I’m a little late in sharing the wonderful news, but I am thoroughly thrilled to be selected as a TED Fellow to take the stage at TED2017 this coming April in Vancouver, BC! Together with myself, there are 14 other aspiring young innovators from four continents, who will also deliver their talks on the TED stage.

I wish to send a big thank you to the TED Team, my colleagues and friends for their heartiest support and well-wishes on my Fellowship. I am highly encouraged to know that I will have the opportunity to present my ideas and work on such a great platform!

I have also been asked: What is my motivation on applying to be a TED Fellow? What do I hope to accomplish as a Fellow in the upcoming year? So here are some of my thoughts about what becoming a TED Fellow means to me… 🙂


Q: What are my first impressions of TED talks?
Of all the TED talks that I have watched and listened, I have always been in awe of the speakers’ confidence, passion and resilience to share their ideas on the big stage. To me, it looked scary and yet the speakers carry poise and confidence in their delivery. And I had thought to myself – what if I can stand up there one day to talk about my ideas? 😉

Q: How did I hear about the TED Fellows Program?
I was watching two particular TED talks: marine biologist, Dr. Kristen Marhaver’s on coral reproduction in the Caribbean and conservation biologist, Dr. Patricia Medici’s on her passion for the Brazilian Tapirs. Coincidentally, they were also featured in an article “Meet 12 Badass Scientists…Who Also Happen to be Women”. To put it simply, I wanted to be like them! I wanted to communicate my passion for conservation science, and began to look into how the TED Fellows program has benefitted them in manners of communication.

Q: What is my experience with TED?
I was very fortunate to have had the chance to participate in the inaugural TEDxACSindependent (23 May 2015, Singapore) as an invited TEDx speaker! My college teacher, Mr Terence Chiew, who was (and still is) teaching at the ACS (Independent) school, had initially approached me to suggest possible speakers who could share about environmental sciences for their event. Eager to share about marine sciences in Singapore, I took his organising committee of students to visit our marine laboratory on St John’s Island – an offshore island in Singapore. During our first interview, I also spoke to them of possible speaker candidates for their event. I was pleasantly surprised that the organisers decided to invite me to speak, and I had agreed to be a speaker.

For one, this was an opportunity for me to speak about issues that I am passionate about, and the other was that I’ve learnt that TED speakers go through rigorous training prior their talks and I wanted to experience the mentoring. Overall, I really appreciate the guidance and mentorship from the organising committee in bringing the best of my presentation. The committee had also feedback to me that the audience had voted my presentation as most enjoyable and enriching. Since my TEDx experience, I had taken similar approaches to presentations for both public and scientific crowds.

Q: What do you hope to achieve as a TED Fellow?
For one, it’s to spread my idea – Why saving giant clams may save coral reefs too? 🙂 The world’s largest living bivalves are ecologically important to reefs, but are globally endangered. I hope to synergise research and conservation science to help save them from the perils of today. (P.S: The TED Team gives me a label as ‘Obsessive Speciologist‘ – their highest compliment!)

The other is to meet people and learn from each other’s life experiences. Apart from the upcoming TED conference, I have been attending other non-academic conferences since 2009. With each attendance, I learnt a great deal about other people, who share an equal passion on the same topic but doing it differently. Many of them whom I continue to keep in touch as friends, colleagues and comrades, and knowing for the fact that we are all enabling each other to do what we each do best in our own way.

And finally, this is an honour to be given a voice or to lend my voice to tell everyone why my idea matters so much to me! Can’t wait to get started! 🙂

About the TED Fellows Program

The TED Fellows program brings together young innovators from around the world and across disciplines, who display both outstanding achievement and exemplary character, to raise international awareness of their work and maximize their impact. The program offers Fellows full participation in a TED or TEDGlobal Conference, a two-day pre-conference of workshops and activities, a Fellows Retreat, ongoing professional coaching and mentoring, dedicated PR coaching and active participation in the TED community, including the global TED Fellows network. Founded in 2009, the TED Fellows program now includes 414 Fellows from 87 countries, and was named one of the top 10 Fellowships of 2016 by ProFellow.com.

How can I apply to be a TED Fellow?

Once a year, the TED Fellows program opens applications to find a new class of extraordinary thinkers and doers, encouraging innovators over 18 years old to apply. Interested applicants should visit the TED Fellows program website for more information about the fellowship and to sign up to be alerted when the next round of applications opens later this year:  http://www.ted.com/participate/ted-fellows-program/apply-to-be-a-ted-fellow.

Learn more:

Complete list of all new 2017 TED Fellows and TED Senior Fellows: ted.com/fellows

Infographic: Measuring the Impact of the TED Fellows

Playlist: Top 10 talks by TED Fellows

Website: ted.com/fellows


Email: fellows@ted.com

Twitter: @tedfellow

Facebook: facebook.com/TEDFellow

YouTube: youtube.com/tedfellowstalks