A Remarkable Voyage to Fulfil a Lifelong Ambition
Juggling both academia and raising a young family has not been an easy task but having a strong support network at university helps. Find out how Ainul Fasha Amran engineers her future.
Ainul Fasha Amran had scored well enough in her GCE A-Level examinations to pursue an art, science or business degree. Yet, she was still a few points shy from entering her preferred course of study – engineering.
The practical way forward would have been to put aside her dreams and trudge on with a new life goal. But she had other plans – a career in naval architecture. Having already gained industry experience as part of an internship, Ainul was certain that this was the place to be. The steady rise of the maritime trade and Singapore’s reputation as a state-of-the-art port meant that there were possibilities for growth.
She was confident of her potential to break new ground in this sector. She did not mind starting from scratch.
In preparation for this drastic switch, she enrolled herself into the Institute of Technical Education to pursue a Higher NITEC course in naval engineering before embarking on a marine and offshore technology diploma at a local polytechnic.
Nine years on, after this circuitous journey, she is living out her dream as a third-year naval architecture student at the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT).
“Taking this unusual path was never going to be easy,” she said. “But it brings me to SIT, a university which values hard work and dedication. It has been an extremely rewarding experience.”
Pushing the boundaries of science
Having worked in the offshore and marine engineering field for a few years prior to joining SIT, she was well aware of the everchanging nature of the industry.
This meant having to learn, unlearn and relearn new concepts – a trait espoused by all SIT undergraduates, also fondly known as SITizens.
“The key is to be open-minded and adaptable to different learning situations because every day is a chance for me to learn something I didn’t know the day before,” she said.
Delivered jointly by SIT and Newcastle University, the Naval Architecture degree is well-balanced with both theory and practical elements.
For example, as part of her naval architecture module, she and her classmates were tasked with the designing and building of a vessel that would carry up to a 50kg load.
Instead of playing it safe, they decided to experiment and create an unconventional design.
The project went on to gain plaudits and was showcased in an event attended by notable guests.
“As a student at SIT, you can’t help but feel that this is the right place to create bold new ideas for a better tomorrow.”
Breaking the glass ceiling in the classroom
As someone who has always been aware of the traditionally male-dominated marine and offshore industry, Ainul has had to overcome this general perception of her own.
In fact, it took her parents a few years to cosy up to the idea that Ainul would eventually be involved in the marine sector. They were worried that the physically demanding nature of the industry might be too much for her to handle.
But seeing their daughter rise through the ranks academically has changed their outlook.
“They see me happy at SIT and know that I am enjoying myself thoroughly in this journey – I think that has made all the difference.”
Since joining SIT, Ainul’s life has changed in more ways than one. For starters, she is now a proud mother of one.
Juggling both academia and raising a young family has not been an easy task but having a strong support network at university helps.
Another pillar of support at SIT has been her mentor, Associate Professor Kenneth Low, who continues to guide her both in campus and in life.
“He always reminds me that it’s not always about having the best grades but being able to juggle different responsibilities in life that makes one a great student. That’s probably one of the best pieces of advice I have ever received,” she said.
“With the right support system, no student gets left behind – that is what SIT is all about.”
Click here to find out more about SIT's Naval Architecture degree programme.