A cornerstone to Singapore’s security and defence, the Defence Technology Community plays a vital role in developing resilient defence capabilities for the Ministry of Defence. The Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) and the DSO National Laboratories (DSO) are part of this strong community of talented engineers and scientists who develop ground-breaking technologies, build robust systems and provide solutions to meet our nation’s defence needs.
DSTA scholars Lo Man Ling and Leow Hua Sheng share with us their scholarship journey, as well as their exciting and meaningful careers as defence technologists.
While exploring scholarship options, what made the DSTA Scholarship stand out?
Lo Man Ling: It was during a visit to the Asian Aerospace exhibition with my parents in 2004 that piqued my interest in defence science and technology. I remember being fascinated by the cutting-edge technologies behind the various military aircraft on display, and how such technologies play a critical role in defence. Coupled with my deep-rooted interest in engineering since young, I was inspired to pursue a career where I could work on such technologies for Singapore’s defence.
While researching on suitable scholarships, the DSTA Scholarship stood out as the perfect opportunity to pursue an engineering career while contributing to the defence and security of the nation. In fact, the DSTA Scholarship was such an excellent match that it was the only scholarship I applied for.
Lo Man Ling
Project Lead, Advanced Systems Programme Centre, DSTA
Leow Hua Sheng: I was attracted to a few scholarships but the DSTA Scholarship stood out as it offered me the rare opportunity to be a part of Singapore’s defence and fulfil my aspirations of being a researcher. My passion for defence research bloomed during the DSTA Scholarship Tea Session. The various defence exhibitions on display which included Unmanned Aerial Vehicles and Autonomous Underwater Vehicles left me in awe, and cemented my decision to take up the DSTA Scholarship.
Share with us your experience as an undergraduate intern.
Man Ling: I was attached to DSTA’s C4I Development Programme Centre for my undergraduate internship. During this time, I worked on building a database of antennas and creating 3D models for wireless communications. It was an extremely fruitful experience as it helped me gain a deeper understanding of DSTA as an organisation and its work. These insights enabled me to make better informed choices that would aid my professional development, and in choosing modules for my course when I returned to school.
Hua Sheng: My undergraduate internship at DSO opened my eyes to the complexity and skill sets needed to excel in my field of work. During my internship at DSO, I was tasked to code a Parallel Discrete Event Simulator. I recall struggling with the coding as it was more complex than what I had been taught or exposed to in school. Thankfully, I was lucky enough to have the pleasure of working with knowledgeable and patient mentors. Through this internship, I have experienced the nature of DSO’s work first hand, and it helped ease my transition from school to the working world.
Tell us about your current roles and responsibilities at work.
Man Ling: As a Project Lead at DSTA’s Advanced Systems Programme Centre, I lead a team of engineers and subject matter experts to enhance the Republic of Singapore Navy’s (RSN) coastal electro-optical (EO) surveillance system. EO sensor systems provide videos and images to alert the RSN of any potentially hostile targets or activities in the area of operation. My work involves studying new developments and managing the acquisition of EO technologies. I work closely with RSN partners to conduct test and trials to ensure the smooth running and timely delivery of capabilities to meet the RSN’s requirements.
Hua Sheng: At DSO, we research and design advanced technologies to improve the combat capabilities of the Singapore Armed Forces. I am an algorithm developer and part of a team which solves uniquely challenging radar problems. It has been a very challenging experience thus far. There are occasions where algorithms do not behave the way they are expected to and solutions can take days to be found. Thankfully, I have a very supportive and strong team that works well together to overcome these challenges.
Leow Hua Sheng
Defence Research Engineer, DSO National Laboratories
What unique opportunities can aspiring DSTA Scholars look forward to?
Man Ling: As a DSTA scholar you will have opportunities to meet, work with and learn from leading engineers in both the local and global defence industry. In addition, you will also gain exposure to cutting-edge technologies and large-scale engineering projects.
You can also look forward to developing and growing your professional careers with DSTA’s systematic Personalised Development Career Plan. Taking into consideration one’s aspirations and competencies as well as the organisation’s goals and requirements, this plan empowers individuals, together with their supervisors, to chart a personalised career plan for themselves.
Most importantly, the work in DSTA is meaningful work as it contributes directly to the defence and security of our nation. Witnessing the capabilities and systems we deliver in action is a most rewarding experience in itself.
Hua Sheng: Aspiring DSTA scholars can look forward to an exciting internship and an even more fulfilling career, where they can make a difference to Singapore’s defence capabilities. In addition, they will also gain opportunities to work with some of Singapore’s leading engineers and scientists on intriguing projects.