Driven to help his schoolmates overcome the hurdles of settling into university life, Chan Jie Ke received the ‘SITizen-DNA Award: Catalysts for Transformation’ at the Student Leaders Appreciation Night 2023.
Chan Jie Ke’s dedication to helping the SIT student community has borne much fruit. At the Student Leaders Appreciation Night 2023, the Year 2 Mechanical Engineering (ME) undergraduate was one of 16 award recipients recognised for their leadership and service to SIT.
The SITizen-DNA Award recognises students who personify these four traits: ‘Thinking Tinkerers’, ‘Able to Learn, Unlearn and Relearn’, ‘Catalysts for Transformation’, and ‘Grounded in the Community’. Jie Ke’s accolade – ‘Catalysts for Transformation’ – was a credit to his efforts in creating new channels to access more learning opportunities for the student community.
The Bridge Between Students and Teachers
Jie Ke thrives on being the voice of his cohort. During his first year in SIT, Jie Ke came forward with suggestions to help his coursemates cope with the rigour of university education. Being proactive in nature, it wasn’t long before his Programme Leader nominated him as the Year 1 representative of the Mechanical Engineering Student Management Committee (SMC). He helped gather feedback from students on the learning challenges they faced, and conveyed these concerns to faculty members and corporate staff.
Jie Ke also reminisced about a time when many students had performed poorly in an online test. As the assessment was highly dependent on hardware, students with less efficient computers at home faced difficulty completing their assessments on time.
“I sent an email explaining the situation and provided suggestions on what could be done. We ended up getting a retest, which the cohort performed much better in,” shared Jie Ke.
While it feels good to be part of making positive change, Jie Ke shares that his role as a representative for his cohort was not without its fair share of challenges. He admitted, “For example, when an issue arises, I have to be discerning towards the challenges they faced. Sometimes, I must explain to them why certain things are the way they are, and the limitations I face that they may not realise.”
“I also have to be tactful when communicating with the professors. I must be firm and clear in getting my points across in a polite and non-demanding way. Fortunately, faculty members have been very open and approachable; but, it takes a lot of empathy to put myself in the shoes of both students and professors.”
Worth the Sacrifice
Now in his second year, Jie Ke has taken on the role as Vice-President, Academic (VPA) of the ME SMC. This role sees him being more involved in matters directly relating to the course curriculum, while also being overall in charge of the other year representatives.
These tasks, unsurprisingly, take up a significant portion of Jie Ke’s time. “I have to manage my time properly and make certain sacrifices, such as having less free time and sleep,” shared Jie Ke. This also means dedicating less time to his favourite pastimes, such as dancing, cycling and playing the piano.
Still, he has no regrets. “I will take action if I know something within my control can be changed or improved upon. Being in an environment where professors give us space to propose ideas and raise concerns motivates me to be proactive and outspoken, knowing that whatever I share is not for naught.” The 24-year-old credits SIT for offering various channels for students to express themselves, remarking that “professors are more than willing to engage in conversations with students”.
Jie Ke also recognises that his experiences as a cohort representative and VPA have taught him valuable things that will benefit him in the working world. With a soft spot for tinkering, he aspires to land a career in automation, sustainability or technologies that can make a difference to the world.
“These leadership experiences have increased my confidence in working with people and managing conflict, as well as made me more persuasive and diplomatic. These skills will be useful as I interact with different stakeholders and undertake additional responsibilities.”
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