10 Aug 2021
Over 70 DSTA staff were recognised for their contributions to the nation with the National Day Awards (NDA) on 9 August 2021. We caught up with some of our NDA recipients to find out more.
It was a typical day for Principal Engineer (Naval Systems) Sabrina Teo until she was flooded with congratulatory emails and texts – she had received the Commendation Medal.
“I am very proud and honoured to be recognised for my services to Singapore on National Day,” Sabrina said with a laugh.
Instituted in 1996, the medal recognises Singaporeans who have distinguished themselves through commendable performance and conduct, or significant efficiency, competence and devotion to duty.
Over the years, Sabrina has contributed extensively to the SAF. One of her career highlights was being part of the pioneer team that developed helicopter landing capabilities for the Navy’s ships, which has since allowed the Navy to deploy helicopters for various operations, such as search and rescue missions.
Sabrina also sees value in pushing for efficiency. For instance, she once proposed to an Original Equipment Manufacturer that instead of flying their technicians down, it would be more practical to identify and train a local company. This idea, which was eventually implemented, has helped the Navy achieve significant cost savings.
Knowing that her work helps the Navy achieve mission success gives her “immense fulfilment”. She added: “It is fulfilling to know that my work helps our serviceman operate safely to defend Singapore!”
Securing our networks
Another recipient of the Commendation Medal was Senior Development Programme Manager (Cybersecurity) Nicholas Ho.
The software developer has always been up for challenges even early on in his career when he asked for “hardcore software development” opportunities. This attitude has helped Nicholas play key roles in projects that enhanced the security of MINDEF’s and DSTA’s cyber networks, including the development of in-house cybersecurity solutions for file system encryption on endpoints, virtual private network communications for MINDEF networks, among many others. Nicholas has also led teams to develop unique solutions that detect suspicious cyber activities and protect systems against sophisticated threats.
When asked what he enjoys most about working in DSTA, Nicholas replied without hesitation: “The people! I am very passionate about software development and cybersecurity, and there are many like-minded people in DSTA. There is a sense of belonging and I have forged strong friendships with many of them.”
“More importantly, I know that they will work with me to pull through challenging times together.”
Pushing boundaries in automation
For showing efficiency, competency and devotion to his work, Senior Associate Engineer (InfoComm Infrastructure) Jason Goh received the Efficiency Medal.
Jason’s leadership was instrumental in streamlining the process of managing and maintaining MINDEF’s email system. He and his team developed scripts that automated the management of account and system logs, generated weekly reports and performed data analysis in areas such as account statistics and disk usage. This has helped to optimise manpower while ensuring greater accuracy in the data collected, enabling data analytics and insights for proactive system maintenance.
Downplaying his achievements, Jason said: “I’m just doing my job the best I can, and the medal is a bonus. I would also like to thank my colleagues who have been through thick and thin with me, and for helping me tremendously over the years.”
This is home, truly
Having dedicated 25 years of service – that’s more than half her life! – to Singapore, Head (Cybersecurity) Teo Lay Peng received the Long Service Medal.
Over the years, Lay Peng has been involved in a variety of projects, including designing and assisting in the installation of communication networks in various RSN’s ships such as the Formidable-class frigates, and contributing as a sound engineer to several National Day Parades.
Beyond the challenging projects that she gets to work on, Lay Peng also enjoys the many opportunities provided to further herself. Citing DSTA’s nurturing culture that encourages staff to keep learning, she explained that she has attended a number of courses and conferences, both local and overseas. This has helped to enhance her proficiency, and enabled her to keep abreast with tech developments and continue to stay relevant.
When asked what has kept her with DSTA for so many years, she said: “My work here is meaningful as it contributes to Singapore, and I’ve had the opportunity to be part of many exciting and unique projects over the years.”