School of Life Sciences & Chemical Technology
Other awards:PUB Gold Medal & Prize Diploma with Merit Environmental Engineering Society of Singapore (EESS) Prize Sembcorp Prize
The first day of Chinese New Year is an auspicious one for most people. But for Yao YuPeng, it means more than that. On that day in a particular year, a chance encounter stirred the heart of this Environmental & Water Technology graduate to want to do something for the society.
“I saw an old man begging for money at the MRT station during Chinese New Year. It was very sad that he was all alone during this happy occasion, with no money or family,” he reflected.
YuPeng has since resolved to make an impact on the lives of others. He did, indeed. One day, while returning home from school, he came across an elderly man who sustained an injury from a fall down the escalator. Putting his first aid skills into practice, YuPeng managed to stop the man’s bleeding. He also persuaded the latter to seek treatment at the hospital, and promised to visit him daily.
“I felt the need to be there, as he had no friends nor family around,” said YuPeng. “I visited him every day during his three-week hospitalisation, got his handphone repaired and bought him reading glasses so that he could see better. I was happy to see him recover eventually and find himself a new job.”
YuPeng’s efforts to help others did not stop there. In his capacity as the President of Ngee Ann Polytechnic’s (NP) FoodAID Club, he continued his mission to help the less fortunate. Coming from a not-well-to-do family himself, YuPeng found it meaningful to distribute food and goodie bags to the needy.
His kind heart and good deeds were recognised when NP presented him with the Student Excellence Award (Character category). That aside, YuPeng also excelled academically, winning the IES SG50 Golden Jubilee Scholarship which was awarded by The Institution of Engineers, Singapore, to only 50 students across local universities and polytechnics. He and a team of NP students also came in second in the National Science Experiment Big Data Challenge for their competency in data analytics.
These achievements are no small feat, considering YuPeng’s academic struggles in secondary school. His family faced financial difficulties and he skipped classes to work part-time. “I was bottom of my class throughout secondary school and was addicted to gaming,” he said. “This impacted my O-Level results. When I saw how disappointed my parents were, I resolved to straighten out my life and set a good example for my two younger brothers.”
Having come a long way, YuPeng hopes to return to NP to teach as a way to give back. “It is my desire to be a lecturer after gaining some years of industry experience. I hope to transform the lives of youths, just as mine has been changed for the better,” he said.