Admissions Blog

By Kenneth Chin, Class of 2016

In medical school, time is a premium. In spite of the rigorous curriculum, it is still important to maintain a balanced life – the motto is to work hard and play hard.

In the spirit of inducing “play” in our lives, the Class of 2016 Dragon Boat team started in January 2013 and has since grown in numbers – close to a 20 member team! We are a multinational team with an equal mix of male and female members. On Saturday afternoons we embark on 2 hour training regime at the Kallang Basin area. These training sessions are beneficial as we get to enjoy the sun and keep fit. Furthermore, we enjoy a good view of the beautiful scenery of the city’s skyline and Marina Barrage from our training area - this keep us going when the training gets tough!

So, why Dragon Boat racing as a class sport?

Firstly, as healthcare advocates, keeping fit and staying healthy ourselves is of paramount importance. With a healthy body comes a healthy mind. More importantly for students like us, regular exercise refreshes, renews, and keeps the mind sharp.

By Tan Shih Jia, Janice , Class of 2016

World Autism Awareness Day falls on April 2. Every year since 2008, autism organizations around the globe has marked this day to celebrate and be involved in helping to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorders.

This occasion was first celebrated in Singapore in 2011 through the initiative of students from Benjamin Sheares College, in collaboration with the different autism centers. Marked by resounding success, the event was held again the following year. This year, for the first time, we held it as World Autism Awareness Week (WAAW) which lasted from 2nd to 8th April! Working closely with our distinguished partners from Autism Association Singapore (AAS), Autism Resource Center, Singapore (ARC), Saint Andrew’s Autism Centre and Rainbow center, we celebrated this year by holding a roadshow at ION Orchard on the 5th April, followed by seminar series at Pathlight School the following day.

By Eric Cher, Class of 2014

Every year, a group of Duke-NUS students opt to do their 3rd year research here in Duke. Coming from an academically and culturally diverse background, we hope to share our Singapore experience to the community here in Durham, NC.

Duke-NUS Durham community service was set up to oversee all community service activities undertaken by Duke-NUS students in Durham. Reaching out to the local community and helping our students gain a better understanding into global healthcare challenges are two primary objectives of the committee. Through a series of community service events organized by the group, we hope to empower all students with the necessary knowledge and experience that will enhance their medical education and beyond.

By Padmastuti Akella, Class of 2013

My name is Padmastuti Akella. Friends call me Stuti. I was born and raised in different states of India. At the age of 14, I immigrated to the United States to complete my high school and my undergraduate studies at University of Connecticut. I worked as a research assistant for a year conducting stroke research in a neuroscience lab during which was when I seriously started thinking about a medical career with a research component. 

I applied to Duke-NUS for several reasons. I was impressed with Duke-NUS, which emulated the Duke University SOM’s curriculum and team learning methods of instruction at the school. Duke-NUS is situated in Singapore, which is one of the world’s fastest growing economies with a huge commitment to scientific research and medical education. It is conveniently a stone’s throw away from some of Asia’s technologically developing world economies like India, China and Japan. I personally have a large part of my family in India and being so close to my home country played a huge part in my decision making process. 

To elaborate on all my experiences in medical school and Singapore, I have chosen to divide it by the four years in medical school. 

By Lee Man Xin, Class of 2016

Q: Introduce your name, course of study and what you did in your undergraduate studies.

A: Hey there! My name is Lee Man Xin and I am a first year medical student here at Duke-NUS’s MD program. I graduated with a B.Sc. in Biomedical Science from Nayang Technological University, here in Singapore.

Q: What inspired you to embark on a career in medicine?

A: Medicine has always been a part of my life. My mother works as a nurse and she has been an inspiring figure – it is hard not to when as a child you witness her helping strangers in need. My clinical attachment and translational research experience at the Singapore Eye Research Institute (SERI) further cemented by decision and before long I sat for the MCAT and here I am.

During my third year undergrad I had the opportunity to work with Dr Louis Tong and his team at SERI and that cemented my interest in medicine as a career.

By Willcyn Tang, Class of 2016

Q: Introduce your name, course of study and what you did in your undergraduate studies.

A: Hello, I am Willcyn from the Duke-NUS PhD class of 2016.

I spent my undergraduate years studying biological sciences at Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore. During this period, I joined one of the research labs in NTU that studies the mechanisms of neurodegenerative diseases using fruit fly as a model organism. From this research exposure, I learnt how knowledge on experimental-based sciences, especially genetics and molecular biology, could be applied to improve current therapeutic approaches against incurable diseases that debilitate our society. This experience, indeed, provokes my interest to embark on a career in biomedical research.

Q: Tell us what your passion in research is and how you made the decision to pursue a PhD?

By Edwin Yang, Class of 2016

In the blink of an eye, we have survived one semester as medical students in Duke-NUS. Being a first year here is certainly a humbling, eye-opening but yet immensely rewarding experience.

I have always enjoyed challenging myself and I have always thought of myself as someone who was tenacious and persistent. This “tenacity” was soon to be put to the test.

By Ku Chee Wai, Class of 2013

As a final year Duke-NUS medical student, how have you grown in the past 4 years?

A lot more white hair now for sure! Well fortunately for me my perception of the profession has not changed. We put in long hours and hard work, we strive to do our best for our patients and we hope to get them healthy enough to be discharged back home into the community. I have witnessed the choices, priorities and sacrifices it takes to be a doctor. I have also met many role models whom I wish to emulate when I become a senior doctor in many years to come. Being faced with a critically ill patient was a real challenge. The emotional roller coaster that the families go through and how the choice of words we say can make things better or worst adds to the challenge. I still remember I was rather distraught when my first patient passed on. It was a young child in a road traffic accident and that made it particularly difficult.

By Caroline Chia, Class of 2016

Contributed by Alfred Wong, Class of 2016

Enjoy Life...Today

“The purpose of art is not the release of a momentary ejection of adrenaline but is, rather, the gradual, lifelong construction of a state of wonder and serenity.” -Glenn Gould

The most important piece of advice came from an unexpected mentor during a summer preparing for my MCAT; a practicing physician Dr. Meng was at the time doing his qualifying examinations for radiology having switched from primary practice. The set of students left in summertime in London, Ontario are taking summer studies or they are professional students still doing exams. And of this subset of professional students, many a medical student can be found camped all hours at the large rectangular table with the view at Starbucks. Do not ask me why; it just happens this way.

On University Campus: London Ontario