General News

Hwa Chong Alumna’s Advice For Her Juniors

27 Jul 2020

It’s a Marathon, Not a Sprint

Interview with Nguyet Minh Phu
Written by: Rachelle Chua (20S65) and Isabelle Seet (20S6J)


Nguyet Minh Phu warmly reminisces over the academic challenges in Hwa Chong and the firm friendships formed, which built a robust foundation for her varied achievements. A passionate learner, Minh recently received the following awards at Stanford University: the Henry Ford II Scholar Award, the Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Scholastic Award and the Phi Beta Kappa. She has graduated from Stanford with a Bachelor’s and Master’s degree in Computing Science.

When asked about her course, majoring in Computer Science was a good choice, as it allowed her to discover her passion in Artificial Intelligence. In university, while filling her schedule with Computer Science courses, she made sure to incorporate one Art, Humanity or Social Science class each quarter, which helped to broaden her perspective. The most fulfilling moments in Minh’s university life came from overcoming tough challenges, such as the planning of academic projects. The strong bonds forged among her groupmates in the process, and the sweet taste of success made the struggle well worth it. Getting to where she is now is no easy feat, and she endured a lot of academic pressure. To do well, she personally enjoys taking care of herself emotionally and physically, as well as planning her goals and forming a study group.

Nguyet Minh adores her time in Hwa Chong. She vividly recalled a ball hitting her face while she was playing volleyball during PE. Despite getting a small cut on her nose, she was touched by the love and concern from her PE teacher and friends, and cherished the memory ever since. “I am grateful to all my teachers at Hwa Chong. Each and every one has made a difference in my education and my life,” she says. To her juniors, she advises them to study hard, not be afraid to reach out to their teachers, and take care of themselves and others. She strongly feels that the content learned in JC has helped her immensely in university, and encourages her juniors to enjoy the process of learning.

Having the opportunity to study overseas helped Minh understand the world better – the similarities and differences of varied cultures. While she initially had a minor concern that people might not understand her due to her accent, she overcame this by keeping her professor’s words in mind, “As long as you are clear and eloquent, and have something substantial to say, it does not matter what accent you have.” In the coming years, her future endeavors include Artificial Intelligence research, law and entrepreneurship. She also hopes to support her local community by giving back and creating job opportunities.

Her take on JC is that “it is a marathon, not a sprint”, something she remembers her friend telling her. JC life can be demanding, so it is important to strike a balance and take some time for oneself. With that, she wishes her juniors the best of luck.


The Henry Ford II Scholar Award is awarded to five undergraduate students who have the top GPA in the School of Engineering and are pursuing an advanced degree.

The Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Scholastic Award is presented to the top 30 students of each year’s undergraduate senior engineering class.

Phi Beta Kappa is a nationwide society honoring students for the excellence and breadth of their undergraduate scholarly achievements. Ten percent of the members of each graduating class are elected to Phi Beta Kappa.

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