NUS undercraduates to take the initiative to secure their own lnternshlps via the internet to show their interest in the job. Students interested to work for G-reenyarn LLC as an lntem can write to Robin Lewat roblnlow@yahc;io.com,

Greenyarn llLC is not tile only organization which Robin has founded. Besides Greenyarn LLC. Robin also started Dotng.Gd, a socially responsible a-commerce portal for disadvantaged merchants to connect to potential consumers in Southeast Asia. The joint collaboration between NUS students and DOing.GO in 2007 res LIlted in the birth of the concept behtnd

xSan(jais. xSandal-s are a brand ofsandals which feature interchange,abli;! straps and buying these sandals will give lepers and amputees a job. Orders can be made online at www.doing.gd.

(At) University, I was just exposed to more ideas andl it widened my horizons."

Duringll1is formative years at unlverslty, Robin hill:! expressed his desire to work III other countries In order to expand his horizons and! Infe experiences. During Inis 3rd year at NUS, Robin took a semester off hom bts underqraduate studies to intern ~n America at iMa,rket Inc inl the database department for 7 months. In addition to that, he was already working and runningr his own business even before hls graduation. Robin said, "I always liked to learn more, and I have always had business ideas, even before grad,uation.

Robin believeutrongly In taking ectlon towards something desirable, and this lncludes.applyinq for JQbs abroad (apermanem position OJ an internship). When asked if he could provide some words of advice to underqraduates here at hlsalrna mater. he says, "The further you are away from your untverslty, the more valuable is your deqree.i. (Students) just need to do research and apply for job:s; no- one is going to do it fo:r them."

I I ~UtJ ~AGTS:

lBOSTON

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f"II,~cl4Ie -,.,appintl. I-f~r.e~s one solutiol"l.

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61!plore)l. .' .

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o~ I-k. .se9,eraphr a(\q cul+U()6 . .45 Sl,l~". +he expet'iet'lee +h'a+ +lJis oA~boarq pt'0!lramme prov;C/es,l-s oflie'""of.-iJ-f(if'lq. c~ss(i\9 .seo.sr"'l"~idil ti~1'4 foli+faal. Po(.lt:)q(l.rJes +0' pf"jq!Je'+~i6sgp- .be-h,!ee'tI\ Qca:qel"l.lc t;.{iSe;ot.;'rse, af'ld hilri\cl~-9f'1 PifHqwork.

Ifctl'fJ~"'I_cC6,Girses oPfet'eci .wl,f-blfl ,+Ij:~ 'p('0.!j,ra.f"IIr:'!6'. !?ac~ as 7~lobal S(.Is+ait'\:Qolli+y" aflod "tr'lferf\Qfiof\al f):ttiss ('f1ecli~t ,a#opt,~ .glo,I1a.l, '(Jo"'plJ}·tt+llIe apPf'!6tlC'I7. TIer challe(\.!j,i;l, s+uciMfS '49 ,+hjn:k crlftl:aliy a(v4 de~"'efor ccilr'lpara+1v'e,al'lalyses DR i-ssue~ rele·>ta,,+ +0 :~o"A-h'les af'PI.I(\Ci fh:e '!,.IoNd. e.q.aippiAg fhe.mWI+b +be necessaf"y sl(ills +0 Qqqress :+/.Ie ,challe~ies o~our

'l'ri+erqe,~flqeri+ ,,!orlet· .

(.(Iithlfl, +!7~, er:'jwrotifli'er1t or +Ii~~ <pn~sljip cafilf"llis. . <s+(.Ic(efl+s .~orrn close, 'bof:lqs \lJi+~' ,other Ilke-,.;t't.t/eq I'>lern~ers o~ H~ stafP /lAc( .s+(:J.clen+ -coml?lunl+y w!!l-h a c~",,,,of'l 'pqssIOr1 j:'o(, fNil/eJlli'\s Qf'l4 lear,f\'lf'IS: Gf'I tlie o+l1~r ~af\q. t!7'e diver,$.i+y tliaf +lie,/, enco,yn~iI' ifl l/ai"19tA'& d.dtGiral. reUijio""G, 0'(1" po,li+h:al' c;;.i)+JiXff. seNe .+0 proQcien +fJeJr. ~orj';U)n$ Qf'ld 4.evelop a Slopal j1¢t'speafNe re~I'ee+/V'e. o~ +lie ki'\o4'leJSjtt-"a.M experience' +I7,a+ Me'y .$Jain +~f"ou~lIoU+- .f-i?elr }out'Aey.

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