Academic News

29 Hwa Chong Alumni Excel Worldwide in Renowned Institutions

03 Apr 2017
Academic General Leadership

Between 2009 and 2017, 29 Hwa Chong alumni have topped world-class institutions like Harvard, Princeton, Cornell, Brown, Stanford, Oxford, Cambridge, Imperial, LSE, UCL, KCL, Fudan, WestPoint and the US Naval Academy.


Khan Azfer Ali (12A14) - University of Cambridge

Khan Azfer Ali graduated from University of Cambridge in Law with a First Class with Distinction (also known as a Starred First). This is the highest academic honour that is awarded by the University, and he was the only one in his cohort (of three years) who has attained this. He also clinched 11 academic prizes throughout his three years, most notably the Slaughter and May Prize which is awarded to the law student who has the best academic performance for the third year final exams (known as Part II of Tripos).

In addition, he attained significant achievements in mooting competitions. This included the Roman Law Moot in Vienna last year, and being a speaker for the Grand Finals where he mooted in the Austrian Supreme Court of Justice. He also was crucial in helping Cambridge get to the Quarter Finals by participating in the Vis Moot.

Azfer strongly encourages his juniors to go to Cambridge. In particular, he strongly advises his juniors to study what they “genuinely find interesting, and not to fall into the trap of taking 'easy' papers, [as] genuine interest shines in any exam script…”

He also shares that “I am grateful to Hwa Chong for giving me such a strong foundation, and am proud to be able to call myself an alumnus of HCI.”

We wish Azfer all the best in his graduate studies at Harvard law School, where he will be pursuing a Master of Laws (L.L.M), with a focus in Corporate Law, Finance and Governance.

Lim Li Sha (12A15) - Cornell University

Lim Li-Sha pursued a major in Atmospheric Science and obtained minors in both Climate Change and the Science of Earth Systems. She graduated Summa Cum Laude with Distinction in Research, the highest academic honour awarded by the university. She is also a Merrill Presidential Scholar, a prestigious award given to the top 1% of graduating students in the university based on academic scholarship, intellectual drive and leadership abilities. On top of that, she clinched the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences Academic Excellence Award, which is awarded to the top graduating student in each major with the highest cumulative Grade Point Average. She was also a Pauline and Irving Tanner Dean’s Scholar, an award given by the undergraduate admissions committee to a small group of first-year students that possess outstanding high school records and demonstrate an enthusiasm for the life of the mind.
Li-Sha remarked that:

Hwa Chong provided me with a supportive learning environment, and I was fortunate to have been surrounded by talented peers who always challenged and motivated me. I am especially thankful for the tutors whom I have had the privilege of learning from, not only for their patience and dedication, but also for their emphasis on independent learning, a trait which has been invaluable in helping me make the most of my time in Cornell.

We wish her all the best in her graduate studies at the University of Oxford, where she will be pursuing a Masters of Science in Environmental Change and Management, with a focus on climate change.

Huang Shiyu (11S7B)-Stanford University

Huang Shiyu pursued a degree in Mathematical and Computational Science for her undergraduate studies. She was conferred Stanford University’s J.E. Wallace Sterling Award for Scholastic Achievement. This is awarded yearly to the top 25 graduating seniors in the School of Humanities and Sciences for their academic achievements throughout their undergraduate education.

Shiyu shared that:
Hwa Chong gave me the best learning environment I could ever ask for. I learnt so many things (both academic and life lessons) and forged so many friendships at Hwa Chong that I will be forever grateful. "自强不息 饮水思源" is the motto that I will always live by, and I am really proud to be a Hwa Chongian.

We wish her all the best in her graduate studies in Computer Science at Stanford.

Chong Sheng Liang, Desmond – Cambridge University

Chong Sheng Liang, Desmond (09A15) attained a triple first in Law and Geography, which is the rarest and highest award for a degree course awarded at Cambridge.

In response to his achievement, Desmond shared that:
“Every Hwa Chongian has a lot of potential. You just have to believe in yourself and strive tenaciously towards your goal.”

We congratulate Desmond as well as all Hwa Chong teachers who have taught him. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

Desmond is headed to Harvard Law School in August 2016 for a Master of Laws.

