Published on 19 Jun 2024

Dreams take flight for young female engineers

Supported by the international aerospace manufacturer, Pratt & Whitney, the Pratt & Whitney Go Beyond Bursary has helped NTU students like Teng Yu Yi and young alumna Celeste Ng to launch a career in aerospace and mechanical engineering.

By Sadia Roohi

Teng Yu Yi, a first-year aerospace engineering student at NTU, was fascinated by planes as a young girl and aims to become a pilot one day. She would spend her free time building aeroplane models and reading flight investigation reports. Taking an overseas holiday, the sheer thrill of flying fuelled her passion to go into aerospace engineering.

Since she was young, she wanted to study aerospace engineering at NTU. However, she almost lost sight of her dream career due to financial constraints.

To her relief, Yu Yi received the Pratt & Whitney Go Beyond Bursary in 2023, which enabled her to pursue her pilot dream at NTU. 

Pratt & Whitney is a leading aerospace engine manufacturer. With a gift of US$50,000 from the company that began in 2023, NTU established the Pratt & Whitney Go Beyond Bursary to support female undergraduate students in aerospace, mechanical, and other engineering disciplines. 

Yu Yi is grateful to receive financial support. She said: “Receiving this bursary reaffirms my career goal of pursuing my dream of flying. Previously, I relied on my parents for my tuition fees and allowance. Balancing a part-time job with my studies was tough. This bursary took away that financial stress. I no longer need to take money from my parents or work extra jobs to cover my living expenses. It means I can focus on my studies and really get involved in campus life.”

First-year NTU aerospace engineering student Teng Yu Yi visited the RSAF Open House 2024.

Thanks to financial support, another bursary recipient, Celeste Ng (MAE/2024), also realised her engineering dream.

Her passion for physics and mathematics led her to study mechanical engineering at NTU, but it was the Pratt & Whitney Go Beyond Bursary that enabled her to focus on her studies. She will start her career as an engineer at the Singapore Defence Science and Technology Agency (DSTA) in July. 

"Since young, I have always tried not to depend on my family for my own expenses, and this bursary truly helped me excel in my studies without constantly worrying about financial difficulties and family medical emergencies," she said. 

The ripple effect of giving

Pratt & Whitney has a strong focus on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Through the bursary programme, the company aims to encourage the pursuit of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and careers, especially to empower more women in fields traditionally dominated by men. 

Mr Shangari Meleschi, Vice President for Pratt & Whitney’s Aftermarket Operations, Asia Pacific, said: “The bursary is not just about providing financial aid but is also about nurturing a pipeline of high calibre engineers. By partnering with NTU to provide this bursary, we hope to see more women take their first steps and excel in this rewarding industry.”

Pratt & Whitney partners with organisations around the world to make STEM accessible to all students. (Photo credit: Pratt & Whitney)

For the beneficiaries, the bursary is a stepping stone to achieving their dreams. 

Yu Yi envisions a future where she can innovate and contribute to cutting-edge aviation technology, making the industry more inclusive. "In the long run, I want to be involved in designing more efficient aircraft and playing a role in making the aerospace field more diverse," she said. 

Fresh graduate, Celeste Ng, will be embarking on her career at DSTA. 

Both Celeste and Yu Yi advise future female students considering engineering fields to follow their passion, even if there is gender imbalance in these disciplines. 

“Don’t be afraid if female students are a minority in the class. What matters is how committed we are to giving our best in what we are passionate about. One day, we will realise our career goal and be proud of the choice we made,” said Celeste.

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