For three young men, it is a dream come true to receive the Home Team Scholarships this year. Peter Dumont, Choo Ze Xian, and Li Kangli have been fascinated with Science and Tech (S&T) for a long time, and look forward to being equipped with the knowledge and skills to make a real difference to lives. Among 14 scholars who received their awards on 20 August 2020, these three students will be joining HTX upon graduation from university.
Peter will be pursuing his studies in Microbial Biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Ze Xian and Kangli will both be studying Computer Science. Kangli will pursue his studies at the National University of Singapore, while Ze Xian is waiting for confirmation of his university placement.
All three were immensely grateful for the scholarship that will enable them to pursue their passions in S&T. Peter and Ze Xian were awarded the SGS MHA Merit Scholarship, and Kangli received the Home Team Local Study Award.
Read more about the Home Team Scholarships here.
Peter Dumont (Photo: Home Team News)
Choo Ze Xian (Photo: Home Team News)
Li Kangli (Photo: Home Team News)
We caught up with the boys to hear their thoughts on the award and HTX.
Congratulations on your awards! Please share with us how you feel about the scholarship.
Peter: The scholarship has opened the door to many opportunities, and I’m very grateful to be attached to an agency that I’m genuinely looking forward to begin a career at. I’m excited to help grow HTX!
Ze Xian: It is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. While I’m ecstatic to have been chosen, I also understand that it is a precious symbol of responsibility and duty of giving back to Singapore.
Kangli: I’m very honoured to receive the scholarship. Having taken the polytechnic instead of junior college route, which is something out of the norm, I hope that my example can encourage people to recognise that if polytechnic students work hard enough, they too can achieve success.
What sparked your interest in S&T? What attracted you to join HTX?
Peter: I used to read a lot of mystery novels, such as those by Agatha Christie, and had a little taste of investigative work in school through biology. I also had the opportunity to do a course overseas at Princeton University on epidemiology and learnt how the spread of diseases can be traced to different patients. At HTX, I would be able to marry my interest in police work and biology research. I wanted a career path that had a lot more meaning while being able to see the fruits of my work on the ground.
Ze Xian: Since I was in Year 3 of secondary school, I started dabbling in various projects that could have real-life applications. For instance, while I was serving the nation, I created a sentiment analyser with the aim of reading a chunk of text to tell whether the writer was happy or sad. At HTX, I again saw this real-life application when news broke recently that HTX was involved in the screening of COVID-19 at Singapore’s borders. I wanted to be part of this up and coming agency tasked with the mandate to tackle new, growing problems.
Kangli: I’ve always loved watching crime-solving series like Sherlock Holmes and Forensic Heroes where they examine trails left behind by criminals to crack the case. My passion for Digital Forensics was sparked by my National Service stint with HTX’s Digital and Information Forensics team. I saw first-hand how a forensics examiner worked, and was exposed to advanced techniques (such as chip-off forensics) to extract data from non-working devices. The work was so interesting and exclusive, I knew I had to return!
What do you hope to achieve in the field of S&T?
Peter: I hope to find a niche area in Microbial Biology that is useful in growing the capabilities of HTX. As I’ll be studying a lot about viruses and pathogens, I could probably branch off into a related topic like immunology. I saw that HTX was quite heavily mobilised for fast-response COVID-19 measures. It will definitely be useful if more people could contribute to such an effort in future, should another pandemic strike.
Ze Xian: To apply S&T meaningfully, I hope to utilise technology to touch the lives of every Singaporean. This can be through the development of advanced systems or applications that will boost the effectiveness or security of day-to-day processes, impacting the everyday lives of Singaporeans.
Kangli: As HTX’s digital forensics team continues to ramp up its capabilities by tapping on emerging tech, I want to be a subject matter expert in digital forensics. I hope to develop useful tools to solve crimes easily and legally.