Loy Xing Kai – Imperial College London

Loy Xing Kai (07S6K) was awarded the prestigious Imperial College Roger Sargent Prize, for work in the application of computers to the solution of Chemical Engineering problems. We congratulate Xing Kai and his Hwa Chong teachers who have taught him and nurtured his passion for interdisciplinary research.

Harapan Santoso Ong – Cambridge University

Having recently graduated from Cambridge University, Harapan Santoso Ong (07S66) was also awarded the prestigious Cavendish Laboratory MASt Prize for being the best performing student in the postgraduate Master’s programme in Physics.

He shared that: “I believe that my education at Hwachong has made me a more resilient person, as well as someone who strives for leadership and excellence in a field that I derive a lot of joy from - Physics and Physics education. I think that the school culture, which has a fine balance between traditional values and progressive thinking, has also shaped me into becoming who I am today."

We wish Harapan well as he undergoes training at the National Institute of Education, Singapore to become a Physics teacher under the Ministry of Education Overseas Teaching Scholarship.

Tan Run Xian – London School of Economics

On top of graduating with first class honours from the London School of Economics (LSE), Tan Run Xian (10S7B) was also awarded the Rayney Prize (The Best LSE Final Year Student), the CS MacTaggart Prize (Best Overall Degree Performance Across 3 years), the Farr Prize (Best Overall Performance in Mathematics and Statistics) and LSE 100 Distinction (a module on interdisciplinary studies).

He shared that “Hwa Chong Institution has developed my curiosity and independence in learning, which has helped me to achieve a deeper understanding of subject matter from various disciplines.

We wish Run Xian well as he pursues his studies further in Statistics, in particular the analysis of stochastic (non-deterministic) processes.

Jonathan Ong – Fudan University

Jonathan Ong Kian Chong (07A12) was awarded the prestigious Fudan University Outstanding Graduate Student Award, which gives recognition to the top twenty students of each graduating cohort that attain exemplary performance in academic and non-academic pursuits and demonstrate personal qualities worthy of emulation.

Said Jonathan, “I am deeply indebted to all the teachers whom I have learnt from, in particular my teachers from the Bi-Cultural Studies and Chinese Language Elective Programmes. Through inculcating competencies of the twenty-first century... these academically rigorous programmes have better prepared me for challenges beyond Hwa Chong – whether in university or in life. The opportunities for learning and international exposure … have been invaluable in helping me get to where I am today.”

We congratulate Jonathan and his Hwa Chong teachers who have taught him and wish him a fulfilling teaching career at HCI.

Chen Shuang – Stanford University

Chen Shuang (06S6K) topped his cohort in Stanford University, and was awarded the Frederick Emmons Terman Award for Scholastic Achievement in Engineering. The Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Scholastic Award is presented to students that rank academically in the top 5% of the graduating senior class from Stanford University’s School of Engineering.

Said Chen Shuang, ”I am very grateful for the excellent education I have received at Hwa Chong as part of the first batch of students undergoing the Integrated Programme and it has prepared me very well to excel at Stanford and beyond. I am also thankful for the many passionate and dedicated teachers I have had the privilege of studying under and the friends I've made in class and in my CCAs during my six years at Hwa Chong.

Chen Shuang is the 21st Hwa Chong alumnus to top a premier university since 2009. We congratulate him and his Hwa Chong teachers for his excellent achievement.

Melissa Nicole Teoh – Imperial College London

Melissa Nicole Teoh (07S6C) topped her cohort in Imperial College, winning both the Governors’ Prize as well as the Finsbury medal. The Governors’ Prize is awarded annually to the final year undergraduate student with the best performance in Aeronautics, while the Finsbury Medal is awarded to the undergraduate student with the best overall performance in Aeronautics.

Melissa completed her 4-year Aeronautical Engineering program, graduating with top honours in her Aeronautical Engineering Masters Degree.

Said Melissa, "Hwa Chong has an environment which encourages learning and hard work, and has prepared me tremendously for the challenges in university and working life. I'm truly grateful for the invaluable support of my teachers and friends throughout, as well as after, my time in Hwa Chong."

