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‘Taking the Next Step’ : A Sharing Session Among Biomedical Science Alumni and Students

09 May 2017

Saturday, 22 April 2017 – Nostalgia was at its peak at the IMU auditorium as Biomedical Science alumni from cohorts as far back as 2008 returned to their alma mater for the annual Biomedical Science Alumni Day. It is a day where alumni go back in time to recollect the moments and memories they have cherished in their hearts. Biomedical Science Alumni Day serves as a bridge to connect alumni and current undergraduates. The event was organised by IMU Biomedical Science faculty, supported by the Alumni Relations Office. On this day, the event was graced with the presence of approximately 25 alumni who took time off from their busy schedule to attend this special occasion. Many came from various career fields and shared their bitter sweet moments, achievements and future plans. The event kicked off with a brief welcoming speech by the Acting Head, Division of Applied Biomedical Sciences and Biotechnology, Dr Anna Ling Pick Kiong and Programme Director of Biomedical Science Programme, Dr Ebenezer Chitra, followed by a series of ice-breaker activities. The skit-like activity left lecturers, alumni and students alike scratching their heads trying to guess the answer, garnering lots of laughter in the process. The spontaneity of the activities in turn, serve as an effective way for participants – alumni, students and lecturers to warm up with each other. After filling the auditorium with fun and joy, the event moved on to the next agenda, the alumni sharing session.  Alumnus, Yew Mei Yeng from BM1/09, currently a 3rd year neuroscience PhD research student at Monash University Malaysia shared her ups and downs as a research student and ended with a piece of advice, “It is okay to choose different paths, whatever you decide, make sure it makes you happy”. As a committee member of BioMedKL, Yew introduced the non-profit organisation to students as it may serve as a networking platform for biomedical science graduates. The session continued with Sean Wen Wei Xiong from BM1/10 sharing his journey and passion in cancer research. Alumni outside the research field also shared their journeys after graduation and how they stumbled upon their current occupation. Salini A/P Mohan Kumar from BM1/08 took up the mantel as a lecturer, teaching Foundation Programme in a private college. Raja Iswara and Mohamad Aidil bin Zulkaple, both from BM1/13 works in a molecular diagnostic laboratory in Subang Jaya Medical Centre and Biocon-Biopharmaceutical company producing insulin, respectively. They shared their heartfelt stories. Another alumnus, Mohd Nazmi Nizar bin Mohd Azmi from BM1/13 ventured out of the norm to be an underwriter for an insurance company. Nicholas Tan Wu Zhen from BM1/13 surprised all the attendees on how a biomedical science graduate ended up as a media writer. One would never know how life would bring one to unexpected places. Last but not least, a short interview session with alumni and current undergraduate students was carried out by a Public Relation Manager, Cheah Chee Hoe during the lunch break. Generally, the alumni and students found the event fruitful and inspiring. Especially the undergraduates, with newfound motivation through encouragements from the alumni, the students can now rid of the feeling of uncertainty, and  fully realised all the opportunities within their reach upon finishing IMU BSc (Hons) Biomedical Science programme. A speaker at the Biomedical Science Alumni Gathering Salini stated she greatly appreciates IMU for developing a course intended to prepare the students to be a better element of the workforce. She also highlighted that ‘‘whatever knowledge I gained from IMU is what I am still practicing now.’’ Rachel, a student from BM1/15, also agreed and stated that with the well-structured Biomedical Science programme offered by IMU has provided the students with exposure not just on theoretical knowledge, but also on soft skills and technical skills which are undeniably crucial in the society today.

‘‘Getting out of the comfortable path, that’s what exploration is all about.’’ – Story Musgrave

Perhaps, it is a take-home message for the alumni and students that in life, great things happen outside of one’s comfort zone. By allowing ourselves to take up every challenge thrown our way, stretching ourselves beyond the boundaries and limits, only then can we achieve further growth beyond expectations. Prepared by: Chia Kin Yen, Tan Hui Ying & Ooi Shu Zhen (Editors of IMU Society of Biomedical Science)

Photo credits: Dr Fabian Davamani & Dr Ebenezer Chitra

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