Elysia Su & Ha Tran
Research Assistants, Academic Medicine Education Institute (AM•EI) 
Office of Education

The Insider catches up with Elysia & Ha from Duke University, here on a one year internship with the Office of Education. For starters, here are some fun facts about this duo!

Number of countries visited

Elysia: 22  Ha: 17

Favourite lunch spot 

Elysia: Muchachos  Ha: Aloha Poke 

Favourite Singlish phrase

Elysia: Siao (crazy) Ha: Bo jio (not calling someone along to an event/activity) 

Strange obsession

Elysia: Fonts  Ha: Magnets 

Morning or evening person

Elysia: Evening to late, late, late night  Ha: Evening 

(L-R) Elysia & Ha's favourite pastime - finding new places to eat around Singapore! 

1)  How did your interest in medicine begin and why Duke-NUS?

Elysia: I have always been interested in medicine, and more broadly in healthcare, which stems from a basic want to constantly help others. During my undergraduate days, I had several opportunities to explore and solidify my passion for medicine and health, including research, volunteering and clinical shadowing experiences. I wanted to come to Singapore and specifically Duke-NUS, to gain a deeper perspective as well as to experience a different healthcare setting. 

Ha: I was introduced to Duke-NUS through my professor at Duke University. Education has always been my passion and the internship opportunity at Duke-NUS was a perfect fit. The school is a pioneer in education innovation and I am delighted to be a part of it.

When I was young, my interest in medicine stemmed from a deep curiosity about the human body. Over time, I developed an interest in the individual person and their stories. As I gained more knowledge and research experiences in college, I started to understand more about diseases and how it can affect a person’s life in so many ways. The mechanisms of disease encouraged my interest in science, but it was my desire to understand people - both in sickness and health, that drove me towards medicine. 

2)  What do you do in your role?

Elysia: I’m involved in a series of exciting projects across the different Education departments. On any given day, I work on graphics and communication materials, manage the school’s Instagram, contribute to research and evaluation projects and enjoy lots of food (seriously - there’s always food in this building). At times, I work directly with students on some projects and that has been very enriching, I also get roped in to assist with student events such as Faculty Appreciation and the upcoming Graduation. These events are a great way to connect with the students. 

On a related note, Singapore is an exciting place to be in as a dynamic healthcare innovation hub. It has been an amazing experience to work on projects utilising technologies to support learning and education. 

Ha: My job scope is quite diverse and it’s exciting to see the many sides of medical education. 

Together with Elysia, we are developing a digital library of medical content for students and medical professionals. I’m also in the midst of a project to enhance education for students in Radiology, developing content to ensure student safety in the clinics and working together with the AM•EI team on programme evaluation. 

3)  When I’m not at work…

Elysia: I think the number one thing in Singapore has been eating. The first couple months here were spent trying to get a taste of all the best Singaporean foods, as well as finding the best Mexican food. And… perfecting my kopi order took eight months! We’re trying to make sure we don’t miss any classics, so please share your recommendations.

Food aside, I’m an avid photographer and simply love exploring the different neighbourhoods with my camera. Singapore is a great home base for travel and I am grateful for all the trips I have taken.

Atop a temple in Bagan. Getting the chance to travel around Southeast Asia has been amazing!

Ha: I like travelling to new places, be it exploring a different country, or wandering around the new neighbourhoods of Singapore. I’m always looking for something to eat! 

I love travelling! This was taken on a hike in Yogyakarta.

4) Laughter is the best medicine…

Elysia: Anyone who knows me knows I’m always, always laughing. Our office and especially our floor on Level 4 is the best – it has amazing people and is constantly full of laughter (and food - I’m serious). Some of the best moments have been our new tradition of making “punny” birthday cards for our team members and the days we randomly burst into song.

Ha: I am thankful for great colleagues. I love that there is always laughter in this office - and of course, tons of food as well! For me, starting a new job in a new country was a big challenge but luckily, my colleagues have been such a joy to work with. I’m just so sad to be leaving at the end of the internship.

The crazy things we get up to on Level 4…such as the spicy ramen challenge! 
The annual Office retreat! This year's retreat was held at the River Safari.
The Office of Education can cook…so can you!
It’s not every day that we get to lunch with the entire office.

5) To the Graduating Classes of 2016…

Elysia: Best of luck as you start your medical and research careers. I know you will do amazing things - everyone at Duke-NUS is excited to see you all succeed. 

Ha: Congratulations! You have worked so hard these past four years, now it’s time to celebrate!