Beating the odds with honours

A passionate and highly-driven fresh graduate, Eugene recently obtained his Bachelor of Science in Mathematical Sciences Degree at Nanyang Technological University (NTU).

Over the past 4 years of his course of study in NTU, he started developing a deep interest in the field of Data Analytics/Data Science and have continuously focused on building up his analytical knowledge, quantitative skills and communication toolsets required for this field of work.

Despite being diagnosed with a severe visual impairment since birth, Eugene constantly maintains a positive outlook and pushes himself harder than most average individuals to overcome all obstacles and not let it hinder his passion to pursue his goals and aspirations.

We caught up with him for a chat to know what really gets him going.

What can you recall about your first year in NTU and how was the adaptation/transition for you?

I recalled that my first year in NTU wasn’t exactly a very easy one due to the new environment, culture and lifestyle that I had to get used to and adapt. Being a year 1 freshman back then, I felt a lot of uncertainty and stress even before I started my very first semester as I had absolutely no idea what I was getting myself into and had no idea on what kind of experiences were going to come my way once school starts. In terms of adaptation and transition, I would say that my biggest challenge was adapting to the University culture. Having a visual disability since young has caused me to need a lot more time to complete most of my tasks compared to others. Given that I came from a Junior College background before entering NTU, the issue of me needing more time to get work done didn’t affect me as much as the JC curriculum provided me more than sufficient time (2 years) to get ready and prepare for the A Levels. However, this wasn’t the case for the uni curriculum.

Being visually impaired, the degree of independence in moving around comfortably on my own ultimately boils down to the level of familiarity I have for a specific location.

What were the difficulties you faced in your course?

I needed more time to complete my work. This is a constant struggle that I faced throughout the years. I basically must allocate a lot more time to my schoolwork just to keep up with the rest and hence have less time for other aspects of my life. Another difficulty that I faced would be due to the nature of the course that I’m in. Math courses are known to be pretty visual intensive (e.g. such as having lots of mathematical formulas, graphs, diagrams, tables, symbols, numbers, output of coding, etc). Thus, other alternative study methods such as a screen reader software that helps me access the materials via audio output wouldn’t work for my math modules. I have to put severe strain on my eyes all the time to read and access the course materials with the limited vision that I’m left with.

Why did you choose to go into math?

I like the logical flow of ideas in math and the need to be comfortable with numbers, algebra and being able to think analytically and logically. The abstract concepts that very few peers that I have met in school could even appreciate felt so beautiful and fascinating to me in which I’m more than happy to learn more and expand my curiosity for this subject. Thus, I joined NTU, pursuing a degree in Mathematical Sciences, to obtain a degree that I’m sure I will enjoy the learning process and hoping that through this learning process, I will be able to realise my future career plans along the way.


During your course of study, there were many people who have rendered help to you. Among those people who had helped you, who has impacted you most?

On a more general scale, those that have impacted me the most would be my family members and close friends that I have known even before I entered NTU as they are the ones that are always supporting me and helping me since years ago. Then, it must be my school’s Student Care Manager (SPMS), Mika Yap. She has often gone beyond her standard scope of work responsibilities to assist me in various ways. Some examples would be offering to help me print my course materials in enlarge print to save me the trouble of printing them myself.

Image: Eugene with his Student Care Manager (SPMS), Mika Yap

Next would be my school’s Associate Chair/Senior Lecturer, Dr Ku Cheng Yeaw. I first knew Dr Ku in my first year of NTU through reading an introductory Calculus course under his teaching. Being my lecturer for that course back then, he offered to give me extra weekly 1 to 1 consultation sessions on top of the regular classes to ensure that I could cope and handle the course content of his module well.

Image: Eugene with Associate Chair and Senior Lecturer, Dr Ku Cheng Yeaw

Lastly, it would be Ms Chia Woon Yee from the Accessible Education Unit (AEU). She is the one who oversees liaising with my school in making the necessary special arrangements for my exams, settling the different logistic and administrative procedures whenever I need to purchase any Assistive Technology Devices or any other special services for school use, orientating me around unfamiliar places within the campus, and helping to settle any other arrangements in response to making things in general more accessible for me. She is a very reliable staff from school whom I can turn to for any assistance that is related to my disability or have any form of accessibility consideration involved.        

Image: Eugene with Ms Chia Woon Yee from the Accessible Education Unit (AEU)

What were your goals when you entered NTU? Did you manage to achieve them?

In terms of academic grades, I targeted for at least a second upper honours and as of where I stand currently, I did achieve it. I also strived to be more independent in all aspects of my life which I think the NTU culture has forced me to achieve it to a certain extent.

Any encouragement or things you wish to offer to current undergraduates?

Firstly, all undergraduates should strive to enjoy their University experience to the fullest regardless of whatever aspects of University life they wish to focus on more. University experience is a rather unique one and I feel that they should try to make it as fruitful and meaningful for them as much as possible such that there are great memories that they can take away with them once they graduate. Given enough hard work and resilience put in, I feel that you can overcome all difficulties and obstacles. They should try to do their best in everything they do in life and maintain a growth mindset to consistently improve and make a better version of ourselves for the future.

What will you remember the most about your time in NTU after graduating?

I think I will definitely remember the content that I have learnt in my course, the skills that I have developed over the 4 years in NTU, the nice people I met that have impacted my life, and the physical environment and culture of my school in general.

Eugene Ng graduated in 2021 with a Bachelor of Mathematical Sciences from the School of Physical and Mathematical Sciences (SPMS), Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.