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See the world and learn

Last year was a busy one for Ms Catrina Lim, and it was also memorable for its many highlights.

On an exchange programme at the University of California, Berkeley from August 2017 to May 2018, she did a vehicle dynamics course in which she had to build a 1/10-scale race car and programme it to perform tasks such as cruise control and lane keeping.

She also enjoyed a full social life, as her hostel organised many weekend events, a weekly coffee hour and themed dinners where she met people from all over the world.

And in her spare time, she took many road trips and went on hikes with her new friends.

From May to August last year, the 23-year-old — a Nanyang Technological University (NTU) Renaissance Engineering Programme (REP) Scholarship holder — also did an internship at multinational biopharmaceutical company Amgen, in California.

She was assigned to projects that involved pumps and heat exchangers in the molecule production process — a challenging yet rewarding project for her as she had to apply familiar concepts to an unfamiliar field.

The NTU-REP has been a good fit for her passions, says Ms Lim, who loves to travel and try new things.

Room for discovery
Ms Lim says: “The scholarship covers my expenses for the programme while leaving me to explore many potential career options. What’s more, there is no bond period.”

Additionally, the REP offers a one-year overseas exchange programme in Year 3 and an overseas internship.

REP scholars also enjoy living, book, computer and accommodation allowances, as well as overseas benefits such as accommodation and meals allowance during Year 3.

“I love how the REP combines both engineering and business,” adds Ms Lim, who sees the value of understanding both the technical and business aspects within the work environment, which she finds prevents tunnel vision when making decisions.

Exposure to various branches of engineering (including aerospace, computer science and biomolecular) in her foundation years gave her a holistic understanding of the field and helped her make a wiser choice for her specialisation.

Her focus? Mechanical engineering for its breadth and flexibility of career options. “It has many different aspects and some overlap with other branches of engineering, while many are drastically different from one another. This keeps studying and applying mechanical engineering concepts interesting.”

Pursuing interests
Not limited to just learning engineering, Ms Lim was free to explore her interest in the arts. She attended a 10-week summer school programme under GEM Discoverer at the University of Stuttgart from May to June 2016 where she studied the German language and art history.

She was also the RE Club vice-president in her second year, and worked with the various committee heads on fostering lasting inter-batch connections and supporting fellow undergraduates in their career development.

When she graduates in December 2019, Ms Lim hopes to get a job in a tech-based company.

This interest is evident in her final-year project on enabling detection and avoidance in unmanned aerial vehicles using Robot Operating System, and her upcoming internship at DSO National Laboratories’ Guided Systems, where she will work on drones.