From Fresh Faces to Future Techies

06 Jul 2023

It was freshies week from 6 to 17 July 2023, where our scholars embarked on an exciting new journey – their orientation programme!

Through the programme, our DSTA scholars gained a deeper understanding of the organisation through various sharing sessions and interactive dialogues. Kicking it all off, Director (Talent Attraction and Development) Marcie Chew gave the attendees a quick glimpse into their scholarship journey by highlighting the key exciting programmes that they could look forward to, such as summer exchanges and the Global Internship Programme.


Director (Talent Attraction and Development) Marcie Chew giving the welcome address.

Our senior scholars also made an appearance, and gave insights about their experience studying in both local and overseas universities. Beyond just academic advice, they shared about their day-to-day life on campus and offered various tips on how to navigate university life.

Senior scholar, Ong Tjun Jet, who is currently studying Electrical and Computer Engineering at Carnegie Mellon University shared: “Take as many interesting classes as you can to find out what you like and know your interests. Make friends, exercise a lot and take care of your physical and mental health. Sometimes what gets you through tough university life is simply taking care of yourself.”


Senior Scholars Wong Ming Hin (left) from National University of Singapore (NUS) and Ong Tjun Jet (right) from Carnegie Mellon University shared about their university experience.

Our scholars also got the chance to meet with DSTA’s senior management over a lunch session. From there, they were able to learn more about the workings of DSTA first-hand over good food.


DSTA senior management interacting with our scholars over lunch.

Through a dialogue with Chief Executive (CE) Mervyn Tan, participants gained meaningful insights into the defence tech sector and a better understanding of the different Programme Centres (PC) in DSTA. The dialogue also gave attendees a platform to discuss various topics that were of interest to them – such as sustainability in DSTA and the various opportunities available in the defence tech agencies.


CE Mervyn Tan speaking to our scholars.

No visit to DSTA is complete without a tour! Our scholars were invited to get up close with our technologists through various interactive exhibits. They got a preview of the myriad of DSTA’s innovative work and projects, ranging from software development to cybersecurity and many more. To round off the tour, they also visited our various collaborative spaces such as our innovation lab and Digital Factory.


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Our scholars got the chance to view various exhibits (top row), and visited the Digital Factory (bottom row).

Besides the tour of DSTA, our scholars were the pioneer batch to visit the Multi-Mission Range Complex (MMRC) during the Orientation Programme to further enhance their understanding of the work we do in DSTA. At the MMRC, they learned how it leverages advanced technology to help SAF soldiers hone their shooting competencies and enable realistic training of soldiers’ judgment in different operating scenarios. They also got the chance to observe a live-firing shoot and walk-through the range with our range design engineers.

Russell Luo, who will be studying Data Theory at the University of California, Los Angeles said: “One of my favourite segments of the programme was the visit to the MMRC. We gained insights into the many considerations taken when bringing the project together, and on DSTA’s role in meeting the operational demands of the military within the constraints of land and manpower. It showed how much thought the engineers had put in to deliver a quality and advanced capability.”

Lee Hai Hui who will be studying Computer Science at NUS shared: “Having a better glimpse into the inner workings of the defence technology industry helped reinforce the importance of science and technology in relation to national security. This ultimately strengthened my resolve to play a part in national defence.”

More than just dialogues and visits, our scholars also fuelled their creativity and engaged in interactive and fun activities, such as a culinary workshop and an art therapy session.

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Our scholars at a culinary workshop (top row) and art therapy session (bottom row).

These workshops helped them build a well-rounded skillset, and reminded them of the importance of life beyond just academia.

To help strengthen bonds and build friendships amongst each other, the attendees also participated in various team building activities such as laser tag and kayaking.

Splitting into various random teams, they participated in a few rounds of friendly competition and each tried to reach the top of the leader board. Ultimately, who won did not matter as it was the cherished experiences that they took away.

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Our scholars engaged in a friendly competition of laser tag.

Keith Tan who will be studying Electronics and Electrical Engineering at the University of Edinburgh said: “My favourite segment of the Scholar’s Orientation Programme was the laser tag. It gave me the chance to interact with my fellow scholars in a fun yet competitive setting. I witnessed how each of us worked under pressure and learnt to communicate with one another in a tense setting. After each activity, we came out with a better understanding of each other and had grown closer as a cohort.”


Our scholars after a kayaking session.

On what motivated him to take up the DSTA Scholarship, Russell shared: “The defence sector is a rapidly evolving one, and I find the opportunities and potential it has to be very exciting! I wish to play a part in keeping Singapore at the forefront of such developments and contribute to keeping Singapore’s secret edge. This is what motivated me to take up the Scholarship.”

Keen to be part of the action and pursue your passion in science and technology? Apply for the DSTA Scholarship here!