Class of 2020: Civil Engineering Pioneer Graduates Carve their own Paths
Two Civil Engineering pioneer graduates took a leap of faith to carve out a career path of their own.
In this edition of 'Class of 2020', we see how two pioneer graduates from the Civil Engineering (CVE) programme, jointly offered by SIT and University of Glasgow (UofG), took a leap of faith to carve out a career path of their own.
Alicia Ho Sze Yin, SIT-UofG Civil Engineering (Class of 2020)
Stepping out of polytechnic with a Diploma in Sustainable Urban Design and Engineering, Alicia Ho (left), 26, applied to CVE programmes in several autonomous universities but was unsuccessful. She decided to gain some industry experience and worked as a Technical Officer at HDB Urban Planning for two years. In 2017, when she heard of the newly-launched CVE programme offered by SIT and the University of Glasgow (UofG), she jumped at the chance and aced the admissions interview to be part of the pioneer cohort of this programme.
Returning to her studies after working for two years was challenging, but Alicia held on with tenacity and spent extra time to revise and catch up. "I'm really glad that I could easily consult my professors and fellow course mates whenever I encountered any problems, or had difficulty grasping concepts taught during lessons," she recalled. Alicia did well academically and was awarded the Ngee Ann Kongsi Scholarship from 2018 to 2020.
Always looking to widen her perspectives, this former Vice-President of the SIT Archery Club enjoyed making friends from different fields of studies and learning from them. Her grit and hard work paid off as she graduated with Honours with Distinction. Alicia was offered a full-time position at ECAS Consultants Pte Ltd following her eight-month Integrated Work Study Programme (IWSP), but she declined the offer as she wanted to explore other options and widen her experience with other companies.
Now an Engineer at WSP Consultancy, Alicia works on client projects on building structures, including analysing and designing whole structures, and assisting the project manager in the design of new buildings. But that's not all. While working, Alicia is also pursuing her Master of Science in Civil Engineering at SIT, and has sat for the Fundamentals of Engineering Examination (Professional Engineer registration examination). She credits the SIT-DNA trait of being 'able to learn, unlearn and relearn' as her ethos towards lifelong learning, and hopes to attain her Professional Engineering (PE) status in the near future.
"I'm grateful for the opportunity that SIT has given me to pursue my interest in CVE," said Alicia, "I hope to contribute more to this sector both locally and beyond."
Au Wei Ming, SIT-UofG Civil Engineering (Class of 2020)
Au Wei Ming (left), 26, the valedictorian for his cohort, had initially applied for the Sustainable Infrastructure Engineering (Building Services) programme, but made the switch to the CVE programme when it was launched in 2017. Before that, he had a polytechnic diploma in Environmental Management and Water Technology, which covered both civil and environmental aspects of the industry, and he wanted to continue deepening his understanding and skills in these areas.
Naturally, he had some concerns about enrolling in a new programme. However, he was convinced by SIT's applied learning pedagogy and industry-focused curriculum.
As Wei Ming stood on stage to deliver his valedictorian address at the SIT Graduation Ceremony 2020/21, he was glad he took that leap of faith. "It was the best and worst of times," he said, "Right after coming back (from Overseas Immersion Programme in Glasgow), we immediately began our IWSP before the COVID-19 pandemic started."
Wei Ming did his IWSP at Beca Carter, an independent advisory, design, and engineering consultancy. In his eight months there, he assisted engineers through addition and alteration works, where he learnt how to do manual designs of buildings, columns, structures, individual structure elements, and used software to analyse structures. He thoroughly enjoyed his work there, and collaborated with Beca Carter for his Capstone Project on the behaviour of load distribution in large pile groups, for which he obtained an A- grade.
Today, Wei Ming finds fulfilment in his work as a Civil Structure Engineer, where his day-to-day role includes building structural checking and accreditation.
"I get to do what I love in the CVE arena," said the retired Vice-Captain of the SIT Ultimate Frisbee Team. "Looking back, I'm so glad I chose the CVE programme. It was tough at times, with the gruelling curriculum (and online learning in the last trimester), but it also allowed me to deepen my skill sets from polytechnic to be able to embark on a career in my field of interest. Moreover, I got to pick up other skills, including juggling multiple projects at the same time. I can't wait for what's next!"
Alicia and Wei Ming are part of the 48 pioneer graduates from the SIT-University of Glasgow CVE degree programme, representing the university's first cohort equipped with the deep specialised skills in CVE. Stay tuned for even more inspirational stories from the Class of 2020.