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Be A Guardian: Engineering a Fresh Start
A nine-week internship with MHA gave Lydia He a taste of the possibilities of Science and Technology in the Home Team.

The Be A Guardian series turns the spotlight on exciting career, scholarship and sponsorship opportunities in the Home Team.

As the first Public Service Commission (PSC) Scholarship (Engineering) recipient with the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA), Lydia He is among a new cohort of talent who are embracing the possibilities of applying Science and Technology in the Home Team. Currently completing an internship with MHA’s Ops-Tech Group (OTG), she shares what she has learnt so far.

Lydia He PSC Engineering MHA 01
PHOTO: Home Team News

Hi Lydia, tell us a little about yourself.
I’m from Hwa Chong Institution, and I studied Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics, Chinese and China Studies. My dad’s an engineer and my mum is a freelance tuition teacher, for Chinese and Mathematics. I’m the youngest of three girls in the family; my eldest sister is currently working with the Singapore Prison Service, and my second sister is an undergrad. 

I also play the piano and guzheng, and when I’m stressed, I go running. ☺ 

Why did you choose MHA as the parent-agency for your PSC scholarship? 
My eldest sister worked at Police Headquarters for several years and she shared with me that although the work was demanding, it was very fulfilling. I wanted to be at a place that was fulfilling as well. The Home Team is the first responder when it comes to matters of safety and security, and I really feel that its work is exciting and relevant to our lives. That’s why, when I came to MHA for my scholarship interview, I expressed my interest in homefront security.

Tell us about your internship experience with OTG. 
OTG helps to coordinate and enhance ops-tech efforts across the Home Team. I’ll be interning here for about nine weeks. 

The OTG team is involved in many different technology- and Engineering-related projects, and it’s amazing to learn about the work that goes into them. My colleagues often share with me about their long-term projects; initiatives that are currently being trialled. 

I’ve also had the opportunity to go on tech demos and visit places like the Police Operations Centre and Woodlands Checkpoint, to see our technologies in use. 

Lydia He PSC Engineering MHA 02
Getting a head-start: Supporting Lydia through her nine-week internship was her supervisor, Ms Shirley Chow, Deputy Director (Mobility & Sensor System), OTG. PHOTO: Home Team News

What’s your biggest takeaway from your internship? 
I have a better appreciation of how much thought goes into every piece of technology, for example, in robotics and unmanned vehicles. 

There’s always a disjoint between operational requirements and technical capabilities; some problems may seem like they only require a small adjustment, but in actual fact, may require a lot of changes. So I have a better understanding now of what it takes to have good operational and technological integration. 

The highlight of my internship was a visit to the National Day Parade Operations Centre, on National Day. I got there at 2pm and there was a lot of excitement in the air. The officers had worked very hard and it was cool to see the amount of effort that went into securing the Parade! 

I also learnt about the Science and Technology aspects of the Parade as well; at one station, we reviewed video footage from a patrol robot that had been deployed on the ground. 

What will you be doing after your internship? 
I’ll be leaving for Imperial College London in end-September to study Computing. I’ve had a long break since I finished school and I look forward to going back to my studies. ☺

Lydia He PSC Engineering MHA 03
Engineering immersion: During her internship, Lydia got a taste of how Science and Technology are applied in a range of projects across the Home Team. PHOTOS: Home Team News

A Career in the Home Team
If you’re keen to learn more about becoming a Home Team Guardian, visit the MHA website.

  1. by Mike Tan
  2. 13 September 2018
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