Despite losing her sight to glaucoma at the age of four, Dr Yeo Sze Ling persisted with her education and earned three degrees in total, including a PhD in Mathematics.
Dr Yeo, 35, is now a research scientist at A*Star's Institute for Infocomm Research and an adjunct assistant professor at Nanyang Technological University's School of Physical and Mathematical Science. When she is not busy with her work, she is an ardent volunteer at the Singapore Society for the Physically Disabled.
In recognition of her tenacity and contributions to the community, Dr Yeo won the 2013 Her World Young Woman Achiever award.
1 Why mathematics?
I love to solve problems in a logical manner and I feel mathematics is all about that. I also like how mathematics helps with training the logical mind.
2 What is the biggest misconception about the visually impaired?
Most people feel that without sight, a lot of things cannot be done and the visually impaired cannot achieve much. It is a very big misfortune to be visually impaired, but I have learnt to focus on my strengths instead.
3 What was the biggest challenge going through our educational system?
The biggest challenge was getting study notes mostly because there weren't a lot of visually impaired students around. There are not a lot of notes with braille and I had to depend on friends and classmates to read out the notes for me. I didn't have the luxury of my classmates who could walk into a library to find out something they didn't know.
4 What motivates you to volunteer?
When I started volunteering, I began to better appreciate the experiences I've been through and I felt that my experiences could help the younger generation as well. In sharing, volunteering and working with others, I really learnt a lot, so it's not just a one-way thing.
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