Lynnette Ng studies computer science and uses her skills to help build underwater robots. If there was one thing she would change about SoC, it would be to add a pool table like this one to the student lounge. I think she should just build it with some of you. Who’s in?
Where did you grow up?
I studied in NUS High School. Surprisingly, I did not do any computing subjects nor did I touch a computer much. One day I received an email about an SoC outreach camp and decided to check it out. It introduced JC students to simple concepts like the history of computing and simple Scratch programming. So I realised computing is fun and I decided to study computer science.
Describe your experience as a SoC student.
SoC is ‘pressurizing’ fun. The modules are challenging and the projects are usually not easy. But once I start working on it, I enjoy it more. We work until late at night, sometimes overnight, but when I see the completed product, the sense of satisfaction is amazing because I’ve just made something from nothing.
Which faculty members made impressions on you?
All the faculty members are awesome in their own special way. That’s why I love SoC. During the exam period, Prof Gary Tan came to the student lounge to distribute food vouchers and play foosball with us. Prof Leong Hon Wai gives out coffee awards, so if you do well in his class, he’ll treat you to a coffee (can be exchanged for other drinks).
Prof Ben Leong is the funniest. Ben Leong’s Lonely Hearts Club solves a very real and pressing problem in SoC (and in Singapore), to help the Singapore Government meet their 6.9 million population KPI. If you need some help or advice, I’m sure he’ll be glad to help :).
What is the craziest thing that you did or that happened when you were a student here?
On Halloween (2014), Sarah Tan and I decided to do something crazy! We had the idea a few days before when the SoC page advertised a Halloween profile picture contest. Well, we needed a break from the crazy semester, and we wanted to make people happy. So us being us, we came up with the Sarah-Lynnette cause. So we borrowed paint and cardboard from the Computing Club, and painted ANDROIDS!
The next day, on Halloween, we went around SoC dressed as Android KitKat and Android Lollipop to hand out… yes, kitkats and lollipops! Although the costume was bulky and hot, we enjoyed ourselves, and we did feel very happy when we brought smiles to those who were furiously coding, and crashed a few Profs’ meetings. Best of all, we gave out almost all the kitkats and lollipops, and some people gave us sweets in return! I’m also very thankful for all our friends who supported us through painting, cutting cardboard, walking around with us, and even laughing at us and giving us those ‘face-palms’.
What do you count as your most significant achievement to date?
Winning the Google Anita Borg Scholarship. I heard about it during the Orbital Liftoff and upon my friends’ persuasion, I decided to try for it. This scholarship included a 5-day sponsored trip to Google Japan where I met many outstanding women who were studying computer science. It was the time where I really started to appreciate what I have in SoC, after I heard stories from the other women. In Singapore, I am not denied a chance for tertiary education, while some of the Indian and Vietnamese girls had to fight hard and even agree to arranged marriages to study computer science. Studying CS does not make me any less of a woman to the community, nor do any faculty or students question my ability to perform because I am a female. No doubt I do enjoy special privileges, like gentlemen will open doors for me or offer to buy me lunch, but I am thankful that unlike an Australian awardee, I do not have to work extremely hard or enforce my views to get heard. Although I always say that I won the award because I’m female, but really, I won it because I truly love computing.
What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?
My childhood dream is to build a rocket to go to space.
What do you enjoy doing when you are not studying?
I draw. I like to draw architecture and buildings. I like to draw them with a lot of details. I usually do ink drawings, but sometimes I try different mediums too. Once in a while, my friends will commission me to draw cover art for his music. Each time he does, it’s a challenge. I’ve got to listen to his music and understand how it fits into the title, then make the art depict his intentions. Usually I get it wrong the first two times, then I keep trying and eventually am able to colour his music through my art.
Best movie you’ve seen this year?
Penguins of Madagascar. I watched it as a late night movie on the last day of my exams. It’s a silly movie with totally random scenes, but it was a great way of relaxing after a stressful exam season. I laughed from the start to the end because the penguins are immeasurably cute!
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