Ms Julianne Leow says the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic has enabled her to learn more about such pandemics as they unfold and how such public health crises can be prevented and resolved. PHOTO: MAX CHAN
BY GILBERT WONG
At 16, most of us are often unsure of what we intend to do in the future. But for Ms Julianne Leow, even at that tender age, she already knew she wanted a career in life sciences.
This was thanks to an essay contest on antibiotic resistance jointly organised by the National University of Singapore’s (NUS) Saw Swee Hock School of Public Health and Ngee Ann Polytechnic.
“Being unfamiliar with the topic back then, I had to do plenty of research on antibiotic resistance and its biological mechanisms,” says the now 19-year-old.
She adds: “I came to understand that the problem of antibiotic resistance is one that is extremely complex and extends beyond the field of biomedicine.”
While the essay contest piqued her interest, it was the unexpected Covid-19 pandemic that eventually made her pursue a Minor in Public Health, to complement her Bachelor of Science degree in Life Sciences at NUS. Ms Leow, who is an NUS Merit Scholarship recipient, was keen to study these subjects as she believes they are crucial in combating dangerous and infectious diseases, now and in future.
In her Evolutionary Biology class, Ms Leow learnt about topics such as deadly diseases. And as part of her Minor in Public Health, she has also gained an in-depth understanding of how government policies are shaped by various stakeholders.
“Such knowledge has benefited me in understanding both the current science and local management behind the pandemic in Singapore... and I hope to build up my understanding even further,” she says.
Being in the middle of the pandemic has also been an invaluable lesson. Ms Leow says: “To be able to learn and understand the situation as it simultaneously unfolds helps me to think critically about the possibilities that lie ahead.”
She hopes to contribute more in the fight against diseases. “I aspire to integrate the fields of biological science and public health to prevent and resolve major health crises, including both infectious diseases and non-communicable diseases.”
Visit https://nus.edu/freshmenscholarship for more information.