Leonard Chen – Brown University

Leonard Chen (05S7C) topped his cohort in Brown University to win the Muriel Fain Sher Memorial Premium. The Muriel Fain Sher Memorial Premium is awarded to the most outstanding senior class student, who shows the greatest promise in the field of Psychology.

Leonard graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Urban Studies, obtaining Magna Cum Laude honours in the process.

Said Leonard, "Hwa Chong showed me what it meant to be a part of a community: to care about the people around you; to want to be the best you can be; and to spur everyone to excel in their own unique way". Leonard concluded, "My time at Hwa Chong will always form the foundation on which I build my future experiences".

We congratulate Leonard and his Hwa Chong teachers for bringing pride to Singapore and the school.

Chin Guo Jie - Cornell University

Chin Guo Jie (07S66) topped his cohort in Cornell University, winning both the Sibley Prize and the Merrill Presidential Scholarship. The Sibley Prize is awarded to the top graduating student from the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, while the Merrill Presidential Scholarship is awarded to the top 1% of the graduating seniors in Cornell University.

Guo Jie completed his 5-year dual degree program in 4 years, getting top honours in his Electrical and Computer Engineering degree and an additional bachelor’s degree in Economics.

Said Guo Jie, "At Hwa Chong, I was surrounded by a group of talented and highly motivated peers who constantly challenged me to seek improvements. The education I received, both inside and outside the classroom, prepared me well to excel at Cornell". He added, "I am grateful to have had the honor and privilege of attending Hwa Chong, and will always be proud to call myself a Hwa Chongian".

We congratulate Guo Jie and his Hwa Chong teachers on his impressive achievements.

Chen Jingkai – Oxford University

HCI alumnus Chen Jingkai (06S77) garnered an impressive quadruple firsts to top his cohort at Oxford University. Not only did he graduate with a ‘First’, he was conferred the Department George Humphrey Prize for the Best Overall Performance in Psychology across both Experimental Psychology (EP) as well as Psychology, Philosophy, and Physiology (PPP). For topping his cohort in PPP, he was also awarded Gibbs Prizes in Philosophy. Jingkai’s superb overall performance has also earned him a rare Congratulatory First Class with a personal note from the Chief of Examiners.

Shared Jingkai, “The lessons, both academic and moral, that I have learnt in HCI have been instrumental in preparing me for my undergraduate education and career in the military. Thank you HCI!”

Upon graduation, Jingkai will be heading to the University of Pennsylvania to pursue a Masters.

We offer our congratulations to Jingkai and all Hwa Chong teachers who have taught him. We wish him all the best in his future endeavours.

Sam Tan Wei Shan – United States Naval Academy

Naval Officer and Hwa Chong alumnus, Sam Tan Wei Shen (05S75), did our nation and HCI proud by becoming the first foreign student to achieve top graduate honours at the prestigious United States Naval Academy (USNA) in 2012.

He also received a Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) sword that is awarded annually to the midshipman who stands highest in the Order of Merit from the graduating class.

Sam hopes to take part in international peace support efforts like the anti-piracy operations in the Gulf of Aden.

In his words, "Hwa Chong has taught me to live with passion and lead with compassion. These time honoured values have shaped me into who I am today. I am thankful for teachers and friends who have guided and supported me through my time in Hwa Chong. The fond memories that we share in Hwachong - staying back till the wee hours preparing for Mid-Autumn Festival (MAF) celebrations, trekking through the forests of Pulau Ubin with OAC, or simply catching up during breaks at the class bench, will stay with me even as I embark on my career with the Navy”.

Sam added, “At the heart of the Hwa Chong experience lies the unparalleled dedication and unwavering spirit of her students and teachers in their quest for excellence. Thank you, Hwa Chong!"

Yuen Pak Man – Stanford

Hwa Chong Humanities Scholar, Yuen Pak Man (06A15), topped Stanford's School of Engineering in 2012. Majoring in Computer Science, he was one of the recipients of The Frederick Emmons Terman Engineering Scholastic Award. This is Stanford University's highest undergraduate honour awarded to the top five percent of the graduating senior class.

Said Pak Man, "Hwa Chong will always have a special place in my heart. I am grateful for those six years in many ways. Hwa Chong's academic riguor, entrepreneurial spirit and emphasis on values bring out the very best in every Hwa Chongian."

