Paying it Foward
Published on 09 Mar 2018
Our graduates remain part of the NYP family even after they get their diplomas. Some continue their journey with us by coaching their juniors through competitions, CCAs or even opening employment opportunities.
In a nod to these giving individuals, NYP has launched our Alumni Contribution Awards.
Read why our recipients keep paying it foward.
On Monday and Wednesday evenings, Benjamin Ho, 32, dedicates himself to coaching NYP’s Ultimate Frisbee (UF) Club. He’s been doing this, week after week, rain or shine, for the past 14 years.
He first founded the Club as a second-year Diploma in Business Management student in 2004. After getting introduced to the sport, he felt inspired to champion it formally in NYP, by recruiting players and learning to coach the team himself.
From its humble beginnings as an activity under the Sports Club, the UF Club grew from strength to strength, attaining full-fledged CCA status four years later in 2008. Benjamin credited the strong support from staff of NYP’s Student Development Department who helped them get everything from jerseys, funding, and training space.
Since then, the Club started the Ultimate Frisbee Invitationals among tertiary institutions in 2005, and has continued its winning streak since. It is also the 8-time reigning champion in the Polytechnic-ITE (POL-ITE) Games and 7-time champion for the Inter-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Games.
For Benjamin, what started out as simply a passion for the sport soon grew into a sense of purpose, duty and responsibility towards NYP and the Club - which he affectionately calls his ‘baby’. He served pro bono as a volunteer coach after graduating when there was no one to take over - despite having to juggle his time with serving National Service, and later, with managing his further studies.
Interestingly, Benjamin revealed that he had never conducted trials or selections for new recruits. Nor had he dropped any player from his team. As long as the person is keen to play, he is always willing to teach and coach. As such, many of his members are first-time sportsmen and women.
“Talent can only give you a head start. It does not determine where you end up. Ultimately, it is hard work that will get you through,” he adds.
His personal coaching motto? “Better player, better person”.
Benjamin strives to build up the Club’s culture around the tenets of ‘integrity, friendship, passion and discipline’ and groom his players as better people on and off the field: “I was taught to serve, and would like my players to remember to serve others.”
NYP’s UF Club sets an example each time, picking up the trash and cleaning up the field after a game. Many of his players have also gone on to manage both their studies and training well, and graduate from NYP with flying colours.
Benjamin has also built up a closely-knit alumni group, who return to mentor and guide their juniors.
For his outstanding contributions, NYP is honoured to award Benjamin with one of our 11 inaugural Alumni Contribution Awards this year. With strong alumni like him, the NYP family is stronger and better.
Even though Muhammad Azri graduated from NYP about eight years ago, but one can still expect to see him in our campus at least twice a week. Reason? The dedicated alumnus comes back to NYP as a volunteer coach to mentor and train his juniors in the La Ballroom En Masse CCA, a dance group that does latin ballroom.
Azri enjoys the interaction with his juniors and there is a strong sense of camaraderie, which has now, became a treasured and meaningful part of his life. Despite his hectic work schedule as a police officer, he always makes time to coach his juniors, especially when they are training for competitions. He’s also joined them in several campus events such as Club Crawl.
Looking back, Azri who was one of the pioneers in La Ballroom En Masse CCA, shared that his family and friends were very surprised when he first joined the activity: “My loved ones felt that this is so unlike me, as I love outdoor and adventurous activities like rock climbing. However, at that point of time, I wanted to try a new hobby, and felt that ballroom dance was ‘cool and different’.”
At work, Azri often gets invited to showcase his talent in dancing at staff events. In Feb 2018, the Diploma in Electronics, Computer & Communications Engineering graduate, Azri and his partner, Kek Wei Lin, a fellow alumni of NYP, pit themselves against 40 other couples from various universities and dance schools, and they topped the Amateur Rising Star category at Aquilia – NTU Dancesport Championships, organised by the Nanyang Technological University.
In recognition of his dedication and commitment to mentor his juniors in ballroom dancing, Azri is conferred one of the 11 NYP Alumni Contribution Awards. This new award honors altruistic alumni who have contributed at an extraordinary level of dedication in various fields such as arts, culture, sports and capability development for the benefit of students, staff and NYP.
Azri shares: “NYP was where my passion for dance started. I’ve made many great friends in NYP and hope to continue to mentor more juniors in dancing. It is the most natural way of paying it forward to others who see value in what I can contribute most."
After winning medals at the WorldSkills Singapore competitions – Josh Chen and Chen Jia Yi decided they weren’t going to sit on their laurels, and instead began to coach their juniors to ace the competition.
Despite doing national service and then, university studies, the duo made the effort to come back – sometimes as often as three times a week. For their strong commitment to supporting their juniors and lecturers, they are among the winners of NYP’s inaugural Alumni Contribution Awards.
Jia Yi, who’s currently pursuing his degree in bioengineering at the Nanyang Technological University, shares: “I was surprised and inspired by how driven my juniors were in wanting to succeed. It reminded me of my own competitions, and I am happy to know that I’d made an impact in encouraging them, especially during their more challenging moments.”
Josh, too, also wanted to do his part. Presently working at Yu Sin Engineering Work Pte Ltd, he added: “I had very good coaches, and I remember how comforting and reassuring it felt to receive their support. It is just my way of giving back. And my way of supporting my ex-coaches who did so much for me.”
Thanks to this alumni, a brilliant training opportunity at a global technology giant was opened to students at NYP’s School of Engineering.
Steven Chong, 48, senior regional business development manager at Mitsubishi Electric Asia was himself an NYP student – graduating in one of the very first pioneer batches, in fact.
A chance encounter with his former Engineering lecturer allowed him to give back to his alma mater: He paved the way for a collaboration between his company and NYP, thus bringing in state-of-the-art Mitsubishi hardware, software and applications into our labs. This means that our students can get up close to the latest technologies in the market.
Says Steven: “I have always been interested in adopting robotics and automation technologies to support the manufacturing sector and I want to share this with our students. I hope to make students see that there is a dynamic and exciting career in engineering.”
Steven is one of the 11 winners of NYP’s inaugural Alumni Contribution Awards. Through dedicated alum like Steven, the NYP family grows stronger together.
Meet Alan Kuik, 39 (centre). The boss of his own IT firm, Infospace, has taken it on himself to make sure the students from NYP’s School of IT have wonderful internships and employment opportunities.
It’s his way of giving way after graduating from the School’s Diploma in Information back in 2000.
Said third-year Engineering Informatics student Syed Salman Ali (right): “I handled customers, did trouble-shooting and met clients. Mr Kuik understood that my strength was in networking and gave me related projects. I learnt how to be disciplined and work independently.”
Alan is one of the 11 winners of NYP’s inaugural Alumni Contribution Awards. Through dedicated alum like Alan, the NYP family grows stronger together.