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Tun Zahir Merit Award Winner’s Journey in Achieving Her Dream Career in Pharmaceutical Chemistry

09 Nov 2023

I was often fascinated by the ground-breaking inventions and discoveries of new technologies by scientists, which never failed to have a positive impact on society. As long as I can remember, I have always shown strong enthusiasm in science subjects, and I often find myself particularly immersed in the realms of Chemistry and Mathematics. My passion and involvement for Chemistry intensified each day since high school, which ultimately paved my way to adamantly pursue a bachelor’s degree in Pharmaceutical Chemistry. Although my A-Level grades strongly qualified me for other majors including medicine and dentistry, my true interest lies within Pharmaceutical Chemistry, and I knew deeply that following the decision with my heart would eventually lead me to the light at the end of the tunnel.


My heart leaped up with joy when I finally received an offer from IMU to pursue my higher education in Pharmaceutical Chemistry.

My 3-year Journey at IMU

Although I enrolled in the midst of Covid-19, which was not the most favorable timing, my three years journey in IMU was undoubtedly enriching and fruitful.


One of the most palpable predicaments I had encountered was to keep up with the dynamic online learning during the global pandemic. I was apprehensive at first as my previous experience with hybrid learning did not get me excited about the prospect of doing it again. However, I went ahead and accepted the new norm, and I did not regret it at all. Upon getting accustomed to it, I found online learning to be similar to physical learning as all it takes is merely self-discipline. Although I was unable to direct questions face-to-face, my lecturers are always willing to lend a hand to clarify my doubts.


One of the reasons that contributed to my decision of pursuing my tertiary education at IMU is due to the well-rounded course structure. It has always been my dream to study in a top university, what’s more a long-established university with a dedicated focus to healthcare education.


Although my course is a chemistry-focused programme, it also provides other relevant modules including pharmacokinetics, pharmacology, pharmaceutics, and human biology. We are also given the opportunity to learn biotechnology-based modules as well as pharmaceutical engineering, bioinformatics and mathematics and statistics, which are crucial fundamental knowledge related to the pharmaceutical industry.


The course structure has also equipped us with the necessary soft skills, including research, problem solving and analytical skills. All these modules have given me in-depth understanding and knowledge in drug discovery and development process, including the formulation and reaction between drugs and human bodies.

Conducive Learning Environment

Furthermore, my lecturers also played a vital role in my academic achievements. I will not have graduated with a First-Class Honors without their continuous guidance and support. Throughout my journey at IMU, they have always been friendly and helpful and are willing to share their expertise and knowledge to ensure students have a better grasp of the topic. They are also concerned about our physical and mental health and would go the extra mile by seeking our feedback and opinion to better facilitate teaching.


Moreover, the learning environment has been conducive and synergistic, thanks to like-minded friends with whom I can engage in two-way discussions on assignments and share ideas, facilitating mutual learning. I truly enjoyed the process of collaborative interaction as it made me aware of areas that require further focus or improvement.

My Internship

During my internship at Kotra Pharma (M) Sdn Bhd, I had the golden opportunity to put theory into practice, which was unquestionably a constructive learning curve. I also had the chance to utilise modern equipment and facilities such as HPLC and IR spectroscopy in the hands-on practical sessions. These  insights and experiences instilled a solid foundation of knowledge in me and laid the necessary skills for me to embark on a career as a thorough and detail-oriented scientist in the future.

My Parents' Unwavering Support

Last but not least, I am eternally grateful to my parents for their unwavering love and support all these years. They have been extremely supportive towards every decision that I make, and they fully believe in my abilities and capabilities even when I have doubts about whether my decision is wise. They are the ones who witnessed my hardships, growth and eventually success, and I would not have been who I am today without them. They are always there for me, whenever I look back, or when I need a shoulder to lean on. Hence, I devote my proudest academic achievement- the Tun Zahir Merit Award, to my one and only parents.


Article written by Tay Chia Pao

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