Pak Man will begin his career with Morgan Stanley upon graduation.

Seah Kang Yee – Imperial College London

The aspiration to make new scientific discoveries to benefit mankind is what motivates Seah Kang Yee (04S7D), a 2011 A*STAR Roll of Honour recipient. In 2011, Kang Yee topped his cohort and received the prestigious Governors' BSc Prize in Chemistry, at Imperial College, London.

Kang Yee reflects, "During my six years in Hwa Chong Institution, my teachers sparked my interest in Science. The strong foundation they laid enabled me to pursue my passion in Chemistry. I will always remember the enjoyable times spent with my teachers and friends in Hwa Chong".

Kang Yee has since embarked on his career with the Institute of Materials Research and Engineering (IMRE).

Cong Lin and Shawn Low – Harvard

On 4 June 2009, Hwa Chong alumnus Cong Lin was named one of 13 MOST PROMISING GRADUATES at HARVARD UNIVERSITY. Cong Lin graduated from Harvard with Phi Beta Kappa honours (highest distinction) in physics and mathematics, and a masters degree in physics.

Hwa Chong alumni Shawn Low (03S71), who majors in Molecular and Cellular Biology, was awarded the Herchel Smith Harvard Summer Undergraduate Research Fellowship at Harvard for the term of 07-08. In addition, Shawn was a recipient of the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize in 2010 for outstanding undergraduate work. Shawn, who received the prize as a third-year student for his thesis work on "Temperature Compensation in the Three-Protein Cyanobacterial Circadian Clock", completed his thesis a year ahead of schedule. He is now preparing a manuscript on this work for journal publication.

Wang Tengyao – Princeton

Hwa Chong alumnus Wang Tengyao won Princeton University's 2009 Freshman First Honor Prize.

The Freshman First Honor Prize is awarded each year to a sophomore in recognition of exceptional achievement during the freshman year.  Tengyao will receive the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence for his freshman year.

An A.B. candidate at Princeton, Tengyao is planning to pursue a concentration in mathematics and computing.

Colin Liew – Oxford

Colin Liew clinched a first class law honours degree and OXFORD's top award for law undergraduates.


As the winner of the Martin Wronker Prize for Best Overall Performance, Colin will have his name published in the Oxford University Gazette and London's The Times newspaper.

Derrick Sim and Lim Zhuo Min – Cambridge

Lim Zhuo Min (05S33)

Derrick Sim (04S66)
Hwa Chong alumnus Derrick Sim (04S66) and Lim Zhuo Min (05S33), were placed in the First Class in their university examinations at St John's College, Cambridge. Derrick is reading Electrical Engineering while Zhuo Min is reading Mathematics.


They have both been made Scholars of St John's College for 2010 - 11. Zhuo Min was also awarded a Leatham College Prize and the Johnstone Year Prize. Derrick was awarded a College Prize.

Loo Jiaming – Fudan University

Loo Jiaming topped his class at SHANGHAI FUDAN UNIVERSITY's renowned Department of Chinese Studies in 2009. Jiaming was a graduate of Hwa Chong's Chinese Language Elective Programme.

Charmaine Han – King's College

Charmaine Han (06S60) topped her Law cohort in her first and second year at King's College, London. She won the Simmons & Simmons Exhibition Prize, Wragge & Co Prize in Trusts (Best Paper), and Wong Partnership Prize in Evidence (Best Paper), at King's College, London.


A Ministry of Trade and Industry overseas scholar, Charmaine is now in her final year and has applied to Oxford and Harvard universities for postgraduate studies.

Wong Hong Cheong – London School of Economics

Wong Hong Cheong bagged a first class honours degree and won this year's Slaughter and May Best Overall Degree Award, given to the top student of the London School of Economics' undergraduate law programme each year.

Justin Lee – West Point

Justin Lee topped his class at the prestigious US MILITARY ACADEMY AT WEST POINT in 2009. Justin was a graduate of Hwa Chong's Chinese Language Elective Programme.


The Hwa Chong Tradition of Excellence

Hwa Chong students continue to excel in their undergraduate studies long after they leave school.

We congratulate our alumnus and their teachers on their exceptional achievement and wish our ex-students every success.

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