Congratulations on being selected as valedictorian! Surely this is one of your many achievements since your younger school days?

I was in the canoeing team in JC and my team managed to get double champions for that year. It is also the first time the girls’ team was crowned champions and as well as the highlight of my 6 year career in this sport where I won a gold and silver medal for the individual event. The team I worked with truly inspired me to train harder each day so that with all our combined efforts, we could win the championship. It also taught me the discipline needed to be a student-athlete.

Upon joining SUTD, I started ballroom dancing and managed to get a first runner up in my second competition for the beginner Waltz.

As you are going to bid farewell to SUTD soon, tell us what do you love about SUTD?

I love the classes and appreciate the interaction time between the students and professors so we can clarify any doubts quickly. It’s very efficient for learning. 5th Rows in SUTD are also very welcoming and I feel excited to try new things - I was a canoeist turned ballroom dancer. I’m also very appreciative of the Entrepreneurship Centre and Fablab staffs that are very supportive of my start-up, Mobearlize. I would say coming to SUTD is like opening a door to many opportunities to which it is up to you to make the best out of it.

What are some of your notable projects during your time with SUTD? What are your learning experiences and takeaways?

Interestingly, the top 3 projects of school all revolve around the same personal project - Mobearlize. I would say I have extensively used school modules at a springboard for this project.
2D project in the first term of EPD (Term 4) was the birth of EMMA, the conceptualization of a detachable motorized unit for wheelchairs. I learnt that through SUTD, we get the engineering capabilities to create a device of value to someone – in this case, making travelling more comfortable for manual wheelchair users and allowing them to have independence through mobility.
During Entrepreneurship module, we placed this project on Kickstarter and I learnt that getting a product out to market is so much more than just creating a prototype. I got to learn the importance of cofounders, better ways to get things done like the lean start up methodology, an introduction to the process of pitching to investors and I even got to meet founders of other start-ups who shared their journey. I learned not to be so wary about keeping a project a secret and getting copied because feedback is so important.
Fast forward to Entrepreneurship Capstone, I learnt the importance of market research and user interviews in product development. Getting user feedback and understanding their mind-sets towards such products already existing in the market. A lot of the time, we say that a new technology can help to change the world but realistically, how likely is it that people will adopt it and how simple is it to be implemented? Is this market even going to be sustainable in the long run for a company? Difficult questions but I’m glad I learnt the difficulty and rigour that needs to be done in order to make a product that truly value adds and a company which is sustainable.
I’ve also entered this project in business competitions like Create4Good, SUTD10K and P.A.K. Challenge where, through the rubrics, I managed to learn a lot of other considerations of importance for start-ups. These were also a great way to raise funds.

How has SUTD changed you as a person?

I went for the Global Leadership Programme in the summer of 2015 and I felt that it changed me a lot as a person. It taught me 3 very important things:
1. Asking myself what I truly want to achieve in this lifetime:
You’ve probably read that people think of these things very late in their lifetime. When they are like old and rich and they start to wonder if what they are doing is meaningful. Through LeaderShape and where I met great facilitator, I reflected and questioned my own meaning to life and I realized that I truly want to be of use to society and to make the life of someone else better :) 
2. Being able to do anything you set your mind to:
I didn’t have any engineering experience in JC, and in Year 1 in SUTD I didn’t do much physical prototyping… so when it came to building a fully functional electric boat in GLP I truly didn’t have any skills but was interested to do both the electrical and mechanical systems. With the help of great mentors and friends, I was able to learn quickly and to realize something that I’ve never imagined I could do or make was an unforgettable experience to believe in myself.
3. The feeling of being passionate and about loving something that you do:
When I was in MIT, I joined ballroom dancing as an extracurricular activity. Initially I only danced standard ballroom (Waltz, Tango, Quickstep etc) but I decided to try Latin ballroom (Cha Cha, Samba, Jive etc). Needless to say, I fell in love with it and got to experience loving the feeling of performing an activity (dancing) and doing all I can to make it for classes. Despite being busy now, I truly hope I can pick it up again one day in future.
In 2016, I came back and got to experience being the 2nd president of SUTD Ballroom. I grew more to understand how I can involve other people in my passion and there is much more to running a club than just having the passion for the dance sport. You must be able to assess what the members are hoping to learn as well and manage everyone’s learning objectives. You will also need to learn how to strategize amongst your EXCO members and keep everyone committed to serving the club and keeping members excited for the dance sport.

What’s memorable during your first two years with SUTD?

In my Freshmore year; staying in Dover hostel with my apartment mates was one of the most memorable things. Cooking meals together, playing pranks, enjoying each other’s company in hostel and laughing all the time was amongst the highlights!
In my 1st Pillar year; 30.007 was a module that tested my limits and pushed my boundaries on working on a project non-stop. For that term, every other moment was spent on improving my spherical stairclimbing robot. Many nights were spent together and it as always amusing to see each other go crazy or stoned towards sunrise.

Thank you, Kimberlyn for sharing your stories with us. We wish you all the best in your future endeavours!