Meet the Four 2014 Microsoft YouthSpark Scholars | SPD - Singapore
Meet the Four 2014 Microsoft YouthSpark Scholars
Meet the four inspiring young Singaporeans with disabilities who displayed courage and passion for higher learning to be awarded the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship on 26 September.
Neilson Cheong, 23
Neilson was diagnosed with a functionally dead left ear when he was seven. Nevertheless, his outgoing and friendly disposition propelled him to various leadership positions in the clubs he joined in Secondary School and Polytechnic. He had an internship stint at TP-IBM IT Service Management Centre and was responsible for troubleshooting issues relating to hardware and software applications. Tapping on his IT expertise, Neilson volunteered for the inaugural Youth Olympic Games that was held in Singapore in 2010, where he provided help desk service and helped to troubleshoot issues relating to hardware. With a strong interest in information technology, Neilson is now in his first year at the Singapore Institute of Technology and is pursuing a degree in Computing Science. Nielson hopes to be an IT lecturer in future.
Carmen Kok, 23
In 2008, Carmen was diagnosed with Neurofibromatosis II, a disorder that disturbs cell growth in her nervous system, causing tumors to form on nerve tissues. The 23-year-old now relies on a wheelchair to get around following complications from an operation that led to a spinal cord injury. Physically and emotionally drained by the regular therapy sessions and her disability, Carmen recently picked up renewed courage to pursue higher education at Nanyang Polytechnic in Business Enterprise IT following years of rehabilitation and strong support from her family.
“Being a Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship recipient has given me great encouragement and confidence. I hope to do well in my studies and inspire others not to give up pursuing excellence despite their disabilities,” said Carmen.
Lee Yan Xin, 19
Born with hearing impairments, Yan Xin wears a hearing aid on her left ear, and has a cochlear implant in her right ear since she was three. Yan Xin picked up lip-reading to help in her studies as well as to communicate with others. She adopts a serious attitude towards learning and is always attentive in class. Yan Xin was also highly active in co-curricular activities in school. She was a member of the school’s Digital Media Club where she did well individually and as a team in numerous competitions such as the National School Photo competition in 2009, NPark’s BiodiverCity competition in 2010 and Nokia’s Mobile Animation Challenge in 2010 and 2011. Yan Xin is now a second-year Computer Engineering student at Temasek Polytechnic and aspires to be a software programmer or developer after graduation.
William Tay, 22
William lost his hearing to illness at the age of four. Due to his hearing disability, William worked doubly hard in school and graduated from ITE College Central last year with a perfect GPA score, in addition to winning the Rotary-ITE Student Excellence Awards. William was lauded by Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong’s National Day Rally Speech in August for showing resolve, strength and character in overcoming challenges.
“It is a great honour for me to be one of the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship recipients. I am thankful for Microsoft Singapore’s faith in me and I hope this signifies a big step forward toward realising my dream of becoming an infocomm security professional in the field of IT after graduation,” said the first-year Infocomm Security Management student at Singapore Polytechnic.
Launched in 2009, the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship was incorporated to nurture and develop promising local youths with disabilities to achieve their full potential. Each year, the Scholarship selects four recipients, providing them with annual funding for IT-related diplomas or degree courses offered by local polytechnics and universities.
Ms Jessica Tan, Managing Director of Microsoft Singapore, who introduced the scholarship recipients and handed them the award said: “We congratulate these four remarkable Scholarship recipients, and wish them the very best in achieving success in their respective fields. We hope that the Microsoft YouthSpark Scholarship will continue to inspire young Singaporeans to imagine and strive to fulfill their greatest potential in the years to come.”