Mr Malcolm Kee is among the first batch of SITizen ambassadors who get to represent the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) at institutional, public and industry partner events.
He also assisted with the university’s open house in 2020 and represented SIT at a Lunar New Year reception at the Istana as well as at a roadshow that was part of the Punggol Digital District masterplan, among many other academic outreach events.
“Having been appointed to represent SIT at events with VIPs – either as a host, guest or emcee – I have gotten better at public speaking,” he says.
Looking back, the 26-year-old would not have joined these activities if he had not missed the opportunity to apply for a scholarship in his first year.
He initially felt that his grades at polytechnic were not good enough to be considered for a scholarship, so he channelled his efforts into his studies and co-curricular activities which paid off – he did well academically and joined the SIT Scuba Diving Club where he became president.
In his second year, he became a teaching assistant, and the professor encouraged him to apply for the SIT Mid-Term Scholarship.
“Despite the rigours of my programme, it was still possible to perform both academically and holistically,” he says. “I hoped that by keeping up with the requirements of my scholarship, it would inspire underclassmen to aim for these opportunities too.”
Scholars like Mr Kee gain access to the SIT Scholar Engagement Programme, a series of specially curated programmes and activities that include leadership workshops and networking sessions.
This was on top of the regular coursework he needed to complete his Bachelor of Engineering in Systems Engineering (ElectroMechanical Systems), which has since been renamed Bachelor of Engineering with Honours in Mechatronics Systems, a joint degree offered by SIT and DigiPen Institute of Technology Singapore (DigiPen).
Nurturing a love for math
Engineering was a natural choice for the math whiz who is good with numbers. Since he had already acquired a diploma in international business at Ngee Ann Polytechnic, he wanted to gain technical skills such as programming and take a course where he could nurture his love for math. His degree programme gave him all that and more.
“We were taught to see through a project from start to finish and from top to bottom,” he explains.
“Our natural sciences and computer science modules were taught by DigiPen, where we learnt the fundamentals of how to translate math into machines, while the SIT modules focus on the macro engineering disciplines such as system architecture, design and project management.”
Degree programmes offered at SIT are targeted at growth sectors of Singapore’s economy, such as healthcare, food technology, infocomm technology and engineering.
SIT’s focus on applied learning involves a variety of teaching methodologies – such as experiential learning – which gives students the opportunity to work on industry projects and real-world challenges.
Mr Kee is grateful that his education has not only equipped him with relevant technical skills, but also provided a diverse range of opportunities that challenged him to learn and grow.
He strives to be a role model to help future students – and his participation as a SITizen ambassador and student leader allows him to do just that, together with other scholars in his cohort.
“The SITizen spirit is about building a community,” he says. “Even though my fellow scholars and I are from different programmes and campuses, we have built strong bonds.”
When it comes to building communities, the former president of the SIT Scuba Diving Club also initiated beach and dive clean-ups. Even after graduation, he still continues to volunteer whenever he can.
“Beyond creating environmental awareness, I wanted to leave something for the students to carry on doing after I graduate,” he says.
Harnessing his tech skills for good
Now that he has embarked in his career as a graduate associate with DBS, he is excited at all the possibilities that come with his job.
He joined the bank in July last year under the Skill Enhancement Education & Development (SEED) programme which he came to know about through SIT. The 24-month programme offered by the bank aims to train fresh graduates working in technology roles.
For the fresh graduate, it was an opportunity to integrate both his business diploma and engineering degree.
“Start working on bettering yourself, your grades and your community. A scholarship may eventually come your way,” says the SIT scholar.