How do you use technology/policy to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.

I am currently a Director with the Sensors Division in DSO National Laboratories. Leading a team of more than 50 multidisciplinary engineers, our work involves the need to constantly push the boundaries of science and technology to research and develop smaller, yet higher performance radar capabilities for national defence.

In one of our projects, we designed and developed an advanced radar system, the first of its kind which had multiple functionalities, while still maintaining its competitiveness in size, weight, and even efficiency and cost compared to single-function systems. This was a long, long project in the making, and was a culmination of many years of research and work, beginning with a single-function system, which everyone else could do at that time. But we managed to push ourselves to innovate something different and better, overcoming the challenges, technical and otherwise, and I think that’s why this project was so meaningful.

What was the most impactful project you worked on this year?    

I have been leading a team to develop Singapore’s first small-satellite radar demonstrator, a project that is co-funded by the Economic Development Board. It is something different personally for me – more demanding from a technical perspective, and also more pressure because of its potential for both national and commercial uses. This project is also a platform for engaging students in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, so I’m going to have a hand in grooming our next generation of techies. I’m proud to be involved!

What is one unexpected learning from 2020?

Covid-19 has affected us in more ways than one. In the area of work, we were affected by not being able to physically work together according to the planned teaming, having our system development plans thrown out of the window because component deliveries, and schedule for team activities were messed up. These were unforeseeable challenges but the team took them in their stride, we worked together (many worked much harder to make up for a smaller team and lost time), we innovated and adapted from our original plans. And I think we grew closer and stronger.

What tool or technique particularly interests you for 2021?    

The constant challenge of coming up with a smaller, better radar system is very real! I think I will see myself doing more R&D works and continue to build up our arsenal of capabilities in this area.

What are your priorities for 2021?    

2021 is a critical year for us in the small-satellite radar demonstrator development. I anticipate that we need to continue to recover from the impact of Covid-19 on the development schedule. Importantly, I hope to continue to motivate the team to the common goal of completion, and to inspire others along the way.

What advice would you give to women looking to start a career in GovTech?    

I’ve always believed in doing something you’re actually interested in. What moves you? What motivates you? Find that thing, and it will be the fuel that sustains you.

Write a message for your future self. 

It is something that I live by today and this will continue to be validated through tomorrow’s results: Take ownership of my work. Be answerable for it. And do my best, because if I don’t dedicate myself to my vision, how could I expect it of others? This is something I will continue to pursue to the best of my abilities.