Engaging Bright Minds
23 Jun 2022

For students who wondered what it’s like to be an engineer and developer, they got to experience that and more during their visit to DSTA on 10 June 2022, as part of the Defence Technology Community (DTC) Experience Programme.

Kicking off the session with an interview reel of the late Mr Lee Kuan Yew, who noted that Singapore has to invest in security to offset her vulnerability, Deputy Chief Executive (DCE) (Information) Gayle Chan outlined the importance of tapping technology to make up for Singapore’s lack of natural resources.

She also provided students with an overview of DSTA, the work we do, and how we contribute to the wider defence arena. Most importantly, Gayle highlighted that “the organisation believes in two things: People, as without our staff, we are nothing; and information, which we highly value to stay ahead.”

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Students also got to learn about our broad scope of work and multidisciplinary field through a specially curated showcase featuring six exhibits. From legged robots and autonomous drones, to real-world applications of artificial intelligence (AI) for integrated strike operations and more, young participants gained a deeper understanding of how DSTA leverages innovative technologies across various domains such as robotics, AI and cybersecurity.

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“The exhibits were very informative and interesting, especially the robot dog and autonomous drones. I also got to see how DSTA utilises tech for various purposes, and that was very inspiring,” said Gareth Chua, a student from the National University of Singapore High School of Math and Science.

Nurdiyanah Umairah from Raffles Institution added: “It was fascinating to see the in-depth work that goes into each project because you don’t get to see them in the public domain. I also appreciated the opportunity to speak with the engineers and hear about their personal experiences.”

Parents joined their teens for the evening programme, and heard first-hand from our scholars who shared in greater detail about the role of a defence engineer in the various technical domains. They also heard about how the scholarship provides a platform for meaningful careers, and how it offers many overseas learning opportunities ranging from studies to work assignments.

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“It feels great to be able to share my experience with the next generation. At that age, it can be overwhelming to decide which scholarship, university and degree to pursue. Hopefully the perspectives from the various scholars who have been through the same journey will provide some clarity,” said Deputy Head (Command, Control and Communications Ace Projects) Ng Yun Yi.

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Yun Yi shared her experience as a DSTA scholar.

The DTC Experience Programme culminated in an engaging panel session where DCE (Operations) Roy Chan, Deputy Chief Executive Tan Yi Zhao from the Centre for Strategic Infocomm Technologies (CSIT), as well as Deputy Chief Executive Officer Desmond Lim and Director (Underwater) Tong Poh Bee from DSO National Laboratories, fielded questions ranging from work-life balance to opportunities within the DTC.

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Sharing her takeaways from the programme, Mrs Joanne Koh, parent of student participant Christopher Koh, said: “The talk was very structured, and I believe it will benefit students as they figure out their journey. I am also very impressed with the commitment of the DTC leaders and scholars.”

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Mrs Joanne Koh with her son Christopher Koh.

“It was eye-opening to see how the three agencies – DSTA, DSO and CSIT – complement one another. I am very interested to pursue a career at DSTA as I will be able to explore tech and do research – and it is not something you can do anywhere else,” added student Arshul Garg from Victoria Junior College.

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