Interestingly, about one third of our student population hold a Bachelor's degree in Engineering. One of our sucess stories, Dr Lim Kheng Choon, was a Mechanical Engineer in the Republic of Singapore Air Force before he joined us as a medical student at Duke-NUS. To futher spur on these group of "engineers turned medical students", an interest group MedTech has also been set up at Duke-NUS. In this blog post, we talk to Eric Cher, a current 2nd year student about his journey from engineering to medicine thus far.
Eric's Journey so far.
Dina Ho (DH): Why did you choose Duke-NUS?
Eric Cher (EC):I decided to pursue a postgraduate medical degree and Duke-NUS was certainly the choice. In particular, the small faculty-to-student ratio and the mission of training clinicians with an interest in research and innovations really caught my attention. The strong emphasis on peer learning and self-discovery at this very early stage of training will definitely prepare us for the ever-changing medical field.
DH: You were studying Biomedical Engineering before, why did you choose to study medicine?
EC: I am very interested in medical devices and how bioengineering can be viewed from a patient-centric perspective. With an engineering background, coupled with a good medical education, my future practice will certainly allow me excel in the area of design and innovation.
DH: Now that your first year is over, tell us how has first year been so far?
EC: The first year has been extremely challenging and yet fulfilling. The amount of knowledge imparted and retained by us during this period is simply amazing. One of the greatest challenges as a new medical student is learning this new medical language and how to think like a doctor. Having said that, my experience is definitely not without fun. Through the various community service activities, classes and time spent together, great friendships are forged. This fun, joy and ease around my fellow classmates, has played a critical part in creating an unique learning atmosphere.
DH: Tell us about a community service activity that you were involved in at Duke-NUS.
EC: I headed this year’s Project Karen – an overseas medical trip to Huay Kao Lip, Chiangmai, first started by a group of passionate students from the Class of 2011. Not only did we conduct basic health screening to the villagers, we also taught them basic dental hygiene and first aid. On a social level, our interaction with the villagers and children has made this trip exceptionally memorable.
In order to further promote community service and to emphasize the importance of contribution, we have also started a Facebook page called Duke-NUS Community Service to showcase some of our work and to connect like-minded people together.
As the VP of Community Service, our vision for the upcoming year will be to extend our outreach of influence and to promote a more vibrant community within Duke-NUS
DH: What significant roles did faculty members play towards your 1st year here?
EC: Faculty members here played a critical role in our development. Given our demanding course requirements, our faculties understood how important it is stay focus and move along steadily towards being a competent physician. I am particularly grateful to my College Masters as they are always there when advice is sought.
DH: What are your aspirations after 4 years at Duke-NUS?
EC: I aspire to be a good surgeon and a medical device inventor. My future practice will be motivated by an inquisitive mind, one that seeks to improve the current healthcare practice. As a doctor-engineer, I want to work towards the developments of products that are not only innovative, but practical and patient-centric.
DH: A word for future applicants of Duke-NUS?
EC: If you are thinking about applying to Duke-NUS, my advice would be to look into areas that will make you stand out among the many high achieving candidates. Besides exceling academically, prospective students need to evaluate their performances in the other aspects such as community involvement and interpersonal skills. This will be a long marathon and interested students has to be clear of what they want ultimately in life.A little bit more about Eric:
In his spare time, Eric likes moving around Singapore to try out different types of cuisines. Having spent a significant amount of the week in school, Eric takes every opportunity of such to self reflect, and more importantly, to spend quality time with those he treasures. Being very adventurous with his taste buds, he enjoys the uniqueness and culture behind every cuisine.
Eric’s favorite holiday destination is anywhere that has a rich cultural history. He has yet to fulfill his dream of travelling around the world, especially to places less ventured. Having travelled to US, Eastern Europe and around Asia, he found that the beauty behind every holiday lies in the ability to explore and understand a tradition that is different from his.
Eric graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering (Bio Engineering) from the National University of Singapore before joining us at Duke-NUS.