Meet SITizen Darren Loo from the Air Transport Management degree programme.
Two world maps hang on the walls in Darren Loo’s room. One serves a decorative purpose, while the other is used to keep track of which countries the intrepid traveller has visited. At a glance, one can see that he has been to many places in Asia.
It is little wonder that he has a huge passion for the industry that has given him priceless opportunities to discover new places and cultures. Darren said, “Working at the airport is a very exciting experience – I look out of my office window and I can see planes taking off and landing. And I really wanted to make my studies worthwhile – by pursuing my passion.”
Being able to make a difference in the air transport industry would be a dream come true for Darren. And the Singapore Institute of Technology (SIT) is helping him take this passion to greater heights.
The university’s extensive partnerships with industry players and specific focus on applied learning have given this second-year Air Transport Management (ATM) student the perfect platform to do so.
Tapping Real-World Knowledge
One particularly enjoyable aspect of his programme is being able to learn from both faculty members and the best in the industry. The ‘Professor for a Day’ component in most modules invites industry experts and leaders to give talks and conduct classes for students.
For instance, undergraduates in an Airline Business Fundamentals class once enjoyed a two-hour dialogue with a senior executive from Jetstar Asia. “Such dialogues are very refreshing because we get to interact with professionals and gain invaluable industry insights,” said Darren.
Industry stakeholders not only impart extensive real-world knowledge, but also help assuage students’ fears regarding job prospects in a sector that has been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The engagements helped clear our doubts. We have been given a lot of support, thanks to SIT,” said Darren, who hopes to be involved in air transport policies and regulations planning upon graduation.
Outside of the lecture hall, he serves as vice-president of the ATM Student Management Committee. The group’s key aim, he shared, is to raise the profile of the relatively new programme.
Besides raising awareness, he also wants to elevate SIT’s visibility through his role as a SITizen ambassador. As a member of the alumni mentoring programme’s organising committee, he helps to co-create mentoring events and facilitate networking sessions between students and alumni. It is something he hopes to continue doing even after he graduates.
“In the past two years, I’ve developed a sense of belonging and identity as a SITizen,” he said. “It is something I’m quite proud to be.”
Honing the Spirit of Giving
His spirit of active participation and volunteerism is not just confined to the campus alone. Darren is also heavily involved in volunteer work within his neighbourhood, where he can often be found visiting families in need and distributing food rations.
His interest in giving back to the community grew after his father suffered a stroke in 2017. Many came to his aid. “When I really needed a helping hand, the community was there. This is something that I will be eternally grateful for,” he said.
While his father has made a full recovery since, the difficult episode was also a key reason why he decided to venture into his passion for the aviation industry. “It has reaffirmed my belief to pursue things that spark joy. It’s important to ensure that what you do counts and is meaningful.”
Darren also aspires to become a grassroots leader after graduation, serving the community and bringing the kampong spirit to his neighbourhood.
Unsurprisingly, the SITizen-DNA ‘Grounded in the Community’ resonates best with him. “Growing the community and making it stronger is something that I care about,” he said.