Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Little Steps to Great Things

The decision to apply to Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) through the Direct Polytechnic Admission (DPA) exercise was one that helped Darien Kwek’s discover his hidden potential!

Imagine a shy boy who kept to himself during recess and whose daily routine involved shuttling between school and home only. Would you imagine that this same person now has a social calendar filled with activities? Once an average student, this boy is now the top student of his cohort with four prestigious awards under his belt (including the Lee Kuan Yew award). Meet Darien Kwek, a student from the NYP’s Diploma in Nanotechnology & Materials Science.

His story of transformation began in Holy Innocents’ High School. The DPA exercise had just begun, and upon checking the courses available, the Diploma in Nanotechnology & Materials Science caught his eye. He had heard about nanotechnology earlier during an enrichment camp, and his interest was piqued. Knowing that this was where his interest and passion lay, he chose to apply for the course. The decision changed his life, kickstarting his learning adventure at NYP.

Despite the unfamiliar environment, Darien was surrounded by like-minded peers, who helped him to open up and grow. When he was nominated as a class representative, his first instinct was to decline. Thankfully, his good rapport with friends emboldened him, and he accepted. Subsequently, he also took on the role of student leader and tutored weaker students too. As he opened up to new possibilities, they helped boost his confidence one step at a time.

Admittedly, Darien had to work harder during his second and third year, to fully understand the concepts for Materials Science. However, with his perseverance and the unwavering support from his classmates and lecturers, he had a good team behind him and found himself excelling.

Having the opportunity to work with top scientists during his attachment prepared him for the rigorous nature of conducting quality research, and he tested out his skills on his Final Year Project. Working diligently, he managed to find a way to create quantum dots – used in the medical profession to detect tumours in just minutes, instead of hours – potentially making them cheaper to produce in future. It is a remarkable discovery for the medical field!

Graduating with a perfect GPA of 4, matched with 32 distinctions and ‘A’ grades, Darien’s turnaround is nothing short of remarkable, but he has even bigger goals in sight. After national service, he plans to further his studies in Materials Science. He also added that he would “like to do research that will benefit people all around the world... something that will improve our quality of life.” Building on the strong foundation NYP has already given him, the A*STAR scholar is well-poised to achieve anything he desires, so expect to hear more big things from him in the near future.

Find out more about the DPA and our 46 diploma courses at the DPA centre at NYP! There will also be exciting talks lined up with tips on how to write your 600 character summary and information on the scholarships available. Visit www.nyp.edu.sg/DPA  for more information. 

This article was first published in the July 2014 issue of Teenage magazine.

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