Dr Seow Nianjia

Adjunct Fellow Tembusu College National University of Singapore

Saying that Nianjia’s PhD was awarded at Tembusu would not have been too far off the mark, for the bulk of his post-graduate days were intertwined with his role as a graduate fellow at Tembusu. As one of the first GFs, there were many new beginnings and defining experiences, culminating in the completion of his thesis just as his stay at the College was up.

A couple of post-doctoral stints since, he picks up the trail anew at Tembusu, this time as an educator.

Reflecting on his time as an Endeavour-Cheung Kong research fellow in Australia, Nianjia had wrote: ‘Sometimes it is when we are away from familiar sights and sounds, family and friends, that we have the chance to really reflect on the things that truly matters, and what the future holds’. And this is why he thinks he is in a happy place now that he is first-most teaching, while pursuing research and running as ideals and hobbies.

Currently, he holds outreach and scientific workshops, teaches Chemistry, and also mentors students in research projects. And still a nano-scientist at heart, he shares with passion during lessonns his work at the intersection of Chemistry, Nanotechnology, and medical diagnostics (even when students are not overly thrilled to know). On top of these, however, a question lingers: where does one fit into our community-at-large and what are we doing to make a difference. By talking to students, he hopes that he can find a clarity while helping students figure theirs too.

[The picture above is one taken of a body that has seen better days (while he was at Tembusu). But he wholehearted believes that he can still run ultramarathons on any day, and not have to stay bedridden after.]

The Tembusu (Fagraea fragrans) is a large evergreen tree in the family Gentianaceae. It is native to Southeast Asia. Its trunk is dark brown, with deeply fissured bark, looking somewhat like a bittergourd. It grows in an irregular shape from 10 to 25m high. Its leaves are light green and oval in shape. Its yellowish flowers have a distinct fragrance and the fruits of the tree are bitter tasting red berries, which are eaten by birds and fruit bats.