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Feature

Movers, shakers and go-getters

Everyone’s a winner in NTU’s Class of 2017. HEY! salutes the many talents in our midst here

Comeback king award

Nelson Tay

Computer science

  • Nelson Tay holding a lightbulb prop
  • Nelson Tay
  • Nelson Tay
PHOTOS: MARK TEO

After junior college, Nelson served the country as a police officer. But if he had his way, he’d rather have been retaking his A levels.

“I did so badly for my A levels that I couldn’t get into any university. And my junior college refused to retain me because of my poor attendance,” says the computer science grad.

He didn’t know it then but it would be the best outcome for him. As Nelson patrolled the streets and attended to emergency cases that ranged from thefts to deaths, something in him changed.

“I learnt a great deal about life from meeting people of all backgrounds. It also motivated me to apply myself fully and not just allow life to cruise by me.”

And apply himself he did. He enrolled in Nanyang Polytechnic, where he excelled in computer science. A perfect grade point average upon graduation meant he could have his pick of universities.

“I was offered a place in another local university but chose NTU as I preferred its curriculum,” he says. “It helped that my sister and cousins are NTU graduates who had positive university experiences here too.”

On the highlights of his NTU days, Nelson, who now works as an IT manager for the Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore, says: “My semester-long exchange in Sweden where I had the chance to travel and see new cultures. And working on my final-year project on twin-crane scheduling using game theory, which with the help of my professor, got published in several international journals.”