Written by Serena Quay | Image by Aleithia Low
The Lee Foundation has been making a difference for over 60 years and is known for its dedication to spurring progress in education and culture. It was founded by Tan Sri Dato’ Dr Lee Kong Chian, a well-known businessman and philanthropist. Two Yale-NUS students are amongst those whose lives have been changed by their generosity. They shared with Serena Quay (Class of 2019) how they are motivated by the Lee Foundation Scholarship to continue flourishing in new environments.
Regina Marie Lee (Class of 2018, left in photo) from Singapore and Rim Bettaieb (Class of 2019) from Tunisia are the inaugural recipients of the Lee Foundation Scholarship at Yale-NUS. The scholarship has gone a long way in opening up opportunities for the two students who both intend to major in Politics, Philosophy and Economics.
In her two years at the College, Regina has served as Managing Editor of the student-run publication – The Octant, and as a cashier and cook at Saga College’s buttery, The Shiok Shack, whipping up burgers, Indomee and other popular supper fare. Both experiences spurred her interest in contributing to the College community in multiple ways.
“Ultimately, I believe everyone is here not just to gain an educational experience but to contribute to the building of the institution and its culture as well,” shares Regina, explaining how she is excited by the possibilities in building a community that is unique to the College.
Recently elected to the Yale-NUS Student Government, Regina is the first female President to take office. For Regina, stepping up to serve in the Student Government will help to keep the momentum going for student representation in Yale-NUS.
“I think the College administration and leaders value student input in many areas, and I hope the (Student) Government will continue to build legitimacy as a representative voice for students,” she elaborates.
Rim, more endearingly known as Rima to her peers, shares the same heart and passion to serve her community. The Class of 2019 student credits Yale-NUS for expanding her view of the future and giving her incredible opportunities to explore new skills such as Latin ballroom dancing, while developing existing ones by joining a student organisation on consulting.
“Coming from a middle-class Tunisian family, my parents wouldn’t have been able to pay for my education here in Yale-NUS,” she said, highlighting that the scholarship was the sole reason she was able to study here. “The scholarship has enabled me to not only explore my interests further and develop certain skills, but also to learn about theories and possibilities I had never considered before.”
Rima will be starting Empower Education, a non-government organisation (NGO) in Tunisia that organises summer camps to prepare high school students to transit from school to the workforce by equipping them with the necessary soft skills. Though she is more than 10,000 miles away from home, Rima is still actively working on launching this programme whilst pursuing her academic interests at Yale-NUS. She has also successfully recruited other Yale-NUS students to join her in this endeavour.
In addition, she is involved in a pan-African women empowerment programme and will be supporting a women’s dialogue group at Yale-NUS. In view of her dedication to bettering her society, Rima has recently been accepted as an instructor for the Yale Young Global Scholars programme in Singapore.
She shares about her plans beyond Yale-NUS, “I am very interested in joining the consulting industry, and in working with non-profit organisations to help them make a greater impact in their environment.”
The Lee Foundation Scholarship has equipped these two ambitious young women to have a larger pool of opportunities to grow and continue refining their abilities to serve their communities. For them, this is only the beginning.