5 May 2017: Graduates from Yale-NUS’ first class receive fellowships

By Valerie Yeo | Images as credited

Tara Dear and Ling Xi Min are amongst graduating students who will be taking up prestigious fellowship offers. Image by Aleithia Low

As the pioneer batch of Yale-NUS students consider various post-graduation options, some of them will be taking up prestigious fellowship offers from organisations around the world after graduating in May 2017. Isa Ho, Tara Dear and Ling Xi Min (all from the Class of 2017) are some of these recent fellowship recipients.

Isa has been accepted as a NYU Shanghai Writing and Speaking Fellow. A peer tutor with the Yale-NUS Writers’ Centre, Isa held one-on-one consultations for her peers during her undergraduate days and found the experience to be extremely enriching. For this fellowship, Isa will be working in the NYU Shanghai Academic Resource Centre, where she will be providing academic support for students. Fellows conduct one-on-one writing consultations and deliver workshops that help students improve academic skills in close reading, public speaking and time management etc. In addition, she will be involved in organising workshops, events and Institutional Enrichment Projects which enable Fellows to work with other departments to fulfil a need of the university while matching their interests and skills.

Isa (fourth from left), with her team at the Yale-NUS Writers’ Centre. Image provided by Isa Ho.

“My experience working with the Yale-NUS Writers’ Centre was very influential in my decision to apply; in just a semester of holding one-on-one consultations, I have learned so much about teaching and greatly refined my own writing pedagogy. NYU Shanghai has so many similarities to Yale-NUS as a new liberal arts institution, but its origins and context also mean that there are a great many differences I would like to explore,” shared Isa.

The fellowship also involves a chance to work on an extended creative or academic project. Isa, who is planning to work on a novel, remarked that a benefit of this ten-month fellowship is having the time to explore and figure out what her aspirations are going forward while simultaneously gaining valuable work experience.

Tara will be working in a social enterprise, Proximity Designs, in Myanmar for one year as a Princeton in Asia (PiA) Fellow. PiA is the oldest and largest organisation of its kind, offering fellowships and internships with Asian host organisations in areas such as education, public health, environmental sustainability and economic development. While Tara will be based in Yangon, she will be travelling throughout Myanmar to provide professional development in English language to the rural-based staff of this social enterprise which offers affordable, innovative technology to improve rural farmers’ agricultural practice, such as solar lamps or water pumps powered by foot.

“Initially, I had my heart set on a teaching post in Kathmandu, but PiA specialises in pushing its Fellows outside their comfort zones. I’ve started reading up about the country and with every page of research, become more intrigued by Myanmar’s unique and turbulent development. I’m particularly excited by the diversity of experience on offer: travel to the rural parts of Myanmar still requires an ox-drawn cart at times, to see life outside the more cosmopolitan, accessible capital, and try out farming firsthand,” said Tara.

Xi Min is keen to build on his Yale-NUS experience where he had the opportunity to participate in Japan-related activities and academic interests such as a Learning Across Boundaries (LAB) in Kyoto for a week-long intensive study of Japanese Buddhist philosophy, society and culture. Xi Min has been accepted into the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme, and he will be working as an Assistant Language Teacher, teaching English and promoting international exchange alongside Japanese teachers in the public schools. Xi Min intends to pursue a career in academia and believes that the JET programme would enable him to gain some teaching experience while improving his grasp of the Japanese language, and understanding of the Japanese work environment and society as a whole.

A History major, Xi Min is grateful for the resources and opportunities that the College made available, including the close guidance and mentorship from the faculty and staff. He added, “By gradually deepening my knowledge about my field and areas of interest, my Yale-NUS experience has really allowed me to grow as an individual, to be resilient and well-prepared for the future, particularly for a possible academic career.”

The Yale-NUS Centre for International & Professional Experience (CIPE) works with every student to craft an individualised portfolio of learning opportunities. For these fellowship applicants, the CIPE advisors worked closely with the students to identify their priorities, prepare their applications and practise for the interview rounds. Charlotte Evans, Programme Manager (Leadership and Global Citizenship), who has been advising Yale-NUS students on fellowship matters said, “Our liberal arts curriculum allows our students to thrive in the complexities of cross-cultural exchange. By participating in these unique experiential fellowship programmes, Yale-NUS students have the opportunity to implement positive social change while creating intellectual connections in these new communities.”