Karmen Quek attended CHIJ St. Nicholas Girls’ School and Hwa Chong Junior College in Singapore before starting her study at the University of Queensland (UQ) School of Pharmacy in Brisbane, Australia.
Karmen was also a UQ Advantage Ambassador and was lucky enough to go to Europe for a Cancer Summer School in France, you can read that story here: http://www.uq.edu.au/advantage-award/karmen-quek
We asked Karmen a few questions about her career path and the scholarship that is supporting her to complete her Pharmacy study at UQ.
Why did you select UQ to complete your Pharmacy degree?
"UQ has a beautiful campus, it is a university that offers students lots of opportunities and it is a prestigious place to study due to its university ranking^."
"I have had many opportunities at UQ, such as working as a PASS tutor, completing a UQ summer research scholarship, sitting on a university club committee and going to France for a short cancer research programme. It has been a wonderful experience."
Why did you select to study pharmacy and what are your career goals for the future?
"My family members are very health conscious. I grew up listening to them talk about medications and supplements."
"Medications are a vital part of everyone’s lives and I wanted to find out more about what they can do for people and how they can be used. So it was a natural progression to study pharmacy. My receipt of a scholarship to study pharmacy also made the choice easy. I will see where the scholarship takes me, be it a hospital or ministry setting."
How do you see the career prospects for pharmacy degree holders in Singapore?
"The prospects are good because there is a demand for pharmacists in Singapore."
What do you see as the strengths of the UQ Pharmacy degree?
"I think the lecturers and tutors do an amazing job. I like it when teachers are dedicated to their craft and put in effort to help their students succeed. Everyone is always ready to help."
"UQ Pharmacy has taught me to see the patients and not just their medications. To understand how their medications fit into their lives, and ask questions like “are their medications necessary?” and “How can we make it more convenient for them to take their medications?”
What is the best thing about studying at the Pharmacy Australia Centre of Excellence(PACE)?
"PACE is modern and spacious. I like the building. There are nooks and crannies for students to chat and study."
"Since it only houses pharmacy students, it makes it easy to talk to friends and meet new people."
How did you become a MoH scholar? What does it involve, how did you find out about it?
"I submitted my scholarship application to the Singapore Public Service Commission Scholarship portal after completing the GCE ‘A’ Levels examination, which every junior college student takes at the end of 2 years of junior college education. It was my mother and aunt who encouraged me to apply for the scholarship."
"After my submission, I was asked to complete a general competency test and subsequently attended an interview. Then I received the wonderful news that I had been awarded the scholarship."
"Many students, especially seniors at my junior college had received scholarships so I was aware that these scholarships were available. It was also advertised in the newspapers in Singapore."
Would you recommend this path to other students?
"I would definitely recommend this path to other students. I have been able to live comfortably, thanks to the scholarship allowance and I am guaranteed a job upon graduating. What more can I ask for? An overseas experience is worth it. It has changed how I view the world. I have learned so much. I would most definitely recommend it."
Information on MoH holding Health Care Scholarships can be found at:
- http://healthcarescholarships.sg/scholarships/hms#courses-of-study and
Information on studying Pharmacy at UQ can be found at
^UQ is the highest ranking Australian University with a Bachelor of Pharmacy on the Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities* for Clinical Medicine and Pharmacy 2012 and is a top 50 clinical, pre-clinical and health university in the 2012-2013 Times Higher Education World University Rankings**.
* Shanghai Jiao Tong Academic Ranking of World Universities:
**Times Higher Educations Rankings Clinical, Pre-Clinical and Health: