Denyse Khor is a senior veterinarian with NParks and an NParks Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship recipient. Her work portfolio includes assisting with animal care, rehoming and rehabilitation, managing the health and welfare of animal populations in Singapore, and participating in community outreach efforts like pet health checks.
T he National Parks Board (NParks) is not just about parks, despite what its name would have you believe. It juggles multiple portfolios, including managing streetscapes, green spaces for recreation, and conservation efforts toward enhancing biodiversity within our urban ecosystem.
It follows that the NParks Scholarships offer a huge range of opportunities in various specialised skillsets.
Khor Xinhui Denyse is a senior veterinarian who has worked with NParks for four years, and recipient of the NParks Overseas Undergraduate Scholarship. Her work may not seem to be related to the parks that we all know, but is integral to the larger mission of preserving nature.
In this case, she works on the macro level, managing health and welfare of animal populations, assisting with rehoming pets and behavioural rehabilitation, and participating in community outreach efforts like pet health checks. She shared with BrightSparks more about her work.
How did you get interested in veterinary medicine?
I have always loved animals and my family had a variety of pets as I was growing up. My dream job was first to be a zookeeper, then a veterinarian, and it has not changed since. I was always interested in learning how to help animals, and I am lucky enough to have been able to pursue my passion.
How did you discover the NParks Scholarship, and why did you shortlist it?
The Agri-Food and Veterinary Authority of Singapore (AVA), as it was known then, was one of the few organisations in Singapore that offered a scholarship in veterinary medicine.
It also provided an opportunity to work with animals in the public service after graduation, an uncommon but important role of veterinarians in society. When I had the chance to apply for a scholarship that would allow me to become a veterinarian, I took it. The chance to pursue my passion without the financial burden really made the decision for me.
Denyse is dedicated to helping all animals, but her biggest love is cats. She has trained her cats to do tricks like jumping over obstacles, sitting on command, and giving high-fives. She hopes to change the general impression that cats are aloof and independent and show them for the love bugs they really are.
How did you apply what you have learnt to your current work?
My current work requires me to work on animal health and welfare at a macro level. This involves working not just with individual animals but managing the health and welfare of animal populations. It has opened my eyes to a whole new meaning of being a veterinarian.
The concepts and skills that I was taught in veterinary school are versatile, so I am able to apply them to the variety of challenging situations that I face at work.
Tell us more about your role and responsibilities as a senior veterinarian at NParks.
I help to oversee the animal facility that receives stray animals and lost pets, and I am part of the veterinary team that works on animal health and disease in Singapore. I am also involved in conservation and wildlife management operations.
You oversee a large portfolio involving many different animal programmes. What do you consider the most fulfilling part of your work?
At the animal facility, we focus on animal behaviour and how our understanding of it can improve the welfare of companion animals such as pets, and other domestic animals.
We do behavioural rehabilitation of the companion animals in our facility, which improves their chances of getting rehomed and adapting to the home environment. This is meaningful and fulfilling work to me, and perfectly aligned with my passion for helping animals.
What is the work culture at NParks?
NParks has a very inclusive and collaborative culture. Since joining NParks, I have had opportunities to work with colleagues in fields that are very different from my own.
Everyone takes pride in their work and is happy to lend me a helping hand when I need it.
What possibilities are there for scholars working at your organisation?
Veterinarians, wildlife researchers, park managers and planners – these are just some of the many possibilities for scholars in NParks!
The opportunities with NParks are very diverse and exciting.
What advice would you give to aspiring scholars looking to join NParks?
You should definitely have a passion for whatever you choose to pursue. The work is not always easy and there is a lot of it, so being passionate about what NParks does will help keep you enjoying what you do. Work is always more enjoyable when it doesn’t feel like work.