3 May 2019: Class of 2019 graduates pursue diverse pathways after graduation

By Daryl Yang

Image by Ashbel Chioh/Yale-NUS College. 

Upon completing his undergraduate studies this May, Daniel Lok (Class of 2019, in photo above) will be headed to Silicon Valley in the United States for a training boot camp.

The boot camp will prepare Daniel for his new job as a software engineer with Facebook’s Singapore office. A Mathematical, Computational & Statistical Sciences (MCS) major, he will be involved in building, improving and maintaining the software products that keep Facebook running.

He credits his Yale-NUS education for helping him to “think deeply about technical concepts and how to communicate these thoughts to others”. He cites the example of how Professor of Science (Computer Science) Olivier Danvy teaches his classes. “Prof Danvy is a stickler for writing narratives about our assignments. Initially I was unenthusiastic – I had never heard about writing a story about code! My idea of a computer science class was to solve problem sets and be done,” says Daniel.

Professor Danvy’s refreshing approach to teaching computer science has transformed the way Daniel views computing and helped him gain a deeper appreciation for communication skills. “Working on a large software project is necessarily a collaborative effort, so it’s super important that people understand what your code does and why,” he says.

Image provided by Rima Bettaieb.

In a liberal arts college like Yale-NUS, students have the chance to pursue their diverse interests. For some like Rima Bettaieb (Class of 2019, in photo above), graduating will not stop her from continuing to do so. The Economics major will be joining AT Kearney as a business analyst.

“To me, consulting is an extension of my liberal arts education, and that is why I chose to join this industry. It’s fast-paced with a lot of exposure to different industries and cases. Yale-NUS made me love learning, and I am excited to continue doing that in the workplace,” she says.

In her role as a business analyst, Rima will work in a team to solve business problems for leading companies in Southeast Asia and the world.

Her Yale-NUS education enabled her to figure out the role she wanted to play in the world.

“I always knew that I enjoyed solving problems, but I did not know where to start, and what skills I needed in order to succeed in this mission. My economics, philosophy, psychology and international relations classes all taught me to think differently about the world, and in that way, they helped me understand it better,” says Rima.

Adila Sayyed (in centre of photo) at the Social Enterprise fair at Yale-NUS held in March 2018. Image provided by Jessica Lim/Yale-NUS College. 

While some seniors from the Class of 2019 will be embarking on a new chapter of their lives upon graduating, Adila Sayyed (Class of 2019) will continue to work on something that she had started while at Yale-NUS College.

She will work at VERE360, an educational technology or edtech start-up that she founded along with two other Yale-NUS students two years ago.

VERE360 incorporates Virtual Reality (VR) and other immersive technologies in educational programmes and awareness campaigns to change behaviour towards social issues.

“The main idea behind the company is to harness the power of virtual reality, a technology that is believed to develop empathy, and use it for education,” says Adila. For example, one of their latest projects is to build a VR-assisted enrichment programme to educate students at a secondary school about cyber-bullying.

Adila decided to focus on expanding VERE360 into a “go-to brand for any gap in education that can be value-added with an immersive component in Southeast Asia”.

It was the belief in VERE360’s potential that led Adila to embark on this less conventional path.

“We have come far and I hope we will go further more quickly if there is someone working on it full-time now,” she says.

Image by Ashbel Chioh/Yale-NUS College.

Rachel Ooi (Class of 2019) will be headed to graduate school before she joins the National Environment Agency (NEA) in Singapore. An Environmental Studies major, she will be pursuing a Master of Environmental Management at the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.

An NEA scholar, Rachel has always been drawn to the natural environment. When she was 16 years old, she decided to dedicate her life to loving and protecting the environment and those who depend on it.

She is very grateful for the freedom to explore environmental studies from different perspectives at Yale-NUS.

“While most educational institutions tend to define the discipline along the boundaries of environmental science, policy, or geography, I’ve been able to learn about all of these, as well as environmental communication, activism, data science, systems thinking, and the synergies between these various fields,” says Rachel.

“As a result, I’ve received a lot of support in pursuing all kinds of goals. For instance, I did a research project about the relationship between elf folklore and urban conservation in Iceland.”

Something that both Rachel and Daniel will miss most about Yale-NUS after graduation is the residential experience.

As Rachel puts it, “Sometimes, we take for granted how easy it is to get to know and be vulnerable with our peers here. I will cherish hanging out with my suitemates, bumping into friends between meetings and classes, and putting work aside to check in on each other.”

The supportive environment that Rachel describes is what Adila says she will miss about the College too.

“Yale-NUS has a way of taking students from all over the world and transforming them into these supportive individuals who come together to build this inclusive and empowering community,” says Adila.